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Friday, September 9, 2016

Wolf Administration, State Treasurer Act to Ensure Prompt Payment of Mine Subsidence Insurance Claims

Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvanians with property damage covered by mine subsidence insurance will have their claims paid without delay, thanks to a new directive signed recently by the heads of the departments of Environmental Protection and Insurance, and the Pennsylvania State Treasury.

Previously, because mine subsidence insurance claims are paid through a state fund that must undergo a review process, payment of claims, once approved, was sometimes delayed for up to 30 days. With the action taken recently by the DEP Secretary, Insurance Commissioner, and State Treasurer, these claims will now be paid immediately upon approval.

“Some 58,000 Pennsylvania property owners have mine subsidence insurance. When subsidence occurs, the damage can at times be so severe, people cannot live in their homes until repairs are made,” DEP Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell said.

More than one million Pennsylvania homes sit above abandoned underground coal or clay mines in 43 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. Homes and other buildings on these or nearby properties can be damaged, sometimes severely, by the movement of the ground surface as a result of the collapse of an underground mine, or from a sudden breakout of water from an abandoned mine. To protect property owners, the state created the Mine Subsidence Insurance Fund in 1961, to provide low cost coverage.

“Mine subsidence insurance is vital for people to protect their homes against damage from ground movement due to an underground mine collapse or water release, and homeowners’ insurance typically does not cover this,” said Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller. “It is vital we get these families the money they need quickly.”

“PA Treasury is pleased we were able to work with the administration to improve the process so that once these funds are approved we can promptly get the money to the claimants when they need it most,” said State Treasurer Timothy A. Reese.

The average cost for mine subsidence insurance is $85 per year. The average claim paid in 2015 was for approximately $20,000. Coverage of up to $500,000 is available.

Information on the mine subsidence insurance program is available at www.paMSI.org.

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