Saturday, December 20, 2014

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NY1 For You: Unsettled Insurance Claims Still A Factor In Storm Recovery

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Many homeowners who suffered damages from Hurricane Sandy did not receive the insurance payouts they hoped for, meaning countless homes still sit damaged from the storm nearly a year after the disaster. NY1's Susan Jhun filed the following NY1 For You report.

A part of Jean Cascio's Midland Beach house still sits stripped bare from Hurricane Sandy.

"It's a year later and we're still kind of in limbo," she says.

Cascio is just one of countless homeowners who have had their Sandy insurance claims denied. NYLAG, The New York Legal Assistance Group has handled thousands of these cases. 

"There's a tremendous amount of everyone passing the buck. Homeowner's insurance passing the buck to flood insurance, flood insurance passing the buck to homeowners and FEMA saying we can't help at all until the issue of your private insurance companies are resolved," says NYLAG President Yisroel Schulman.

In Cascio's case, it was FEMA's flood insurance which denied her coverage.

"The hoops we had to jump through for insurance that we paid for, it should have been, you see the damage, here's the money, pay out the insurance and let us move on with our lives," Cascio says.

A spokesman for the New York State Department of Finance says as of July, there have been approximately 500,000 Sandy claims. NY1 asked how many have been denied and contested but he was unable to supply those numbers. He did, however, say for disputed homeowner claims DFS has a mediation program but that only affects homeowner's insurance which is regulated by state law. 
"The federal government should also launch, take a lead from our governor and should create some kind of mediation program when it comes to FEMA benefits," Schulman says.

For anyone who has not been fully compensated by their insurance companies there are programs such as the New York City "Build It Back" program which has a deadline of October 31 and The New York City Unmet Needs Roundtable, both of which have funds to help homeowners rebuild their homes. 

For more information on these programs and for assistance with Sandy-related insurance problems you can call NYLAG's Storm Response Hotline at 212-584-3365 or email

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