Hurricane Sandy Victims Fight for Claims Payments
Things still seem grim for thousands of Hurricane Sandy victims. While many are still waiting for their flood insurance claims to be resolved, many others are claiming they are getting considerably less cash than what’s required to rebuild.
As this blog has noted, Hurricane Sandy victims are facing multiple hurdles to get reimbursement for their claims. Some are turning to litigation. The frustration is mounting, notes a recent article in the NJ.Com news Web site. For instance, one couple claimed it received $99,000 to rebuild its 162-year old house — when the flood insurance policy’s coverage extended to $200,000. Another policy holder claimed that after months of waiting, he received a check for $76,000 to rebuild his ruined Union Beach, N.J. house.
That amount was less than the $125,000 contractor’s estimate he’d received to restore his property to the way it was before the hurricane. It’s also far less than the $250,000 limit of his flood insurance policy. “Why are they putting me through this extra unnecessary evil after what I’ve been through?” he asked aloud in a recent public meeting at Union Beach’s borough hall.
Frequently, an insurer will tell the policy holder that it must factor in depreciation for a property when it processes the claim.
The slow pace of the repayments has been a major sore sport, prompting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to call the National Flood Insurance Program a “disgrace.” In fact, some residents are ready to just leave their homes, as they can’t afford to keep up with a mortgage and taxes for uninhabitable properties.
Even those who do finally manage to get an acceptable settlement have emotional scars, as another story on the NJ.Com site illustrates. "I’m still traumatized," said one home owner who spent months to get a reasonable settlement. "After they drag you down the street, it’s like they say ‘OK, we will take care of you.’ "
Nevertheless, she concluded she was glad she fought the system. "I feel like I’ve been blindfolded and spun around."