Special Coverage

  • Read more on Sandy’s Aftermath

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), after some prodding by lawmakers, has extended by one month the deadline for homeowners to ask for a review of their flood insurance claims from Hurricane Sandy flooding. The agency agreed to reopen all closed flood claims after evidence emerged in Federal court of a pattern of improper claim adjustment practices by insurance companies and engineering firms (see: "Texas Trial Lawyer Mostyn Changing the Game in Sandy Insurance Battle," Coastal Contractor 2/23/15).

FEMA agreed to review every flood claim in the case, including more than 140,000 already settled claims. But so far, most flooded homeowners aren't taking up the offer, and fewer still have gotten any relief: "As of Sept. 16, 23,593 homeowners have contacted FEMA, 14,201 have asked the agency to review their cialms and 825 have been approved for additional payments," reported NJ Advance Media (see: "Sandy victims' new claim deadline: Oct. 15," by Jonathan D. Salant).

The extended deadline gives homeowners one more chance, and New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez is urging them to take it. "I understand why many families have been skeptical about making the call," Menendez said in Moonachie, New Jersey. "You're tired and frustrated and reopening your claim may seem like reopening an old wound that still hasn't healed." But New Jersey resident Sonny Markoski, accompanying the Senator, said homeowners should give the review a shot. "To other Sandy survivors, if you're too tired to reopen the claim, I totally understand that," said Markoski. "We've all been through a lot. But you know what, this is money you deserved, money you paid for in your insurance policy. You've got nothing to lose, and maybe a whole lot to gain. And it really was not that hard." Markoski and his wife Dawn received an additional award of $56,000 after FEMA reopened their claim, Advance Media reported.