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Minnesota Commerce Department calls on insurance companies to be prepared to serve consumers in the event of a disaster

2/26/2016 4:23:06 PM

SAINT PAUL – To ensure effective service to consumers in the event of a disaster, Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman has issued a bulletin to all property and casualty insurers doing business in Minnesota, calling on them to take measures to strengthen their disaster planning, preparedness and response.

“Minnesota consumers need to trust that their insurance companies are fully prepared to help them if disaster strikes,” said Rothman, whose agency regulates the insurance industry in Minnesota. “The Commerce Department expects all insurers to be ready to respond promptly and effectively to the needs of their Minnesota policyholders at a time when they are most vulnerable.”

The Commerce Department bulletin requires that each property and casualty insurer appoint a disaster liaison at the company. The liaison must hold a position in the company with access to critical information needed in the event of a disaster, and must be available to staff disaster response efforts.  

Insurers are also required to provide the Commerce Department with an annual pre-disaster survey report with summary data on their policies and coverage in Minnesota by ZIP code. They must also be prepared to provide the department with detailed claims and loss data following a disaster.

Further, the Commerce Department is requesting that insurers provide a grace period to consumers affected by a disaster, allowing extra time for them to make premium payments and prevent their insurance coverage from being cancelled.

The bulletin also directs insurers to promptly and in good faith satisfy insurance claims directly resulting from a disaster. This includes establishing contact with a policyholder who is making a claim; surveying and assessing the damage; providing timely and accurate responses; making prompt payment for additional living expenses and temporary repairs; and resolving claims in a timely manner.

The bulletin for insurers is available at mn.gov/commerce-stat/pdfs/bulletin-2016-disaster-prep.pdf.

Commerce is here to help

If you have questions or concerns about your insurance, contact the Commerce Department’s Consumer Services Center by email at consumer.protection@state.mn.us or by phone at 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602 (Greater Minnesota).

Disaster Information

Consumers

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