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Flood insurance program hires arbitration company for Sandy claims

The National Flood Insurance Program has hired one of the world's largest dispute resolution companies as its neutral arbiter in the effort to review thousands of contested superstorm Sandy claims.

Irvine, California-based JAMS, formerly named Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Service, will provide attorneys and retired judges with experience in insurance claims to review appeals filed by homeowners who disagree with the outcome of their review.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which runs the flood insurance program, agreed to review up to 142,000 claims from the 2012 storm after widespread allegations that homeowners were underpaid. The reviews began this month.

The agency has said it will give "substantial weight" to JAMS' recommendation. Ultimately, however, FEMA will have the final say over how much policyholders are paid to cover damage to their homes.

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