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Protect Your Financial Stake in Your Home Before Hurricanes or Other Disasters Strike -- ACE Disaster Mortgage Protection Policy Provides Added Safety Net When Homeowners Need it Most
Jun 1, 2005
PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 31, 2005--With the 2005 hurricane season looming, experts have again forecast above-average storm activity, with the high likelihood of at least one major hurricane making landfall in the U.S.(1) Homeowners (including condo owners), especially those who experienced the physical, emotional and financial devastation wreaked by the record-breaking hurricanes that struck Florida in 2004 should be prepared for the worst. Many U.S. homeowners have added a must-have item to their hurricane preparedness checklists: purchasing ACE Disaster Mortgage Protection(SM) (DMP(SM)) insurance. ACE insureds whose homes were impacted by Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Jeanne and Ivan report this affordable insurance coverage truly provides a financial safety net and pays for itself many times over when disaster strikes. 
 

ACE Disaster Mortgage Protection(SM) insurance helps provide a financial safety net for homeowners facing the daunting task of digging out, regrouping and repairing or rebuilding in the wake of hurricanes or any disaster. Designed to provide coverage not typically addressed by standard homeowners' policies, key benefits include covering mortgage obligations of home- or condo-owners whose dwellings are destroyed or are deemed uninhabitable for more than 48 hours as a result of hurricanes or other disasters. DMP Plus(SM) policies also make emergency cash available as an option to the standard coverage for homeowners struggling with financial challenges like advance payments to contractors, renting temporary housing and transportation, food, lost wages, and replacing clothes, furniture, computers and countless other household items.

The direct aid the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sent to Florida in response to last year's hurricanes has reached almost $4 billion, more than the combined total FEMA provided following all disasters of 2002 and 2003. Yet hurricanes are not the only disasters that place mortgage holders at risk. According to FEMA, devastating floods in the United States caused more than $2 billion in property damage each year.(2) Most homeowners and business insurance policies do not cover flood loss. Many homeowners policies exclude or do not adequately cover damages caused by hurricanes, or mudslides, wind, hail or other disasters, and there is often a gap between what the homeowners' policy covers and the overall cost to the homeowner.

The Disaster Mortgage Protection insurance unit of ACE Select Markets--the division of ACE USA that focuses on the underwriting and marketing of specialty insurance products targeted towards specific insurance buyers--advises homeowners in every region of the U.S. to periodically review the coverage provided by their homeowners policies and any other home-related insurance coverages.

"It could be the most important ten minutes you spend," said Kimberle Kennedy, Vice President, ACE Select Markets. "ACE has offered Disaster Mortgage Protection insurance for more than ten years, and every year, consumer awareness of its value grows. DMP gives you one less issue to worry about and that may be the most important thing--making your mortgage payment."

ACE Select Markets quickly and efficiently processed more than 3,000 DMP claims resulting from the 2004 hurricane season, getting funds to claimants when they needed it most. ACE continued to service new and existing policyholders in Florida and the entire Eastern seaboard. "One of the keys to protecting your financial investment in your home or condo," said Ms. Kennedy, "is taking steps to secure coverage before disaster strikes."

Here's what consumers should know about ACE Disaster Mortgage Protection insurance, courtesy of ACE Select Markets.

      1.  DMP insurance is available through mortgage lenders in most         states and is available through general insurance agents in         Florida. Or you can call ACE Select Markets at 800 234-7354 to         buy it. The underwriting process for DMP insurance is         uncomplicated; you are required to answer only three         questions. Upon approval, most policies go into effect within         10 days.      2.  In most states, condo owners as well as homeowners can         purchase DMP insurance.      3.  At a cost of less than two percent of your monthly mortgage         payment, DMP insurance coverage is surprisingly affordable.          For example, a homeowner with a $1,000 monthly mortgage          payment, including escrow for taxes and insurance, would pay          as little as $12.50 per month.      4.  DMP reimburses your homeowners deductible up to $500 up to          twice a year for property losses due to a disaster. Many         homeowner policies charge "double deductibles" in the event of         more than one disaster. Find out what your carrier's policy          is, and, consider the potential for two or more sequential          disasters striking your home. It may not be as unlikely you          think. For example, four "named storms" struck Florida in          2004, and, throughout the United States, successive rainstorms         have caused catastrophic flooding.      5.  If you re-finance your mortgage or sell your home, your DMP         policy terminates. Don't assume that your coverage follows you         to your new home, or, applies to your new mortgage. Request          that your mortgage lender's agency or your insurance agency          issue another policy corresponding to your new circumstances. 

 

For more information on ACE Disaster Mortgage Protection Insurance, call your bank or mortgage lender's agency, your insurance agent, or call ACE at 800 234-7354. (Notes for media/journalists: If you would like to speak to a product expert, please call Carla Ferrara at (215) 640-4744 or carla.ferrara@ace-ina.com).

The ACE Disaster Mortgage Protection(SM) Policy is underwritten by ACE American Insurance Company in all states, except in Florida where the coverage is underwritten by Bankers Standard Insurance Company. Both companies are members of The ACE Group of Companies, rated A (Excellent) by A.M. Best Company and A+ (Strong) by Standard & Poor's. This product is not available in AK, CT, NJ, SD, and TX.

Coverage applies to primary residences only. Coverage is available in certain states for properties containing more than two separate household units, such as triplexes, townhomes and condominiums. This insurance provides no coverage for rental properties, mobile homes, and manufactured homes.

ACE Select Markets, a division of ACE USA, focuses on the underwriting and marketing of specialty insurance products targeted towards specific insurance buyers, affinity groups, small businesses and niche industries. Products and services are offered through a network of specialty agents as well as unique distribution channels and partners. Products and services include coverage for recreational boats and yachts, personal watercraft, the ACE Disaster Mortgage Protection(SM) Policy, and credit card enhancement programs.

ACE USA is the U.S.-based retail operating division of The ACE Group of Companies, headed by ACE Limited (NYSE:ACE), and is rated A (Excellent) by A.M. Best Company and A+ (Strong) by Standard & Poor's. ACE USA, through its underwriting companies, provides insurance products and services throughout the U.S. Additional information on ACE USA and its products and services can be found at www.ace-ina.com. The ACE Group of Companies provides insurance and reinsurance for a diverse group of clients.

  (1) Tropical Meteorology Project-Colorado State University.     http://www.tropical.atmos.colostate.edu/forecast/  (2) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Web site:     http://www.fema.gov/storm/flood.shtm 

Contact:

ACE INA Communications
Carla Ferrara, 215-640-4744
carla.ferrara@ace-ina.com


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