Senate Banking Committee Holds Hearing on Sandy Flood Claims
The U.S. Senate Committee on Banking subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development held a hearing July 30, called “The Flood Insurance Claims Process in Communities After Sandy: Lessons Learned and Potential Improvements.”
The hearing covered a variety of topics relating to the claims process for consumers and businesses impacted during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Among other subjects, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), chairman of the subcommittee, sharply questioned FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate about the claims process in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Senators also slammed FEMA’s appeals process, which the chairman called costly and time-consuming, usually forcing consumers to hire lawyers to negotiate the process.
Sen. Menendez also noted that FEMA has rejected 270 Sandy-related flood insurance claims for missing one of the agency’s deadlines to submit forms, but FEMA regularly fails to respond to appeals in the required 90-day period. Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) highlighted concerns with potential fraud in the aftermath of Sandy. Administrator Fugate noted that he has referred fraud concerns to FEMA’s inspector general.
Hearings such as this lay the groundwork for future reauthorization of the NFIP, which expires in 2017. Congress is expected to continue examining this issue during this process.