Property owners with proof of loss claims on Hurricane Ike flood damage have until March 12 to file, however, there seems to be some confusion regarding the deadline.

Kevin Ward of Homespecs, a full-service contractor based in Groves and working in the Bridge City area, said property owners can be “locked in” to their current adjuster’s quote if they don’t file by March 12.

Ward said that, contrary to rumor, more people in Bridge City had flood insurance than has been reported. 

“I can’t give you the exact percentage on it,” he said. “But there were a significant number that had flood insurance,” as well as many who didn’t.

“March 12 will be the absolute cut-off date for individuals who have not returned proof loss to their carrier,” he said. “We’re finding numerous people out there who misunderstand the insurance rules and they’re afraid to return a proof of loss. They don’t have enough money to fix their home, and they are afraid that if they sign a proof of loss form, then they will be obligated to accept just that number, and that is not so.

“The truth is that if they don’t file … then they will in fact be denied any supplemental availability and any additional availability through FEMA … and that is the very situation they are trying to avoid.”

Nov. 12 was the original deadline, however a recent court decision extended the filing deadline to March. 

The decision was in response to a suit brought on by a condominium association after Hurricane Katrina. The court’s decision was not reached until after Ike hit on Sept. 13. 

A letter announcing the extension was announced in a letter sent by FEMA to WYO (Write Your Own) coordinators, and National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) agents and other adjusting firms. 

Comments regarding the extension can be addressed to James Sadler, director of claims for the NFIP at (703) 605-0708. Ward can be reached at 790-8697.