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?
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.
NEW BILL WOULD HOLD INSURERS ACCOUNTABLE TO NJ STANDARDS
Senator Jennifer Beck has introduced legislation that clarifies the Department of Banking Insurance’s jurisdiction over the processing of certain flood insurance claims. The bill specifies that though flood insurance is administered by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) the actual claims process must adhere to New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI) laws and regulations. In most cases in New Jersey, the NFIP flood insurance itself is purchased from New Jersey-based private insurance companies who participate in FEMA’s “Write Your Own” program. Additionally, those same New Jersey-based insurers are often administering the claims.
“In the wake of Sandy, we have been deluged with complaints about unresponsive and misleading flood insurance representatives” Beck explained. “While the NFIP is a federal program, I want to clarify that licensed New Jersey flood insurance companies must still comply with our consumer protection laws when processing our residents’ flood claims. This is the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance jurisdiction and they must be able to protect our residents from bad actors.”
Senate Bill 2505 extends DOBI’s current authority to investigate and punish insurers who engage in unfair methods of competition or unfair and deceptive acts. The bill applies to specifically to New Jersey licensed insurers that process flood insurance claims under FEMA’s “Write Your Own” flood insurance program.
“Thousands of NJ residents have lost their homes and belongings and rebuilding cannot be stalled by flood insurers dragging their feet on legitimate claims. Our residents are desperate to move forward with recovery efforts and time after time I am hearing that flood insurers are the obstacle,” said Beck. “This legislation gives New Jersey’s DOBI enforcement power over the flood claims process in this State. Once passed, DOBI’s Division of Insurance will enforce all New Jersey law, regulations and policies and have the legal authority to protect our residents from insurers that are non-complaint.”
After spending the last two months touring New Jersey businesses listening to what job creators need to jump start the U.S. economy, State Senator Joe Kyrillos, the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate announced a 7 point jobs plan, America Works, at a press conference in Trenton yesterday. Representatives of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) were on hand to endorse Kyrillos’s plan and his candidacy against incumbent U.S. Senator Bob Menendez.
“Americans are struggling through the weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression,” said Kyrillos. “Families that played by the rules and worked hard are not looking for a handout or another government program, but for the opportunity to use their talent, industry, and smarts to build their own future. After listening to the difficulties these job creators face first-hand, I was able to create a jobs plan that directly addresses their needs.
“We need jobs and my plan creates them by restoring fiscal responsibility, reforming the tax code, reducing unnecessary and burdensome red tape, and restoring our nation’s place as the home of innovation. It will also establish programs to build a competitive workforce and put forth solutions to our nation’s energy crisis. The prosperity of our country is in jeopardy. We cannot afford to stay the course Bob Menendez has charted for our future. The opportunity for profound economic growth is before us, and we must seize it.”