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News Archive

June 16, 2023

Consumer Advisory: Division of Insurance Shares Tips for Marshall Fire Survivors in the Rebuilding Process

Consumer Advisory: Division of Insurance Shares Tips for Marshall Fire Survivors in the Rebuilding Process


Advice on recovering or extending
homeowners’ insurance benefits
From the Colorado Division of Insurance:

As the second year of recovery from the Marshall Fire continues, the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), is offering tips for survivors in terms of recovering or extending benefits and progressing on their rebuilding efforts.

While many of the tips below encourage people to work with their insurance company, people should still continue to contact the DOI’s Consumer Services Team if the companies are unresponsive, are not following through on promised actions or are not following Colorado insurance laws or regulations.

“The Marshall Fire survivors have been through so many challenges and hardships. As has been the case throughout the recovery, we want to be a resource for people as they rebuild,” said Colorado Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway. “A number of the Q&As we are releasing today repeat information that we’ve shared before. But we also have important information for people to consider as they get closer to the two year anniversary of the fire and the likely end of ALE, either for people who had 24 months of ALE in their policies, as well as those whose had their ALE extended to 24 months.”

Contact the DOI Consumer Services Team with questions or complaints: 303-894-7490 / DORA_Insurance@state.co.us / doi.colorado.gov (click on “File a Complaint”)

Marshall Fire Recovery - Q&A on Insurance and the Rebuilding Process

Q1 - How do I recover my extended replacement cost benefits?

  • If you have met or exceeded your Coverage A and have extended replacement cost benefits available, submit your invoices or evidence of completed work to recover those benefits.

Q2 - What do I need to do to recover my Law & Ordinance benefits?

  • Be sure your contractor is providing you and your insurer invoices or evidence of completed work to recover your Law & Ordinance benefits. These may be paid to you as incurred, rather than waiting until all of the work is completed.

Q3 - Will my insurance company extend my Additional Living Expense (ALE) coverage past 24 months?

  • It is important to read your policy to understand your ALE coverage. Many policies include 24 months of ALE coverage, but it is possible that individuals may have more coverage.
  • We have more tips below regarding potential ways to work with your insurance company to extend your remaining ALE benefits that are available under your policy. If you don’t think your home will be rebuilt when your ALE benefits are scheduled to expire, we encourage you to contact your insurance company to discuss possible ways to extend the coverage that you have under your policy.
  • However, unless your insurer caused an unnecessary delay, the company may choose to hold to the contractual terms of the policy, and end ALE coverage in line with those terms.

Q4. What can I do if my Additional Living Expenses (ALE) will expire in the coming months?

  • If the rebuild is progressing and you have an estimated date of completion that will fall after December 31, 2023, contact your insurance adjuster to discuss and request an extension of ALE benefits. Often, if the insurer sees there is an end date in sight, they may consider additional coverage. Keep the insurer apprised of the progress you are making when making a request for an extension and give the insurer a specific date of expected completion.
  • You may want to consider working with your insurance company to extend your remaining ALE benefits by reducing the amount you currently receive in exchange for an extension on the time you will receive it. For example, if you are currently receiving $6000 per month and have six months left, ask if they can send you $3000 per month for 12 months.
  • You may also want to discuss with your insurer an option to cash out your remaining ALE benefits as a lump sum payment so that you can decide the best way to use or extend the money.
  • If you do not have a contractor in place and/or your rebuild has not begun, it is unlikely the company will extend ALE. However, if the process has been unnecessarily delayed by the insurance company, you can ask the company to extend for the number of days or months in which it unnecessarily delayed the claim process.

Q5 - Can the Division of Insurance assist in obtaining an extension of Additional Living Expense (ALE) benefits?

  • We do not expect insurers to agree to a blanket extension of ALE benefits. However, we can review requests on a case-by-case basis to determine if the company caused unnecessary delays and to ensure that the company followed Colorado law and insurance regulations.

Q6 - How long do I have to replace my contents and receive the recoverable depreciation?

  • Colorado law requires the insurer to allow 365 days after your ALE coverage expires to replace your contents and receive recoverable depreciation. This allows you time to purchase your property and limit any storage requirements.

Q7 - What should we do if we haven’t started the rebuilding process or we don’t have a contractor in place?

  • If you have not begun the rebuild and/or have not contracted with a builder, and you plan to rebuild, the Division recommends you begin the process as quickly as possible.
  • If the process has been unnecessarily delayed by the insurance company, you can ask the company to extend ALE for the number of days or months in which it unnecessarily delayed the claim process.

Contact the DOI

People should still contact the DOI with any problems and concerns with their insurance - the company, their agent or adjuster or the claims process. If an insurance company is not doing what it is supposed to or has promised to do, or is dragging out the process, or is not communicating, or is not providing accurate information, the Division needs to know that. We may be able to help with all of these situations.

Contact the DOI Consumer Services Team: 303-894-7490 / DORA_Insurance@state.co.us / doi.colorado.gov (click on “file a complaint”).

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About the Division of Insurance:

The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), regulates the insurance industry and assists consumers and other stakeholders with insurance issues. Visit doi.colorado.gov for more information or call 303-894-7499 / toll free 800-930-3745.

About DORA:

DORA is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the marketplace and is committed to promoting a fair and competitive business environment in Colorado. Consumer protection is our mission. Visit dora.colorado.gov for more information or call 303-894-7855 / toll free 800-886-7675.