Christie Administration Asks FEMA To Give New Jersey Residents And Businesses A 6-Month Extension To File Flood Claims Related To Superstorm Sandy

photo by Art Gallagher

photo by Art Gallagher

TRENTON –The Christie Administration today urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to grant New Jersey residents and businesses who suffered property damage or destruction in Superstorm Sandy an additional six-month extension to file a complete flood insurance claim, or proof of loss, in connection with the storm. The Administration is asking that the filing deadline be extended from April 28, 2014 to October 28, 2014.

“Superstorm Sandy was the worst natural disaster to strike New Jersey in a generation, and the process of rebuilding has been expensive and complicated. Homeowners and business owners simply need more time to file their final flood insurance claims,” said Governor Christie. “Many property owners have begun to rebuild only to find there was more damage than they originally thought. This extension would give New Jersey residents the vital extra time they need to successfully navigate the flood claims filing process and restore and rebuild their properties.”

A proof of loss is a form used by the policyholder to support the amount they are claiming under the policy, which must then be signed, sworn and submitted to the insurance company with proper supporting documentation. An extension of the filing deadline would give homeowners and business owners additional time to evaluate newly discovered damages and costs, obtain proper documentation, and submit detailed information in a supplemental proof of loss.

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Posted: April 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, Christie Administration, FEMA, National Flood Insurance Plan, Press Release, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Monmouth And Ocean Senators Ask Congressional Delegation For Sandy Help

Six state Senators representing Monmouth and Oceans Counties have written to New Jersey’s U.S. Senators and Members of Congress asking for help in correcting inequities and inefficiencies in the federal government’s response to Superstorm Sanday.

In a letter dated March 31, Senators Jennifer Beck and Joe Kyrillos of Monmouth County, Robert Singer, Christopher Connors and James Holzapfel of Ocean County and Sam Thompson of Middlesex raised six issues concerning Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the Small Business Administration (SBA), FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and the Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation(RREM) grant program.

With all those agencies and initials, how could anything be going wrong?

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Posted: April 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: FEMA, RREM, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Menendez calls for hearings into post-Sandy flood insurance ‘low-balling’

Menendez calls for hearings into post-Sandy flood insurance ‘low-balling’ (via NJ.com)

MIDDLETOWN – Constituents have told Sen. Robert Menendez that the National Flood Insurance Program is feast or famine – high premiums feast on Jersey Shore residents, while low payouts force tough decisions on homeowners affected by Hurricane Sandy…

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Posted: March 28th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Bob Menendez, FEMA, Middletown, National Flood Insurance Plan, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Sweeney and Pallone confirm that Feds are the problem with Sandy relief

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Keansburg Deputy Mayor Jimmy Cocuzza, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Congressman Frank Pallone at Sweeney’s Town Hall Meeting in Keansburg, March 20, 2014

Senate President Steve Sweeney and Congressman Frank Pallone tried to feign non-partisanship yesterday at Sweeney’s Town Hall Meeting in Keansburg, the most recent leg on Sweeney’s Sandy Bill of Rights tour. “This is not about politics, or party,” Sweeney said as Pallone nodded “it’s about taking care of the people who need help and getting them the information they need.”

Sweeney’s bill seems to make perfect sense.  It requires plain language explanations of disaster assistance programs and gives applicants the right to know where they are in the process, where they are on waiting lists, and how to appeal.  The bill was cleared with amendments by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee, 4-0 with one abstention, Sen. Jennifer Beck, on Monday.

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Posted: March 21st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: FEMA, Frank Pallone, Keansburg, RREM, Stephen Sweeney, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

As Sandy housing aid deadline nears, lawmakers request extension

As Sandy housing aid deadline nears, lawmakers request extension (via NJ.com)

Roughly 1,000 New Jersey households still displaced because of Hurricane Sandy rely on the federal government to help pay for temporary housing. But that program is scheduled to end on April 30. So U.S. Sens. Robert Menendez and Cory Booker announced…

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Posted: March 6th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: FEMA, FMERA, Fort Monmouth, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

House Passes ‘Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act’

Bill would reform National Flood Insurance Program, aims to protect homeowners from steep insurance hikes

Congressman Chris Smith and Monmouth County Shaun Golden prepare to survey Hurricane Sandy damage

Congressman Chris Smith and Monmouth County Shaun Golden prepare to survey Hurricane Sandy damage

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House of Representatives voted last night to provide relief to hundreds of thousands of homeowners facing huge flood insurance premium rate increases, including many still recovering from the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy. Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04), who represents severely damaged areas in southern Monmouth and northern Ocean Counties, praised the vote.

“The bill makes targeted and necessary reforms and will prevent massive premium increases from hitting homeowners who simply cannot afford them—and cannot find a buyer to take them on, leaving them stranded and without a solution,” Smith said.  “Many cannot afford the recommended mitigation measures that may or may not reduce their premiums, creating a further environment of uncertainty. Accordingly, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act slows the rate of increase that was included in the 2012 Biggert-Waters reform bill, allowing homeowners to remain in their homes and plan accordingly to continue flood insurance policies.”

The bill passed in a 309-91 vote. If enacted the bill will provide relief and stability to these homeowners and their communities while bringing reform to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  It also provides a mechanism for enhanced community participation in the flood mapping process and increases transparency by making information publicly available to impacted parties.

