Stronger than the storm?

New Jersey’s economy should be booming with reconstruction. It isn’t.

There should be hundreds of construction workers in Highlands, Union Beach, Sea Bright and other Sandy impacted communities every day.  They are not working and don’t look to be anytime soon.

Short changed by insurance companies/the National Flood Insurance Plan. Arduous applications for aid followed by red tape, bureaucratic incompetence and rules that halt rebuilding.  Expensive and time consuming zoning approvals to rebuild what was there before.  Pleas for help are answered with finger pointing between bureaucrats at different levels of government who are getting paid for their bullshit and going home every night.

“GO, GO, GO, REBUILD, you’ll get reimbursed,” we were told after the storm. We trusted our government. They lied.

Posted: April 23rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: #STTS, FEMA, National Flood Insurance Plan, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off

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

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

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: , , , , , , , | Comments Off

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 »

Menendez to urge Congress to delay increases in flood insurance premiums

Menendez to urge Congress to delay increases in flood insurance premiums (via

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: , , , | Comments Off

Sandy Aftermath: The Purcells of Toms River were sold more flood insurance than the could ever collect. Now they’re getting lowballed

By Art Gallagher

Following up on the story of the Purcells from Toms River posted last week, my friend Ken Braswell of ShoreGrafx and I visited the Purcells at what is left of their home.

Kim and Jay were sold a flood insurance policy with a $206,000 dollar limit, well in excess of the value of the home.  A engineer they hired at their own expense (because their insurance adjuster told them it may take a year for the insurance company to send a engineer) and a contractor told them their house could not be rebuilt and must be torn down.  Their insurance company said their house can be rebuilt for $28,000.  The insurance company adjuster said he was sending the check and closing the file, regardless of what the Purcells or the public adjuster they hired had to say about it.

Since we visited Kim and Jay, the insurance company has reopened the file and is sending an engineer out to inspect the home.  Let’s hope the insurance company does the right thing.

If they don’t, we’ll have a lot more material to publicize.

Posted: February 24th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Flooding, Hurricane Sandy, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Governor Christie Outlines Regulations to Allow Residents and Businesses to Rebuild Faster, Stronger and Safer from Hurricane Sandy

Standards Will Ensure Lower Premiums In The Long Term, Protecting Residents From Out Of Control Costs

Trenton, NJ – Taking action to give New Jersey families, businesses and local governments the best available guidance to quickly and more durably rebuild from Hurricane Sandy, Governor Chris Christie today signed emergency regulations to adopt the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) updated Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFEs) maps as the rebuilding standard for the entire state. These regulations establish requirements and more efficient procedures for residents and businesses to construct, reconstruct, relocate and elevate buildings and other structures in flood hazard areas. 

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Posted: January 24th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, FEMA, Hurricane Sandy, Press Release | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off