A letter just received from the law firm Gauthier Houghtaling & Williams who is handling our Sandy flood insurance claim:
As you are aware, we represent many clients who, like yourself, were severely underpaid following Hurricane Sandy and are now seeking relief from the FEMA Sandy Claims Review Process. In the recent months, it has become glaringly apparent that the program is not functioning as anyone expected, and the Sandy Claims Review Process is yet another disastrous failure of FEMA.
After Congressional hearings and public pronouncements on the widespread underpayments and fraud following the storm, FEMA claimed to have instructed its adjusters to “make all payments that ought to be made…” and stressed the need to “pay special attention to the policyholder at every step.” At the outset of the program, Brad Kieserman, the former Deputy Associate Administrator for Federal Insurance, affirmed in open court in that re-opened cases would be resolved quickly and the program would be administered fairly. While we were all hopeful that this Sandy Claims Review Process would rectify your underpayments and live up to the promises made by FEMA, we have been once again sorely disappointed.
The “expedited” Sandy Review process is now more than a year old. All homeowners are receiving extremely low offers even on homes that no longer exist, and FEMA adjusters continue to rely on fraudulent engineering reports to justify their offers. Our office has claims that were completely submitted as early as May 2015 that FEMA has yet to respond to, and that have been passed around from adjuster to adjuster with no progress. We have confirmed with other law firms, non-profit groups, advocacy groups and adjusters involved in the program that these experiences are happening across the board.
FEMA’s continued reliance on fraudulent engineering reports, continued failure to fairly address underpaid claims, and continued waste of taxpayer funds by unnecessary delay is disturbing for not only Sandy Survivors, but for all flood insurance claimants.
In order to address these urgent problems with the Sandy Claims Review Process, we have combined forces with other law firms, non-profit groups, advocacy groups, adjusters, local politicians, and media outlets and will be meeting with Congressmen and briefing them on the current situation on Thursday, April 28, 2016 on the Hill in Washington DC. If you are able to attend to lobby your Congressmen, please attend. Your input, influence and, most importantly, your story needs to be heard. If you are interested in attending please email us at email@example.com. We will be providing details early next week to each of you who is interested. Please know, we will not give up this fight. We hope you will join us.”
There is also some recent news video covering the ongoing problem: http://abc7ny.com/news/sandy-victim-says-fema-fraud-costing-her-big-bucks/1283304/.
I am planning to participate in the April 28 visit to Washington DC.