According to Newsday, more than three months after the hurricane, Long Islanders trying to rebuild from Sandy are still waiting for final insurance settlements, which leaves them struggling to pay contractors and frustrated at having unfinished homes. Many of these homeowners have been paying premiums for years, even decades, to the government-run National Flood Insurance Program. While most have received some money, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) reports that nearly half of all New Yorkers who filed flood claims after Sandy have yet to be paid in full.
Officials at FEMA say they are working as quickly as possible. Processing claims is labor intensive, they say, and FEMA is paying out between $80 million and $90 million each day. Supposedly, that pace should quicken now that adjusters have finished assessing most of the damage.
Although specific numbers for Long Island were not available, as per federal statistics, the region was the hardest hit in the state, with 43,100 homes protected by flood insurance inundated by the storm surge in Nassau and Suffolk counties. It is unclear how many of those homeowners filed claims.
As per the Newsday report, FEMA took steps after Sandy to speed the settlement process; including expediting advance payments and reducing the amount of paperwork adjusters must file to complete claims. Since not all policyholders filed immediately after the storm, FEMA officials said it is too early to tell whether they are lagging behind their goal of settling claims within an average of 45 days.