Pennsylvania Measure Will Speed Mine Subsidence Insurance Payments

"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," Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller said. "It is vital we get these families the money they need quickly."

Pennsylvanians with property damage covered by mine subsidence insurance will have their claims paid without delay thanks to a directive signed recently by the heads of the state's departments of Environmental Protection and Insurance and the Pennsylvania State Treasury. While mine subsidence insurance claims are paid through a state fund that must undergo a review process, up to now payment of claims, once approved, was sometimes delayed for up to 30 days. The action taken recently by the DEP Secretary, Insurance commissioner, and state treasurer means the 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.

According to the governor's office, more than 1 million Pennsylvania homes sit above abandoned underground coal or clay mines in 43 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties, and those structures or nearby properties can be damaged by ground movement from the collapse of an underground mine or 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," Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller said. "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," State Treasurer Timothy A. Reese added.

The average cost for mine subsidence insurance is $85 per year, and the average claim paid in 2015 was for approximately $20,000, but coverage up to $500,000 is available. For more information on the mine subsidence insurance program, visit www.paMSI.org.

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