A year after Hurricane Sandy flooded thousands of houses on the New Jersey and New York coast, the FEMA-run National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has released figures for flood insurance payouts related to the catastrophic storm. The bottom line: NFIP has paid out about $7.85 billion dollars in the hardest-hit states—$3.57 billion for New Jersey, and $3.36 billion for New York. The Sandpaper reported the story on November 27 (for the full Sandpaper item, see: "N.J. Flood Insurance Numbers Released One Year After Sandy," by Michael Molinaro).

"One year after Sandy, the NFIP has closed 99.6% of the approximately 144,000 total claims for Sandy, 74,508 of which came from New Jersey," the Sandpaper reports. Insurers "paid on average just about $55,000 on closed claim payments for Sandy as of Oct. 28. Claims from New York received on average $10,000 more than those in New Jersey, about $62,000 for New York versus about $52,000 for New Jersey."

For some contractors, insurance work has been their bread and butter since the storm. One contractor interviewed by the Sandpaper, Adam Van Nevius, owner of Manahawkin-based Coastal Restorations, said the $55,000-per-claim figure was low compared to his experience with customers. But he noted that often a knowledgeable contractor can find more insurance money for his clients with a careful inspection and estimate.

Said Van Nevius: "I have extensive experience working with insurance companies. What I have done is look over copies of claims and gone through them with a fine-tooth comb and found some things they missed. They have gone back to the insurance company or I have dealt with them directly and we have been very successful with getting them extra money. There's usually an extra $10,000 floating out there. Insurance companies like homeowners because they don't understand the whole process, and when a contractor writes a letter where they have legitimately left things out, we can correct that."