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At least 15 dead as severe weather sweeps across central US; on Memorial Day, IA labor leaders honor fallen workers; Medical center installs microgrid to safeguard clinic power supply; 'Second look' laws gain traction, but MS sticks to elderly parole; Will summer heat melt New Mexicans' cravings for ice cream?

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One congressman cites ways Biden could get more support from communities of color. A new Louisiana law reclassifies two abortion medications as controlled substances. And Ohio advocates work to boost youth voter turnout.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

MN sees spike in complaints related to homeowner insurance claims

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Thursday, March 21, 2024   

While there's snow in the immediate forecast, the spring storm season has arrived in Minnesota and state officials said with complaints related to homeowner insurance claims on the rise, it is important to monitor changes in policies.

The Minnesota Commerce Department said complaints from policyholders, largely stemming from their claims being denied, have more than doubled since 2020.

Julia Dreier, deputy commissioner of insurance for the Minnesota Department of Commerce, said under a changing climate, the nation is seeing plenty of extreme weather events resulting in wind and hail damage, and insurance companies are adjusting to what's happening.

"Insurance costs are going to increase," Dreier pointed out. "We do want to make sure that Minnesotans are prepared."

As some carriers narrow what is covered or require higher deductibles, Dreier urged consumers to carefully review their policy when it is up for renewal, to avoid surprises when they have to file a claim. The department acknowledged changes can slip under the radar when consumers rely on paperless statements sent via email, or with busy schedules preventing them from reading all the fine print in documents they receive.

The department emphasized it is a complicated process in getting complaints resolved, noting some can be partially reversed in favor of the homeowner. Dreier noted they work closely with the industry to make sure a company's actions are within the letter of the law.

"One of our jobs is to make sure that insurance companies aren't doing something unethical when they're submitting their policy forms to us and their rates to us for review," Dreier added.

The department does have a new video on its YouTube channel, which offers more details on how to better prepare yourself ahead of any future claims, including knowing whether your policy offers flood protection and assessing the value of items in your home.


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