On August 13th, Governor Cuomo asked U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro to waive the Duplications of benefits regulation for homeowners affected by Superstorm Sandy. Duplication of benefits arises when a policyholder is paid for their property loss from one source (ie insurance carrier or government run program) and receive additional funding from another source that covers the same damages.
Brad Kieserman is a leader. He took over a National Flood Insurance mess caused by others previously overseeing the National Flood Program and changed the culture. Unfortunately, the Red Cross hired him away and the old bureaucratic guard is back in place.
In the Supreme Court of the State of New York for the County of New York, the Honorable Barbara Jaffe, granted defendants’ Arch Insurance Group and Arch Specialty Insurance Company’s motions, dismissing them from a Superstorm Sandy claim on August 13, 2015.
Friday was the last day the special Superstorm Sandy docket in Ocean County New Jersey was under the authority of Judge Robert Fall. Anybody writing the history of Superstorm Sandy litigation would be remiss to not credit Judge Fall for resolving and moving a very large docket of Superstorm Sandy insurance cases.
I have been following this case from Hurricane Sandy in the New York Federal District Court for a few posts now and the most recent activity may be a derailment of the $1 billion damage claim from Sandy. I do not like having to report on such situations as it can mean that a policyholder does not obtain the recovery that looked substantial following Sandy. However, I was shocked when I read an article just the other day written with an update on the case in an insurance publication.
When there is $1 billion involved in a Superstorm Sandy insurance coverage battle, you can bet your bottom dollar there is going to be some gamesmanship in court by the insurance carriers with skin in the game. This has proven true in a New York federal case involving Amtrak and a list of insurance carriers in a coverage case with damages claimed in excess of $1 billion.1
Starting on May 18th and over the following weeks, policyholders that had flood insurance through a WYO carrier or a FEMA direct policy that submitted claims for Superstorm Sandy will receive a letter in the mail asking if they want to reopen their claim for review. This “claims review process”—created by FEMA—will give policyholders who felt they were shortchanged on their property damage claim an opportunity to be reviewed by another “highly skilled NFIP-certified insurance adjuster.”
Floods do all sorts of damage. One aspect of damage often overlooked is when the flood removes property from one property owner’s land and deposits it on another’s land. Depending on where your property is located and the severity of the flood event, the debris on the policyholder’s property can be extensive and expensive to clean up. The question naturally becomes, is this a covered loss under the Standard Flood Insurance Policy?
“Your government failed you.” These were the words spoken by Senator Bob Menendez during his opening comments of the Sandy Task Force meeting in Washington, DC on April 28, 2015. The purpose of the task force, according to Menendez, will be to bring justice to Sandy survivors and to fix the claims process for future claimants. The task force is comprised of New Jersey Senators Bob Menendez and Corey Booker, New York Senators Chuck Shumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, FEMA Deputy Administrator Brad Keiserman, and several non-profit groups working with Sandy victims.
Well it appears that this may be the last post in this series about national flood coverage of non-owned debris removal / boat in my front yard case. On Friday, April 17, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit denied the policyholders’ Petition for Rehearing.1