Almost Two Years Later, Still Waiting for Sandy Reimbursement

Bad Faith Insurance Attorney

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told a town hall meeting in Haddon Heights last month that the Federal government is to blame for homeowners still waiting for checks to cover flood damage from Superstorm Sandy, reports

Homeowners with flood-related claims represent about 5 percent of all claims related to the storm’s damage, Christie said, and insurance companies who are overseeing the National Flood Insurance Program essentially have their hands tied by Federal rules. “The state has no jurisdiction” over flood claims, he said. “The Federal government refused to arbitrate or mediate these claims for Sandy victims,” Christie continued, adding that claimants can either accept what the government offers or sue.

The flood insurance program is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), which contracts with private insurance companies to manage payouts to policyholders who filed claims. The storm occurred nearly 2 years ago in October 2012.

Flood claims are entirely separate from the $12 billion the Federal government gave New Jersey for Sandy relief. Those funds are being distributed through community development block grants.

Lindsay Fuller, a Beach Haven resident who attended Christie’s Town Hall and who serves on the Ocean County Tourism Advisory Council, is not satisfied. “It’s easy for the insurance companies to hide behind the Federal government,” he told PolitickerNJ.

FEMA Paid More for Katrina Flood Claims in 2005 Than for Sandy’s

Homeowners who have received checks from FEMA say the amounts are often considerably less than contractors’ repair estimates and their policies’ maximum payouts. Using FEMA’s own data, the Asbury Park Press reports the average payout has been under $50,000. Gulf Coast residents received more than that back in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.

One Union Beach homeowner told the Star-Ledger he received a check for $76,000, much less than the $125,000 estimate he received to restore his home. His policy comes with a maximum payout for $250,000. “Why are they putting me through this extra unnecessary evil after what I’ve been through?” he asked his Congressman, Rep. Frank Pallone.

Sandy Survivors are Getting a Triple Whammy

Insuring against floods is a smart move. Insurance companies sitting on FEMA funds intended for policyholders are abusing homeowners who paid their premiums. The result is that homeowners are getting a triple whammy:

  • First, the storm hit, destroying thousands of homes displacing families for months.
  • Payouts from the federal flood insurance program—to which they faithfully paid premiums for years—are arriving far too slowly. For some people, they are too late to save their homes.
  • When payments do come, they are insufficient to cover repairs. They are even lower than the payments Gulf Coast residents received seven years earlier after Hurricane Katrina.

Belluck & Fox Will Fight for Your Rights

You need the services of a law firm with a proven track record for compelling insurance companies to do right by policyholders. Belluck & Fox attorneys have successfully recovered more than $500 million for their Sandy clients fighting insurance companies over outrageous behaviors including:

  • Delayed payments
  • Undervalued claims
  • Wrong deductible calculation
  • Ignored damages