U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said Tuesday he rejects the key findings of an investigation concluding the National Flood Insurance Program did not routinely underpay homeowners after superstorm Sandy.
Schumer, a New York Democrat, said the probe by the Senate Banking Committee relied on questionable data, concluded too quickly and ignored evidence of widespread underpayments from the more than 2,000 lawsuits filed after Sandy in federal court.
"I wouldn't take the conclusions to the bank," said Schumer, a member of the banking committee.StoryStudy: Victims weren't systematically underpaidDataNY Rising LI projectsStorySandy-damaged homes to get demolished
The results of the four-month investigation, released Tuesday, relied on data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has acknowledged problems with its record keeping.
The study conceded that a small minority of Sandy victims may have been underpaid but that overall the insurance companies that processed claims committed few errors.
"We think it is not possible to say on the basis of the available evidence that [the insurance companies] were part of the problem in Sandy," said Christopher Ford, the study's lead investigator.
The study was overseen by the chair of the Senate banking committee, Alabama Republican Richard Shelby, whose top campaign contributor over the last five years was Travelers Insurance, according to data from the Federal Election Commission. His spokeswoman did not return a call Tuesday.
A spokesman for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said the report doesn't add up.
"Based on the evidence presented in federal court, any study that concludes the National Flood Insurance Program did not systematically underpay superstorm Sandy victims is deeply flawed and suspect," said the spokesman, Glen Caplin.