Fire Victim Trust

Frequently Asked Questions


Timeline for Processing Claims for Pro Rata Payments


230. What are the requirements to receive a pro rata payment?

For a Claimant to receive a pro rata payment, the Claimant must have:

 

  1. Submitted a signed Claims Questionnaire advancing at least one eligible Claim Type
  2.  

  3. Submitted supporting documents establishing the validity of the claims described in the Claims Questionnaire (To the extent that a submitted Claims Questionnaire contains any deficient claims, the Claimants identified on that Claims Questionnaire cannot receive a Determination Notice or a pro rata payment until the deficiency is cured)
  4.  

  5. Received a Determination Notice indicating that the Trust has evaluated the claims in question and found at least one to be eligible for an Approved Claim Amount; and
  6.  

  7. Affirmatively accepted the Approved Claim Amount in the Determination Notice by responding to that notice on the Portal. The Claimant (or the Claimant’s law firm, if represented) must have provided payment instructions using the Trust’s Payment Election Form, together with a signed Form W-9.


231. What is a Deficiency Notice?

In reviewing each submitted Claims Questionnaire, the Claims Administrator will evaluate all supporting documents provided by the Claimant. If a claim is missing documents or information required for the Trust to evaluate the claim, the Claims Processor will issue a Deficiency Notice to explain what is required to substantiate the claim in question. For example, each Real and Personal Property Claim must include documentation detailing any insurance policy applicable to the property that is the subject of the claim, because without that information the Claims Administrator cannot determine the value of the Real and Personal Property Claim.

 

The Claims Processor began issuing Deficiency Notices on 1/31/21 and will continue doing so as necessary until all claims are adjudicated. Claimants may receive separate Deficiency Notices for each Claim Type asserted on a Claims Questionnaire. To aid Claimants and their attorneys in anticipating and resolving deficiencies, the Claims Administrator published documents on the Fire Victim Trust Pro Se Portal and Law Firm Portal enumerating the document requirements for each Claim Type and describing common documentary deficiencies associated with Wrongful Death, Physical Injury, Real Property, Zone of Danger, and Nuisance Claims.


232. What is an Amended Deficiency Notice?

The Fire Victim Trust will send an Amended Deficiency Notice if you previously responded to a Deficiency Notice and your claim remains incomplete after we have reviewed your response. The Amended Deficiency Notice explains what document(s) or information are missing that prevent us from concluding our review and making a final determination, and what you need to provide to address the item that is missing.


233. Why does my Amended Deficiency Notice report the same deficiency?

If the Amended Deficiency Notice reports the same Deficiency that was present on the prior Deficiency Notice, then the document(s) or information you provided did not adequately address what is missing from your claim. Carefully review the Amended Deficiency Notice for what is missing, and how you can address the issue.


234. Why does my Amended Deficiency Notice report a new deficiency?

If the Amended Deficiency Notice reports a new deficiency that was not present on your previous Deficiency Notice then the Trust has determined there is additional information needed to complete the review of your claim. This can happen when the information you sent in response to the original Deficiency Notice provides new context about your claim that was not available to the Trust when it was first reviewed, or if the documents or information you provided was partially, but not fully responsive. Carefully review the Amended Deficiency Notice for what is missing, and how you can address the issue.


235. What is a Determination Notice?

After completing its review of every Claim Type included in a submitted Claims Questionnaire and confirming that there are no deficiencies, the Trust will issue a Determination Notice. If the Claims Administrator finds that there are eligible claims, the Determination Notice will include a lump sum amount representing the aggregate value of all claims included in that Claims Questionnaire (the “Approved Claim Amount”).

 

The Determination Notice will address all claims included in a single Claims Questionnaire. For example, if the Claims Questionnaire included a Real and Personal Property Claim, two Zone of Danger Claims, and two Nuisance Claims, the Determination Notice will provide a lump sum award amount for all five claims collectively. For this reason, the Trust will only issue a Determination Notice after all claims included in a Claims Questionnaire have been reviewed, evaluated, and adjudicated. To the extent that any one claim is incomplete or otherwise unable to be processed, the Trust will not be able to issue a Determination Notice on any of the associated Claims included on the Claims Questionnaire until the Claimant has been notified of the deficiency and given time to cure.

 

The Claims Processor began issuing Determination Notices on 2/15/21. This date marked the beginning of a process that will continue until all claims are adjudicated. Claimants who have submitted at least one claim that is deficient or otherwise unable to be processed cannot receive a Determination Notice until those issues have been addressed.

 

If the Claimant receives a Determination Notice and chooses to accept the Approved Claim Amount, that will become the final determination of the claims included in the corresponding Claims Questionnaire. If the Claimant does not wish to accept the Approved Claim Amount, the Claimant will have the opportunity to request reconsideration of the submission and upload additional supporting documents.


236. When did the Trust start issuing pro rata payments?

The Trust began issuing pro rata payments on 3/15/21. The Trust will continue to disburse pro rata payments to eligible Claimants on the 15th and the last day of each month for the foreseeable future, until all claims are resolved.


237. How will the Trust make initial payments to Claimants?

The Fire Victim Trust is a limited fund; therefore, payments to eligible claimants must be made in installments. The Trust will follow the pro rata method required by the Fire Victim Trust Agreement for calculating the payment percentage associated with each Approved Claim Amount accepted by the Claimant. This means that Claimants will receive payments in pro rata installments as determined safe and reasonable by the Trustee and the Claims Administrator. There are several conditions that Claimants must meet before they can receive a pro rata payment, as described above.


238. What is the timeline for adjudication of all claims?

There are numerous factors that affect the Trust’s ability to adjudicate claims, many of which are outside of the Claims Administrator’s control. The Claims Administrator is working with great urgency to eliminate all impediments to the processing and payment of claims, while still adhering to the requirements of the Trust Agreement. This includes efforts to obtain insurance information necessary to adjudicate claims, coordination with government entities to provide inputs required for claim valuation, the establishment of claim review protocols that will ensure the fair treatment of every Claimant, and the evaluation of thousands of claims as they are submitted to the Trust. At this time the Claims Administrator cannot provide a specific date by which a Claimant will receive a Notice of Claim Deficiency or a Determination Notice. The Claims Administrator will remain committed to the swiftest possible adjudication of claims and the release of funds to qualifying fire victims in accordance with the requirements of the Fire Victim Trust Agreement.


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