Shore insurance & foreclosure help

April 21, 2008 3:56:23 PM PDT
Some homeowners at the Jersey Shore will have to look for a new insurance carrier; plus, new information about a pilot program to help Philadelphia homeowners at risk of foreclosure.

It's being hailed as a major victory for homeowners facing foreclosure, but from the calls we're getting, it's clear some consumers are confused about what it means for them. The bottom line: the May sheriff's sale will happen for unoccupied properties or investor-owned properties that are being rented out but sales of all owner-occupied homes have been postponed.

The Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program applies to owner-occupied properties, which represent 80-percent of foreclosures. Here's how it'll work:

Homeowners will get a notice to call the Save Your Home Philly Hotline at 215-334-HOME and meet with a housing counselor to hammer out a proposal to deal with the mortgage default.

Then a conciliation conference between the borrower, an advocate for the borrower, and an advocate for the lender will take place.

The procedure will apply to homeowners with any type of mortgages not just for those with subprime loans.

Meantime, regularly scheduled sheriff's sales of investor-owned and vacant properties will resume next month after the April sale was cancelled.

There's bad news for some homeowners at the Jersey shore. The state's largest insurance carrier is not renewing some homeowners' policies there.

State Farm Insurance said it is trying to limits its exposure of catastrophic property loss and its dropping 2-percent of its customers over the next five years. And apparently even customers who've been paying premiums for as long as 25 years are not being renewed!

The State Department of Banking and Insurance did approve State Farm's block nonrenewal plan. Some property owners said their only insurance option is the higher-priced Lloyd's of London.

The practice of non-renewing certain customers or properties deemed risky has been a trend post Hurricane Katrina.

Assemblymen Vince Polistina and John Amodeo are trying to arrange a public hearing on the issue. And there is a program designed to help consumers who are having trouble getting coverage on high-risk properties.

According to the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, insurance companies non-renewing some policies include the following:
State Farm
Encompass Insurance Company
Quincy Mutual
Balboa Insurance Company
Hanover Insurance Group
First Trenton
Camden Fire

For More Information:
Insurance companies offering homeowners policies in NJ

Program designed to help consumers who are having trouble getting coverage for "high-risk" properties