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Knee-deep in flood policies

As an attorney I never thought I'd be writing to you for help. I requested a cancellation of my flood insurance issued by Comegys Insurance Corner. The underwriter was Bankers Life in St. Petersburg. The policy was canceled on March 18.

To this day I have received nothing but a runaround from Comegys Insurance, which insists that Bankers Life is responsible for issuing the refund and that it has supplied Bankers with all the necessary information. This has gone on too long. M. Halpin

Response: Nadine Wynne, manager of personal lines department at Comegys Insurance Corner, said you had a flood policy through its agency from Bankers Insurance which was due to expire on March 14. She said Bankers sent you a billing for the renewal premium on Jan. 17.

When the renewal premium was not received by the due date, Wynne said the company sent a termination letter to you and your mortgage company. Your mortgage company then placed coverage itself with Lloyds of London, effective March 14. You then sent your check to Bankers to renew the Bankers policy, but the amount was not the total premium due.

As a result, Wynne said, Bankers issued a renewal policy, effective June 5 for a reduced amount of coverage based on the premium amount remitted. The policy was not in force until June 5, because of the late payment.

According to Wynne, at that point you contacted Comegys and requested cancellation of the Bankers policy due to duplicate coverage. She said your signed request was forwarded to the company.

Bankers then advised Comegys that it could not refund any premium paid under the National Flood Program guidelines. These guidelines, Wynne said, require that duplicate coverage be with a standard flood insurance carrier, which Lloyd's of London is not.

Wynne said she informed you that if Bankers terminated its policy, no return premium would be granted. She suggested you contact your mortgage company and request that it cancel the policy it had placed. Wynne said this would result in that premium being returned.

Wynne said that Comegys can honor your request to cancel the Bankers policy, but that you will lose the premium you have paid on it.

Comegys' suggestion to cancel the Lloyd's policy was an attempt to assist you in not losing the money you had previously paid.

Passport renewal

How do I renew my passport, and where do I go to do so? I can never seem to find information in the phone book. Chester Billings

Response: We know the problem. In the Tampa directory, the number of the regional passport office in Miami is listed in the government offices United States in the blue pages; in the St. Petersburg and Clearwater directories, passport applications are to be found under the county government offices, again in the blue pages.

All this aside, we can pass on the following information. Passport forms are available from passport agencies, some post offices, clerks of court and travel agencies. You may also down load them from the Internet at http://travel.state.gov.

The form will specify the kind of information you need, including proof of U.S. citizenship and identity, two photographs, social security number and fees. In addition to passport agencies that are located in 13 major U.S. cities (Miami is the closest one to us), many courts and some post offices accept applications and are generally more convenient and speedy.

You may apply by mail if you already have a passport and it's your most recent one, was issued within the past 12 years, and issued after your 18th birthday. Given where you live, the passport office at the U.S. Post Office at Tampa International Airport may be the most convenient location for you. You'll need your old passport, two identical passport photos and the $55 fee. After you fill out the application, you can then step right next door to mail it.

If you want to deal with the renewal without leaving the comfort of your armchair, write to the regional passport agency in Miami and ask for an application. The address is: Miami Passport Agency, 3rd Floor, Claude Pepper Federal Office Bldg., 51 SW First Ave., Miami, FL 33130-1680.

Action solves problems and gets answers for you. If you have a question, or your attempts to resolve a consumer complaint have failed, write: Times Action, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or call your Action number, 893-8171, or, outside of Pinellas, (800) 333-7505, ext. 8171, to leave a recorded request for Action. Names will not be omitted except in unusual circumstances. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

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