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U.S. Senator responds to PIX11 story on federal flood program denying Sandy victims’ claims

Posted at 11:02 PM, Jun 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-21 23:02:28-04

NEW YORK (PIX11) — In response to a story we first reported Thursday, one U.S. Senator is calling this situation involving the fed’s flood insurance program “outrageous.”

Here’s the situation:  we’ve learned thousands of homeowners are being blindsided with flood claim denials on damage to their foundations, that was clearly caused by Sandy’s flood waters.  The Sass family from Manasquan, New Jersey is the perfect example.  Like most coastal homeowners, they have flood insurance through the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program, NFIP.  When they noticed clear cracks in their foundation after the storm, they thought for certain, they were covered.  Then, their claim was denied, not because the damage was being disputed, but because the policy language (which was written by Congress in recent years) says it “will not insure loss to property caused directly by earth movement, even if the movement is caused by flood.”

Angie Hu, a spokeswoman for U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand sent this statement, saying, “Senator Gillibrand finds this report about thousands of homeowners having their flood insurance claims denied due to bureaucratic fine print to be outrageous. The Senator is looking into ways to change this policy so families devastated by super storm Sandy get the resources needed to rebuild and recover.”

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It is a good thing she is looking into this because it will literally take an act of Congress to change the language so these people are protected by the very policy they paid into.

We contacted the NFIP through FEMA’s DC office and no one has called or emailed back.

Keep in mind, this is the very same flood program that is also requiring people to elevate their homes or else they risk coverage refusal completely. And for those residents who have faulty foundations, they cannot raise their homes unless they fix their foundations.  So those folks are either forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to rebuild from the ground up or they have to walk away from their homes completely.

To read Thursday’s report, click here.