When FEMA initially announced the Hurricane Sandy claims review process it gave a gleam of hope to those policyholders who had been wronged in the past. However, now over eight months into the program, that gleam of hope has turned into stress and frustration. Once again policyholders find themselves at the mercy of a government agency and disappointed by those who are supposed to come to their aid. Rather than providing an expeditious program designed to cure the many wrongs of the past, the Sandy claims review program has become a cumbersome and protracted process.
Eighty percent. Depending on what you are talking about 80% can be a very large number. When you are talking about the percentage of storm victims that were underpaid on their flood insurance claims, the number becomes unthinkable. Still, that’s the number cited by FEMA and quoted in a recent article published by NPR. In addition to that shocking number, the article cited another…. $400 million.
I wish I didn’t have to write this blog. I say that because although we are the Policyholder’s Advocate, and I’d rather blog about policy issues, case law, and statutes—not about impartiality or fraud regarding a government agency’s handling of the Sandy Review Process. However, these topics are pertinent to the field of law and Merlin Law Group likes to keep you informed on all variables and challenges your claim may face.
I just finished giving a presentation about insurance contract interpretation at FAPIA’s fall conference, and it seemed very well received. It takes a special passion to keep people on the edge of their seats talking about such a nerdy topic.
While we are all preparing for the possibility of Hurricane or (hopefully) Tropical Storm Joaquin hitting the tri-state area, many east coast residents are still recovering from Superstorm Sandy. To assist people who missed the previous September 15th deadline, FEMA has now extended the deadline to re-open your Sandy claim to October 15th. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that any additional flood insurance proceeds up to $20,000 will not be treated as duplicative. This is a major win for policyholders who received relief funding from government agencies. HUD stated that “three out of four National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) claimants have received less than $20,000 in additional compensation from FEMA and will not face any possible repayment.”
In most first-party property insurance disputes, experts are frequently required to provide opinions and testimony on the cost to repair a property. An insurance company will often seek to exclude an insured’s expert on the basis that the opinions are not reliable because the expert did not personally inspect the property.
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.