EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Gillibrand pushes FEMA to pay Sandy victims after PIX exposes loophole

Posted: 9:38 PM, Jun 27, 2013
Updated: 2013-06-27 21:38:30-04

NEW YORK (PIX11) – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand formally pressured FEMA to pay up, thanks to our report that showed how a loophole in the Fed’s flood insurance program (NFIP) has thousands of Sandy victims faced with flood claim denials.

Last week, PIX 11 reported how the National Flood Insurance Program is denying claims to some Sandy-stricken homeowners who have costly damage to their foundations.  The problem is with the policy language, which was written by Congress.  It says it will not pay for property loss caused by “earth movement,” adding, “even if that movement is caused by flood.”
This caught the attention of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand who is now hoping to fix this FEMA practice.


“It is deeply troubling that damages caused by a storm of this magnitude are excluded from flood insurance policies,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We must ensure that no bureaucratic fine print stands in the way of getting Sandy-impacted homeowners fully back on their feet. Our New York homeowners who suffered damages from the storm deserve the needed resources to repair and rebuild their homes.”

In a letter to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Senator Gillibrand wrote, “It is unacceptable for the Federal Government to use such loopholes to deny responsible homeowners the benefits that they paid for through their insurance premiums. To deny these claims pulls the rug out from underneath homeowners who are relying on their flood insurance policies to rebuild their homes…. I request that you immediately review the regulatory requirements for FEMA’s standard flood insurance policy and reconsider the denials that have been issued to homeowners based on the ‘earth movement’ exclusion.”

FEMA has not responded to any calls or emails.

Experts tell us it may literally take an Act of Congress to change the policy retroactively so Sandy victims are protected.

Stay with PIX 11 News for the latest on this developing story.