WASHINGTON, D.C. – September 15, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Victims of Superstorm Sandy who may have been underpaid on their flood insurance claims have until Tuesday, September 15th, to request a review from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04), who led efforts to push FEMA to conduct the reviews. The Sandy Claims Review Process is open to National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholders who submitted a Sandy-related flood claim.
“This is an opportunity for homeowners who were wronged after Sandy to receive the due consideration and fair analysis they have been entitled to all along—and I am hopeful that money will not be left on the table,” said Smith, whose constituents in Monmouth and Ocean counties were hard hit by Sandy. “Those who dutifully paid their premiums with the expectation that the NFIP would be there following a disaster deserve every penny owed to them, and I encourage everyone who may have been underpaid to request a review.
“While I have asked FEMA to extend the deadline to encourage and ensure full participation, FEMA remarkably has not yet done so,” Smith continued. “Consumer trust and taxpayer confidence in the NFIP must be restored, and the claims process is a necessary first step—and Sandy victims should not be turned away. The administration must deliver on its promises.”
The Sandy Claims Review Process was established after Smith led a NJ congressional delegation meeting with FEMA’s Brad Kieserman, then-Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance, in March of this year to address charges of fraud and underpayments of flood insurance claims to Sandy victims and discuss the reopening of claims. As a result of that meeting, Kieserman pledged to establish a robust and thorough claims process to review all potential Sandy-related underpayments.
Last month, Smith spearheaded a bipartisan letter—signed by every Member of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation—urging Secretary Julián Castro of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to exercise his authority to prevent further delays in the payout process due to a complex and costly duplication of benefits analysis. The State of New Jersey has already made clear that it will not consider the additional flood insurance payouts as a duplication of benefits with any Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Relief (CDBG-DR) award—such as grants for Sandy victims made with federal fund through the State’s Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation, and Mitigation (RREM) Program.
More information on reopening a claim can be found here. The call center has extended its hours prior to the deadline, and will be taking calls between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. on September 14th and 15th. Policyholders may call toll-free 866-337-4262 or download a form requesting a review. The downloaded form may be filled out and emailed to FEMAsandyclaimsreview (at) fema.dhs (dot) gov or faxed to 202-646-7970 to begin the review.