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Flooding, insurance focus of public state insurance office outreach

For those with lingering questions and issues about insurance policies after Hurricane Florence, answers will be available at a Town Hall-style meeting next week.

Dr. Michelle Osborne, chief deputy insurance commissioner with the North Carolina Department of Insurance will be hosting the meeting that will cover the following: Insurance policies — Understanding benefits and limitations; Insurance adjusters — Getting a fair deal; Insurance claims — Getting assistance; and Insurance process — Settling disputes.

The public is invited to attend.

“Anybody and everybody who has an interest in knowing more about their insurance, their policies — what it covers and doesn’t cover — and when an individual might need more than what they have,” said Kay Bowling, Osborne’s executive project director.

They’ll also cover the topic of disasters, and what to do before, during and after flooding, and will be passing out flash drives with the information, complete with documents for cataloging a home’s contents.

The town hall initiative started in communities that did not qualify for the National Flood Insurance Program, an effort to encourage residents to purchase flood insurance even if they are not required to have it — most standard homeowners’ insurance does not cover flood insurance, according to a NCDOI press release. Bowling said the office is trying to be proactive ahead of the coming hurricane season, and to help those who continue to struggle with insurance payouts.

“We don’t do anything with FEMA — that’s out of our hands — but if it is a policy issue, we can help. With FEMA (issues), we can always advise,” Bowling said. “Did your adjustor do you right? There is a mitigation process, so there is help if you’re not satisfied.”

The town hall takes place Tuesday at 10 a.m. in Beaufort County Community College’s Building 8 auditorium. Washington’s event is one of 37 set up across eastern North Carolina, starting at the coast and working inland. The same event will be hosted in New Bern later the same day.

“I know it’s probably not a good time, during the middle of the week, during the middle of morning, but this is us bringing the department to the people,” Bowling said. “Not everybody has a chance to come to Raleigh to get hands-on help.”