Fire Insurance Withholding program

By David Fleet
Atlas Twp. — It’s been a decade since township officials OK’d a resolution to withhold township residents insurance money in escrow from casualty losses including fire or explosion to repair, replace or remove damaged structures that may violate local codes. About 500 municipalities statewide currently utilize the fire insurance withholding program.
In 2013, when the resolution was approved for residential property, the 25 percent settlement was not to exceed the annually adjusted amount of $7,873. Since then, the amount has jumped to $15,009.
Township Supervisor Shirley Kautman-Jones said the program is designed to protect the community.
“The bottom line will be to not use taxpayer money to fund the clean up,” she said. “It will keep everyone in the know and insurance companies cannot make a pay-out until the township is notified.”
According to the insurance code, municipalities with a population of less than 50,000 located in counties with less than 425,000 in population that have passed resolutions establishing escrow accounts are allowed to escrow 25 percent of a fire insurance settlement, for fire and explosion losses. Atlas Township has about 6,700 residents and Genesee County has about 400,000.

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