FEMA Notices on Appealing and Reviewing Claims in the National Flood Insurance Program expected Soon
By the end of April, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is expected to mail notices to all policy holders who filed claims with its National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) on how to appeal or request a review in light of allegations of fraud and questionable engineering reports that led to underpayments and denials, according to Paul Weberg, Senior Engineer with FEMA Region II in New York.
Weberg made the announcement Wednesday during an appearance on the "Townsquare Tonight" program on News Talk Radio WOBM-AM 1160 & 1310, hosted by Tom Mongelli.
Weberg said he was hopeful FEMA will be able to correct any wrongdoings.
"We need to put some checks and balances on the companies, the insurance agents, and the engineering companies that are working for them," said Weberg.
A caller expressed concern over how long Sandy victims are having to wait to receive funding and explained her parents were about to retire when they lost their Toms River home. They've gone through their entire savings paying for rent, mortgage insurance, and storage. They've also applied for New Jersey's Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation Program (RREM), but she said they could take years and still wouldn't replace the home they had.
Weberg pleaded with the woman to remain patient, reassuring her that instructions from FEMA would be available in the coming weeks on how to go about having their flood insurance claim reviewed.
"I believe they gave about $104,000 and the claim was for the full amount, which was $240,000," the caller said.
Dr. Philip M. Nufrio of the grassroots group "Stop FEMA Now," a Sandy victim from Seaside Park and Public Administration Professor at the Metropolitan College of New York, also called in with several concerns, including documented evidence of rising sea levels. FEMA is wrapping up the process of revising its flood maps, which don't taken into account Base Flood Elevations (BFE's). Nufrio questioned why FEMA hasn't taken the lead in developing real mitigation plans for counties to prevent another catastrophe.
"It needs to be an act of Congress for the federal government or an act of the New Jersey State Government to increase elevations on FEMA's flood maps," Weberg said, agreeing he also would like to see BFE's included on the maps.