Sandy Victims Gain More Time for Flood Insurance Claims Review

Aug 07, 2017

Nearly $7 million in supplemental insurance payments from the Federal Emergency Management Agency is left unclaimed by survivors of Superstorm Sandy, and the deadline for flood insurance claim reviews was looming. Now, though, due to the efforts of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), FEMA is extending deadlines for policyholders affected by the storm.

Menendez, who co-chaired the Sandy Task Force, first exposed the widespread lowballing of flood insurance claims in 2014, and the following year successfully pushed FEMA to reopen every Sandy flood insurance claim for review. The review process has since compensated homeowners more than $250 million in additional payments they deserved but were initially denied.

Last month, FEMA sent out a letter notifying policyholders – many of whom have been offered money from the claims review, but had yet to respond – that their cases would become inactive if they did not contact FEMA by July 31. In response to a request from Menendez’s office, that deadline has now been extended to Sept. 15, with further assurances by FEMA that it will proactively try again to reach these individuals, as well as allow some flexibility beyond the deadline.

Additionally, FEMA has agreed to extend the deadline for policyholders who are appealing their claims to the third-party neutral. FEMA had initially imposed an Aug. 1 deadline to schedule the hearing to be held no later than Sept. 30. That date was pushed to Oct. 25, with a commitment to reevaluate progress month by month. (Menendez had pushed FEMA to afford policyholders this “neutral” option to give homeowners one last review from an independent entity.)

“This additional time and opportunity is needed and welcome,” Menendez remarked. “My office has been actively working with FEMA to find a solution that affords each policyholder every reasonable opportunity to have their flood insurance claim heard and that every penny owed to them gets paid out in a timely manner. We all wish the claims review would have gone faster, and I will not let up until every Sandy survivor gets what they’re entitled.”

He added, “I would remind anyone in the Sandy Claims Review that you cannot receive additional flood insurance money until you complete the process. ... Don’t leave money on the table.”

Individuals who experience problems or delays with the claim review may reach out to Menendez’s office for assistance. —J.K.-H.

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