Because there have been recent allegations that some insurers in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) may have denied or rejected policyholders’ Superstorm Sandy flood damage claims based on falsified engineering reports, earlier this week FEMA agreed to re-open and review every flood insurance claim filed by Superstorm Sandy victims. It is important to note that this amounts to approximately 144,000 claims, and not just the estimated 2,200 FEMA Superstorm Sandy flood claims currently in litigation.
A meeting on Wednesday, March 11, 2015, was attended by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-N.J.), and Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand (both D-N.Y.). According to a press release from Senator Menendez’s office:
During the meeting, Admininistrator Fugate announced they are taking steps to:
- Develop a process for all Sandy victims who are non-litigants, but believe their claims were unjustly denied or lowballed, to be reopened and reviewed;
- Guarantee claimants gain access to all engineering reports;
- Contact by mail all Sandy claimants to make them aware of the new process and opportunity for review;
- Commence Sandy Task Force during the week of April 13 to begin evaluation of the program and focus on reforms;
- Make personnel changes at senior levels of the NFIP.
FEMA’s commitment to implement a process to reopen and review claims is welcome news for Superstorm Sandy victims not fairly paid for the damage they suffered. As Senator Menendez stated:
This is a significant turnaround for the thousands of Sandy survivors who have been victimized not only by the storm, but by FEMA, insurance companies and their subcontractors who systemically lowballed claims. For months and months, I have been fighting to expose this scandal and make sure Sandy victims get what they’re entitled to and I’m pleased FEMA has admitted there are big problems and has committed to fixing them. I intend to hold their feet to the fire every step of the way to ensure Sandy survivors receive the fair treatment they deserve.
A FEMA spokesperson has confirmed that David Miller, the associate administrator for the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (which oversees the flood insurance program ) has resigned.
As always, stay tuned to our blog for continued coverage of all Superstorm Sandy related news.