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.

Continue Reading FEMA to Re-Open and Review 144,000 Sandy Flood Claims

Unless you have been consciously trying to avoid it, you cannot help but know that is going on regarding Hurricane Sandy and the engineering fraud that seems to have run rampant in the claims handling process. FEMA has not stepped into the breach to resolve all of the litigation that has come about as a result of the fraud committed against flood insurance policyholders.

Continue Reading FEMA’s Rush to Resolve Sandy Fraud Issues May Only Scratch the Surface

FEMA officials appointed a person familiar with taking control of emergency situations when they appointed a retired United States Coast Guardsman to take control of the Superstorm Sandy mess. The mess was largely created by WYO “Dogs on a Leash” lawyers discussed in yesterday’s post, Insurance Company Lawyers Called "Dogs on a Leash." Unlike the evading and covering-up lawyers previously in charge, Brad Keiserman gives straight answers to direct questions. He seems sincerely interested in acknowledging and correcting current injustices. We hope he will tackle the reform aspect of National Flood claims following a full investigation that is just in its infancy.

Continue Reading Coast Guardsman Takes Control of Superstorm Sandy Claims

The CBS 60 Minutes documentary, The Storm After The Storm, called insurance company lawyers, "Dogs on a Leash." It raised the question whether insurers should be held accountable for acquiescing to unethical and wrongful misconduct by their own lawyers. Lawsuits naming insurance company lawyers and law firms for their complicity with aiding wrongful underpayments to their clients will undoubtedly be one of the consequences of Superstorm Sandy litigation.

Continue Reading Insurance Company Lawyers Called “Dogs on a Leash”

On Wednesday, February 18, 2015, the New York Attorney General’s office executed a search warrant at the offices of GEB HiRise Engineering in Uniondale, New York in a criminal probe over allegations of fraudulently changed engineering reports for Superstorm Sandy flood claims.

Continue Reading Authorities Raid New York Engineering Firm Over Superstorm Sandy Fraud

Most readers of this blog are aware of the issues surrounding altered engineering reports in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Often attorneys get a gut feeling about a case and believe that the other side may be trying to hide the ball. This has been true in many of our Sandy cases. On one such case, I discovered today that my gut was correct.

Continue Reading Anatomy of an Altered Engineering Report

Catastrophes breed controversies. Superstorm Sandy has a raging one involving altered engineering reports. Yesterday, Jeff Moore, a flood insurance executive with one of the largest National Flood Insurance participating insurers, pleaded the Fifth Amendment when asked questions regarding those altered reports. As reported by Christie Smyth of Bloomberg:

In November, U.S. Magistrate Judge Gary Brown said he feared there may be conflicting reports in many other flood insurance cases, and hundreds of homeowners are now searching for evidence that similar tactics were used to deny their Sandy-related claims.

In court, Brown is weighing whether to penalize Wright Flood and a law firm that represented it and other insurers. Representatives from the Metairie, Louisiana-based firm, Nielsen Carter & Treas LLC, didn’t attend the hearing, and a phone call wasn’t immediately returned.

During the proceeding, Jeff Moore, who was Wright Flood’s vice president of claims when Ramey was disputing her claim, refused to answer questions posed by her lawyers, citing his Fifth Amendment right under the U.S. Constitution not to incriminate himself.

Continue Reading Insurance Executive Pleads Fifth Over Altered Reports During Superstorm Sandy Hearing

My father was in the United States Coast Guard and eventually rose to the rank of Rear Admiral. So, I was happy to learn that FEMA’s Craig Fugate appointed a distinguished former Coast Guard Officer, Brad J. Kieserman, to investigate what has been going on regarding WYO insurance claims practices. Here’s an official, and good looking, photo of Kieserman:

Brad Kieserman

Continue Reading Kieserman Appointed to Lead FEMA Superstorm Sandy Investigation of WYO Claims Handling

A while back, my colleague, Shane Smith, wrote about a case, Herrera v. Tower Hill Preferred Insurance Company,1 where Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal considered – and then rejected – Tower Hill’s claim that its insured had violated the policy’s “Concealment or Fraud” and “Duties After Loss” provision by not disclosing their sinkhole expert’s report before filing suit.

Continue Reading Appellate Court Rejects Insurance Carrier’s Argument (Again) that Insured “Concealed” Material Fact By Not Providing Sinkhole Report