- - Sunday, August 30, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Almost three years after Superstorm Sandy, homeowners in New York and New Jersey continue to be haunted by the effects of the storm.

Approximately $65 billion in damages occurred as a result of Superstorm Sandy and over 650,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, many of which were insured by FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, which was created in 1968 by Congress to reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures by providing affordable insurance for property owners.

But while the program may have been affordable, it did not provide these homeowners with the coverage promised to them in their policies.

Due to an abundant amount of underpayments to National Flood Insurance Program policyholders, many victims were left without homes or were forced to take on large amounts of debt to rebuild their homes.

“It’s unacceptable that victims of Superstorm Sandy’s devastation are still fighting to get what they rightfully deserve from their insurers,” New Jersey Senator Cory Booker stated earlier this year.

With over 2,200 cases pending in federal courts relating to the underpayment of Hurricane Sandy insurance claims, FEMA has offered to reopen almost 142,000 claims, an offer that they say is valid up until September 15th.

However, many believe this deadline is just not reasonable.

In a recent letter to FEMA, lawmakers, including Mr. Booker, expressed their opposition to the deadline saying, “Despite all of the missteps, delays, and mistakes, FEMA has an opportunity to bring some measure of justice to those affected. We urge you to grant an extension and not to let arbitrary deadlines obscure your vision from the ultimate goal: fairness and a full recovery for all.”

So, why isn’t the deadline reasonable?

Lawmakers who signed the letter believe that the unreasonableness of the deadline stems from the continued confusion of homeowners attempting to navigate FEMA’s claim review process.

“Thousands of homeowners still have countless questions about what information they need to provide and how they need to proceed in order to get every penny they’re entitled too,” they stated in the letter.

Nonetheless, as the deadline to submit Superstorm Sandy claim review requests to FEMA approaches, FEMA is continuing to encourage claimants to meet the September 15th deadline and no official extension has been granted.

Approximately only 10,000 of the 142,000 Sandy victims given the opportunity to have their files reviewed have entered the process and it is unclear whether more victims will meet the requirements for claim review before the deadline. 

Madison Gesiotto is a staff editor for the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide