2012-06-07 / Front Page
Gleason hosts meeting to discuss flood damage
GENESEE COUNTY — Michigan State Sen. John Gleason hosted representatives from the Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR) in a town hall meeting on June 4 at the Holiday Inn in Flint.
The town hall was on flood insurance and was meant to assist Genesee County residents who were affected by flooding in early May.
“We asked you to come here this evening to make sure we can do everything to support you,” Gleason told the crowd gathered in the Holiday Inn conference room. “We are trying to give you a forum to express your concerns.”
OFIR is the State of Michigan agency responsible for regulating Michigan’s financial industries, including banks, credit unions, insurance, securities and mortgage companies.
The agency consists of over 350 people that ensure the companies that it regulates follow state and federal law.
“If you have issues with the insurance company, that’s what we are here for,” said Kristie Taber, director of the Consumer Assistance Section at OFIR. “We’re here to answer questions about policies.”
If a person feels an insurance agent misrepresented what a policy covers, made false statements to persuade a decision about coverage or used other fraudulent methods, a consumer may file a complaint with OFIR. The agency will then act as a link between the consumer and the insurance company or agent and try to resolve the complaint.
“We are there for consumers to make sure you are treated fairly,” Taber said.
Gleason and Taber took questions from an audience concerned about homeowners insurance policies, flood insurance and the likelihood of any disaster relief coming from the federal government.
Gleason told the crowd to make sure that they report all damages incurred by the flooding to the local community offices at the city or township in order to meet the threshold for federal disaster relief.
“We need to keep moving forward,” Senator Gleason said. “We have to come forward as a community to meet the threshold.”
At several points, audience members became upset over issues with insurance companies regarding denied claims and whether or not the real issue involved drain back-up instead of flooding.
“There is an unusual amount of frustration,” Gleason said.
Also present at the meeting were Renee Campbell, manager of the Consumer Assistance Section at OFIR, and Deb McDaniels, a Departmental Specialist at OFIR.
They answered questions, gave advice and provided OFIR insurance complaint forms during the town hall meeting.
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