Monday, July 4, 2022

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July 4th: an opportunity to examine the state of U.S. Democracy in places like MT; disturbing bodycam video of a fatal police shooting in Ohio; ripple effects from SCOTUS environmental ruling.

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The Biden administration works to ensure abortion access, Liz Cheney says Jan 6th committee could call for criminal charges against Trump, and extreme heat and a worker shortage dampens firework shows.

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From flying saucers to bologna: America's summer festivals kick off, rural hospitals warn they do not have the necessities to respond in the post-Roe scramble, advocates work to counter voter suppression, and campaigns encourage midterm voting in Indian Country.

In Wake of Recent Storms, IA Appraisal Bill Draws Concern

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Wednesday, March 9, 2022   

Cleanup continues from last weekend's deadly tornadoes in Iowa.

A bill in the legislature would place restrictions on using appraisals for future storm damage, and opponents worry about the impact on households who have seen their share of recent disasters.

The measure, which has already cleared the House, would prohibit homeowners from seeking their own appraisals in determining what caused the damage. Only insurance companies could make the determination.

Christopher Rants, lobbyist with the American Adjuster Association, said it would force property owners who feel shortchanged to go to court.

"Most people can't afford to do that," Rants pointed out. "They certainly can't wait for two years to go through the litigation process while fighting with their insurance company."

Supporters of the bill, including the Iowa Insurance Institute, said a 2018 state Supreme Court ruling upholding the current statute gave appraisers too much opportunity for claims work. But opponents countered the 2020 derecho storm should serve as another reminder homeowners need avenues to recover from disasters.

The recent backlash has muddied the future of the bill in the Senate.

Rants contended it should be a concern for all property owners in Iowa, because it could remove a right they have been afforded for decades.

"That's the thing that's frustrating about this, the basic insurance policy that everybody has, the basic standard policy the state said you have to have, if you're going to offer this kind of property/casualty, has been untouched," Rants emphasized.

He suggested adding the restriction would also affect the business community in a natural disaster. While the bill sailed through the House last month, a key Senate member has cast doubt on advancing the bill in the upper chamber. A decision is expected in the coming days.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.


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