30,000 NY & NJ Residents Still Displaced a Year after Hurricane Sandy

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A lack of insurance payouts from homeowners’ insurance companies and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has resulted in 30,000 New York and New Jersey residents being displaced – even a full year after Hurricane Sandy hit the area.

The Main Reasons? A Lack of Insurance Payouts

Home and business owners whose properties were damaged or destroyed in Hurricane Sandy generally relied upon two types of insurance to cover their losses – homeowners’ insurance and flood insurance obtained through FEMA.  However, many Sandy victims have seen little or nothing from either source.

  • Homeowners’ Insurance Claims.  Many homeowners filed claims with their insurance companies for wind damage, roof damage, interior damage and water damage.  However, many are still waiting for their payout checks or find themselves battling it out with their insurance companies over improperly calculated deductibles. They may have been offered lowball settlements, had their claims delayed or simply had their claims denied for no reason other than the insurance company has decided to withhold the payment and see if they’ll be sued.

Any one of the above instances is referred to as bad faith insurance practices and home and business owners can fight back with the help of an experienced insurance dispute lawyer who can help you to settle your claim, but also determine if you might be entitled to additional damages based upon how your insurer treated you.

  • FEMA Claims.  Issues with FEMA flood insurance claims have been a major issue after Hurricane Sandy as well.  Many families who were not in designated flood zones have not been able to obtain the millions of dollars in subsidized flood insurance to allow them to repair or replace their homes.

According to United Press International, while FEMA claims that its flood insurance program has paid out nearly $8 billion, less than half of the applicants for federal aid assistance received less than $5,000 for temporary shelter and emergency assistance.  Funds that would allow rebuilding and repairing simply haven’t come.

In fact, Benjamin Rajotte, Director of the Disaster Relief Clinic at Long Island’s Touro Law Center, was quoted as saying that flood insurance underpayment was the single biggest reason for why the rebuilding hasn’t really taken off. Rajotte said that people frequently reported receiving half or less of what it would take to rebuild their house.

Although it’s been a year since Hurricane Sandy hit, it’s clear that thousands of homeowners have yet to receive what should rightly be theirs.

Getting the Help You Need

If your homeowners’ insurance policy has yet to pay your valid claim, seek the advice of an experienced insurance dispute attorney who understands how insurers operate.  In many situations, insurers will simply ignore your claim, or delay your claim knowing that you need the money to repair or rebuild now and will take whatever they offer.

They are betting on the fact that most homeowners feel intimidated fighting back against a multi-million insurance company with its own team of legal staff.  However, that’s exactly what bad faith insurance lawyers do and they can help you to even the odds – both in and out of the courtroom.

The bottom line is that insurance companies have a legal duty to treat their policyholders in good faith and deal with them fairly.  When they don’t, you may have legal recourse against them.