FEMA is “failing miserably” in reviewing Sandy claims, U.S senators say

     Photo: Associated Press

    Photo: Associated Press

    A Federal Emergency Management Agency “foot-drag” is responsible for Superstorm Sandy claims not being addressed, two U.S. senators say. 

    According to a release from U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, only 700 cases submitted to FEMA’s “Superstorm Sandy National Flood Insurance Program Claims Review Process” have been closed.

    That represents less than five percent of the total claims that have been submitted for re-review.

    In May, FEMA instituted the Superstorm Sandy National Flood Insurance Program Claims Review Process, a program through which storm survivors could have their claims re-reviewed.

    As of October 22, 8,733 cases have been in review for more than 90 days and 5,576 have been in review for more than 120 days, according to FEMA. And as of Oct. 26, 1,378 out of 17,078 have completed the review process, with 190 checks issued at an average payment of $15,000.

    In a letter to FEMA, the senators say they are “deeply disturbed” by the data.

    “We know from brutal experience that the flood insurance program was broken and denied countless Sandy victims timely and just payments on their claims. This is a travesty that FEMA promised to rectify with its Flood Insurance Program Claims Review Process, but the bottom line is that it is failing miserably to promptly and fairly review and pay many thousands of unjustly denied policyholders’ claims,” said Senator Schumer.

    “FEMA has reviewed and closed a paltry 5% submitted claims. This is maddening – and not acceptable, which is why I am demanding that FEMA address these issues, eliminate the backlog and work closely with policyholders until not one case is left in the docket,” he added.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.