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Gillibrand pushes for flood insurance reform

Flooding and debris caused by the storm surge

Flooding and debris caused by the storm surge from superstorm Sandy in Mastic Beach on Oct. 31, 2012. Credit: Amanda Voisard

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand plans to introduce legislation this week to reform the National Flood Insurance Program in the wake of allegations that it underpaid homeowners on claims after superstorm Sandy.

The bill being spearheaded by the New York Democrat would require more transparency about claims from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which runs the flood insurance program, make it easier for homeowners to appeal settlements and close loopholes used to deny coverage.

"This new legislation would create unprecedented oversight over FEMA and hold them accountable so that New Yorkers never again have to face the endless red tape and fraud-ridden claims process they have been forced to endure over the last three years since superstorm Sandy," Gillibrand said in a prepared statement announcing the bill.

In the months after the 2012 storm, more than 2,000 homeowners in New York and New Jersey filed lawsuits accusing the flood insurance program of underpayments. In 2014, a judge concluded that engineers falsified documents to deny some of the settlements, prompting FEMA to launch a sweeping process to review up to 142,000 claims.


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