The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (HR 3370), co-sponsored by Smith, remedies many of the unintended consequences of the so-called Biggert-Waters Act of 2012. It repeals certain rate increases on Pre-Flood Insurance Rate Map (Pre-FIRM) properties and restores Grandfathered Rates for Post-FIRM properties that were built to code at the time of construction. It prevents a property sale from triggering rate increases and refunds those who have already faced one.

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Posted: March 5th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, FEMA, Flood Maps, Flooding, National Flood Insurance Plan, Press Release | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

FEMA Agrees to Levee Study that Could Ease Homeowners’ Flood Insurance Premiums

FREEHOLD, N.J. – Federal officials are taking steps which may help residents of the hard-hit neighborhood of North Middletown as they face potential flood insurance increases as a result of new flood maps expected to be unveiled this week.

 

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) said that as a result of congressional inquiry and meetings with local officials from Middletown, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other state and federal agencies, FEMA has agreed to implement a comprehensive study and evaluation of the East Keansburg Levee system which FEMA had previously “de-certified” for flood protection, resulting in proposed steep flood insurance hikes for homeowners.  If the study recognizes the levee system as flood protection that may prevent devastating flooding as it did during Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene, it could lead to reduced risk assessment and lower insurance costs.

“Thousands of residents of North Middletown are looking at the very real possibility of their flood insurance premiums skyrocketing because FEMA no longer views some levee systems as adequate flood protection,” said Smith. “But as residents there know, for more than 40 years this neighborhood has been well served by a flood management system of levees, dunes, and pumps. This unique system has been effective since its installation in the 1970s. Even during Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy, when much of the coast was badly flooded, the roughly 1,400 homes in North Middletown remained protected. To omit an evaluation of this levy system and a substantive analysis of any form of protection it might offer would be unfair to the residents.”

 

Smith sent a letter to FEMA Region II chief Jerome Hatfield on November 8 requesting the agency do a study, to which Hatfield replied that FEMA did not at the time have adequate funding.

 

“We are thankful that FEMA has now identified funding to undertake this important study, particularly after correspondence in which Administrator Hatfield stated that FEMA was looking to explore this option and work together with local stakeholders,” said Smith.  “We hope this new study will enable FEMA to determine the effectiveness of the East Keansburg Levee system and provide them with the most comprehensive and up-to-date information as they conclude analysis of the region’s flood maps.”

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Posted: January 27th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, FEMA, Flood Maps, Flooding, Press Release, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Monmouth Mayors Cast Doubt On Zimmer’s Quid Pro Quo Claims

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer on MSNBC's Up with Steve Kornacki, January 18, 2014

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer on MSNBC’s Up with Steve Kornacki, January 18, 2014

Monmouth County mayors and other municipal officials are reacting to Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s allegations that her city is not receiving Sandy Relief funds because she hasn’t pushed through a redevelopment approval coveted by Governor Chris Christie with a high degree of skepticism, because their storm ravaged communities have yet to see significant money yet either.

One elected official who asked not to be quoted said, “If Hoboken had approved that Rockefeller project, Zimmer would still be standing on her head at a Hoboken street corner looking for her Sandy money. The money hasn’t started to flow yet.”

“Is it believable that Guadagno (Lt. Governor Kim Guadango) or Constable (DCA Commissioner Richard Constable) encouraged Zimmer to expedite an project? Yes.  As a quid pro quo for Sandy dollars? No way,” another official said.

Zimmer alleged on MSNBC’s Up with Steve Kornacki this morning that Guadagno pulled her aside at a Hoboken ribbon cutting and warned that Sandy Relief money to Hoboken was contingent on a development application by the Rockefeller Group being approved by the city. Zimmer said that Constable told her at a Monmouth University symposium on Sandy recovery that relief dollars would flow if the Rockefeller application was approved.

After talking to local and state officials today, MMM understands that the federal money for Sandy Relief is flowing dripping through four sources; FEMA, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) which administers relief for homeowners, the New Jersey Economic Development Agency(EDA) and County Governments which are administering Hazard Mitigation Grants.  The Hazard Mitigation Grants are funded by FEMA and distributed to the counties by the State Office of Emergency Management.

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Posted: January 18th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Dawn Zimmer, EDA, FEMA, Hoboken | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments »

Christie asks FEMA to revise time limit for filing lawsuits over Sandy flood claims

Christie asks FEMA to revise time limit for filing lawsuits over Sandy flood claims (via NJ.com)

The governor has asked the federal government to revise the time limit for residents affected by Hurricane Sandy to file lawsuits regarding their flood insurance claims. Gov. Chris Christie thanked Craig Fugate, the administrator of the Federal Emergency…

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Posted: January 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, FEMA, Hurricane Sandy, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Menendez to urge Congress to delay increases in flood insurance premiums

Menendez to urge Congress to delay increases in flood insurance premiums (via NJ.com)

BRICK — Though Peggy Molloy’s home in Point Pleasant Borough did not sustain water damage during Hurricane Sandy, she said a looming increase in flood insurance rates may force her to walk away. The 56-year-old resident said she faces paying premiums…

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Posted: January 2nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Bob Menendez, FEMA, Flood Maps, Flooding | Tags: , , , | No Comments »