Brad Kieserman has taken swift and bold action regarding Superstorm Sandy National Flood Insurance claims. In a filing made this morning in Superstorm Sandy litigation, a March 5, 2015 letter from Kieserman indicates that FEMA—rather than the WYO flood carriers—is calling the shots:
Nicole Vinson‘s post State Farm Sued for Fraud for Katrina: More Altered Engineering Reports Alleged, a recent filing by my co-liaison counsel Steve Mostyn, and one by Javier Delgado, prompted me to write about how groups of people with power can dictate an unethical claims culture biased and driven to pre-determined outcomes. I strongly encourage those involved with this area of claims to read each of the linked materials.
Superstorm Sandy litigation revealed altered engineering reports concerning damage to homes ravaged by the storm, and now allegations of altered engineering reports are surfacing.
There has been some further activity to report in the flood non-owned debris, boat in my front yard case. This topic peaked my interest in the wake of Super Storm Sandy, and is my fourth update on the case. Often there will be debris scattered all around people’s yards following a flood event, especially one as significant as Sandy. On March 26, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that the Standard Flood Insurance Policy does not cover the expense of removing non-owned debris in the policyholder’s lot or any land outside the perimeter walls of the structure.1
Hurricane Sandy flood insurance cases are currently stayed in the Eastern District of New York until April 30, 2015, in order to allow the parties to focus on settlement discussions. The Hurricane Sandy Committee held a conference on April 14, 2015. . .…
Continue Reading Eastern District of New York Hurricane Sandy Update
The moral of this story is don’t be caught off guard by insurance policy sublimits. It isn’t every day that a policy sublimit issue involves hundreds of millions of dollars. However, that recently was the case involving a Superstorm Sandy claim in New Jersey.1 Public Service Enterprise Group filed a lawsuit in New Jersey against numerous insurance carriers seeking several hundred million dollars in coverage for Super Storm Sandy damage. One of the issues involved whether a flood sublimit applies.
On March 23, 2015, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Thomas R. Vena handed down an opinion1 siding with the plaintiff, PSEG, ruling that storm surge caused by Superstorm Sandy should not trigger flood sublimits in PSEG’s insurance policies, as the term “storm surge” was included in the definition of a “named windstorm” in the policies.
All estimates of damage, including draft estimates of damage made by adjusters, have been ordered to be produced in a Superstorm Sandy flood damage case.1 Typically, insurance company flood attorneys have made the same arguments they made regarding drafts of engineering reports—“We and our clients do not have them, judge."
A common scenario after Sandy was that folks ended up with all sorts of debris scattered across their properties that had been deposited by the powerful storm. Things like boats, docks, parts of structures and plants and sand were left everywhere and were in need of removal at sometimes substantial costs. So it would stand to reason then that property owners’ flood policies would cover the removal of non-owned debris from their properties right? Well, not according to a recent U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit opinion on this topic.1
Last week I discussed FEMA’s has agreement to reopen and review 144,000 flood claims filed by homeowners whose properties were damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
Also, on March 13th the Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court of New Jersey, Jerome B. Simandle, issued two orders—recommended by the court’s Hurricane Sandy Litigation Committee and approved by the Board of Judges of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey—temporarily staying all Hurricane Sandy-related cases filed directly against FEMA, and insurance companies that participated in FEMA’s WYO program, for 60 days.