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.


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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.


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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.


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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.”


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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.


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