Over 140,000 flood claims made during Hurricane Sandy will be reopened by FEMA. Although this process is sure to be complicated, this news is sure to please the thousands of people who went un- or underpaid during the initial claims process for Hurricane Sandy.
There is mounting evidence that engineering reports were altered or fraudulent in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Due to this, FEMA is promising to reopen every flood insurance claim in New York and New Jersey caused by Hurricane Sandy – approximately 144,000 claims. FEMA plans to open a toll-free number for those with claims in question to call. Each person who filed a claim after Hurricane Sandy will receive a letter from FEMA with instructions on how to reopen their case.
Because of the various companies and the ranging amount of damage, the proper way to go about reissuing compensation for flood damage will be a difficult process. Certain individuals and businesses received aid from government sources other than FEMA. Others were the subject of fraud while more still were simply underpaid. FEMA hopes to allow each individual claimant an assigned employee to ensure that their case is looked at thoroughly. They believe that over 15,000 cases will involve complicated issues related to engineering. It will also be difficult to provide evidence of damage for many houses that have been fixed since the hurricane first hit.
Although this reopening is good news to many, claimants should know that it is possible to end up with a lower claim settlement than their original payment. This could result in the claimant being required to repay FEMA. However, only a very small amount of claims are expected to have this result – less than 2%. The lapsed two and a half years between the events of Hurricane Sandy and today are sure to complicate the process of claiming proper compensation. FEMA is hopeful that they will be able to make a helpful and interactive program to ensure that victims of Sandy damage are satisfied with their insurance claims.