[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Washington as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 11-16-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-06]
The Township Manager, or his or her designee, is hereby appointed as the designated officer who is authorized to carry out all responsibilities and duties set forth in this article.
No insurance company, association or exchange ("insuring agent") doing business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania shall pay a claim of a named insured for fire damage to a structure located within the Township of Washington, Berks County, Pennsylvania (the "Township"), where the amount recoverable for the fire loss to the structure under all policies exceeds $7,500 unless the insuring agent is furnished with a certificate pursuant to Section 508(b) of Act 98 of 1992, 40 P.S. § 638 et seq., as amended (the "Act"), and unless there is compliance with the procedures set forth in Subsections 508(c) and 508(d) of the Act and the provisions of this article.
The Township Treasurer shall, upon the written request of the named insured, specifying the tax description of the property, the name and address of the insuring agent and the date agreed upon by the insuring agent and the named insured as the date of the receipt of a loss report of the claim, furnish the insuring agent either of the following within 14 working days of the request:
A certificate or, at the discretion of the Township, a verbal notification which shall be confirmed in writing by the insuring agent to the effect that, as of the date specified in the request, there are no delinquent taxes, assessments, penalties or user charges against the property and that, as of the date of the Township Treasurer's certificate or verbal notification, no municipality has certified any amount as total costs incurred by the municipality for the removal, repair or securing of a building or other structure on the property; or
A certificate and bill showing the amount of delinquent taxes, assessments, penalties and user charges against the property as of the date specified in the request that have not been paid as of the date of the certificate and also showing, as of the date of the Township Treasurer's certificate, the amount of the total costs, if any, certified to the Township Treasurer that have been incurred by the Township for the removal, repair or securing of a building or other structure on the property. For the purposes of this subsection, the Township shall certify to the Township Treasurer the total amount, if any, of such costs. A tax, assessment, penalty or user charge becomes delinquent at the time and on the date a lien could otherwise have been filed against the property by the municipality under applicable law.
Upon receipt of a certificate and bill pursuant to Subsection B(2) of this section, the insuring agent shall return the bill to the designated officer and transfer to the designated officer an amount from the insurance proceeds necessary to pay the taxes, assessments, penalties, charges and costs as shown on the bill. The Township shall receive the amount and apply or credit it to payment of the items shown in the bill.
Where, pursuant to § 89-2B(1) of this article and Section 508(b)(1)(i) of the Act, the Borough Treasurer issues a certificate indicating that there are no delinquent taxes, assessments, penalties or user charges against the real property, the insuring agent shall pay the claim of the named insured in accordance with the policy terms, unless the loss agreed to between the named insured and the company, association or exchange equals or exceeds 60% of the aggregate limits of liability on all fire policies covering the building or other structure. In the case of such a loss, the following procedures shall be followed:
The insuring agent shall transfer from the insurance proceeds to the designated officer of the Township in the aggregate $2,000 for each $15,000 and each fraction of that amount of a claim; or
If, at the time of the loss report, the named insured has submitted a contract or contractor's signed estimate of the costs of removing, repairing or securing the building or other structure in an amount less than the amount calculated under the foregoing transfer formula, the insuring agent shall transfer from the insurance proceeds the amount specified in the contract or estimate.
The transfer of proceeds shall be on a pro rata basis by all companies, associations or exchanges insuring the building or other structure.
After the transfer, the named insured may submit a contract or contractor's signed estimate of the costs of removing, repairing or securing the building or other structure, and the designated officer shall return the amount of the fund in excess of the estimate to the named insured if the Township has not commenced to remove, repair or secure the building or other structure.
Upon receipt of the proceeds under this section, the following procedures shall be followed:
The designated officer shall place the proceeds in a separate fund to be used solely as security against the total cost of removing, repairing or securing the building or structure incurred by the Township. Such costs shall include, without limitation, any engineering, legal and administrative costs incurred by the Township in connection with such removal, repair or securing of the building or other structure or any proceedings related thereto; and
The insuring agent shall provide the Borough with the name and address of the named insured. Upon receipt of the transferred funds and the name(s) and address(es) of the name insured(s), the designated officer shall contact the named insured(s), certify that the proceeds have been received by the Township, and notify the named insured(s) that the procedures under this section and Section 508(d) of the Act shall be followed; and
When the repairs, removal or securing of the building or other structure have been completed in accordance with all applicable regulations and orders of the Township, and the required proof of such completion is received by the designated officer, and if the Township has not incurred any costs for the repairs, removal or securing, then the fund shall be paid to the named insured(s). If the Township has incurred costs for repairs, removal or securing of the building or other structure, the costs shall be paid from the fund; and if excess funds remain, the Township shall transfer the remaining funds to the named insured(s); and
To the extent that interest is earned on the proceeds held by the Township pursuant to this section and not returned to the named insured(s), such interest shall belong to the Township. To the extent that the proceeds are returned to the named insured(s), interest earned on such proceeds shall be distributed to the named insured(s) at the time that the proceeds are returned.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the ability of the Township to recover any deficiency. Furthermore, nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the Township and the named insured(s) from entering into an agreement that permits the transfer of funds to the named insured(s) or some other reasonable disposition of the damaged property that has been negotiated.
Nothing in this article shall be construed to make an insurance company, association or exchange liable for any amount in excess of proceeds payable under its insurance policy or for any other act performed pursuant to this article or to make the Township, any Township official, a municipality or a public official an insured under a policy of insurance or to create an obligation to pay delinquent property taxes or unpaid removal liens or expenses other than as provided in this article.
An insurance company, association or exchange making payment of policy proceeds under this article for delinquent taxes or structure removal liens or removal expenses incurred by the Township shall have a full benefit of such payment, including all rights of subrogation and of assignment.
This article shall be liberally construed to accomplish its purpose to deter the commission of arson and related crimes, to discourage the abandonment of property and to prevent urban blight and deterioration.
The Secretary of the Township shall transmit a certified copy of this article promptly to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.
The Board of Supervisors of the Township may, but need not, adopt by resolution procedures and regulations to implement the Act and this article and may, by resolution, fix reasonable fees to be charged for Township activities or services provided pursuant to the Act and this article, including, without limitation, issuance of certificates and bills, performance of inspections, and opening separate escrow fund accounts.
Any owner of property, any named insured(s) or any insuring agent who shall violate any provision of this article shall, upon conviction thereof before the District Justice, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $1,000 and costs of prosecution and/or to undergo imprisonment for a term not to exceed 30 days. Each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.
The provisions of this article are severable. If any sentence, clause, provision or section of this article is for any reason found to be unconstitutional, illegal or invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of any of the remaining sentences, clauses, provisions and sections of this article. It is hereby declared as a legislative intent that this article would have been adopted had such unconstitutional, illegal or invalid provision not been included herein.