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
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