FEMA considers changes following complaints from frustrated Sandy policyholders

George Kasimos

George Kasimos

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is seeking some changes in the national flood insurance program to help policyholders who are shortchanged on claims.

FEMA wants to redo its contract with private insurance companies that offer flood policies and assign a litigation team to limit the length of disputes.

New Jersey Organizing Project director Amanda Devecka-Rinear said that seems like a good move.

“I’m hopeful, but I’m a little skeptical. We’ve seen a series of rollouts that are meant to help homeowners, and they haven’t always functioned as well as they’re supposed to,” she said Tuesday. “For example, the reopening of the Sandy claims was supposed to take 90 days. We have many members that are still waiting.”

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George Kasimos, the founder of Stop FEMA Now, doesn’t believe FEMA’s proposed changes will accomplish much.

“It really has no teeth in it,” he said. “It’s just a response to all the negative things that have come out against FEMA, but in reality it doesn’t make a change.”

FEMA’s proposal follows complaints that insurers lowballed and shortchanged homeowners who sustained damage from Superstorm Sandy.

More than $58 million in additional funds have been paid to 13,000 Sandy homeowners who asked the agency to reconsider their claims.

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