FEMA’s claim review process was supposed to bring hope to many who found their insurance claims caught in a litigative maze. Unfortunately, the review process has been anything but easy on policy holders.
We’ve talked a bit about the FEMA claims review process before and FEMA’s attempts to help policy holders deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. In 2015, the claims queue sat at a total of 144,000 and the hope was that the new claims review process would funnel these out.
Unfortunately, the review claims process setup by FEMA has not been very helpful since it’s inception.
Property Insurance Law Blog reports that it’s been about eight months since the review process was put into place, and that instead of helping claimants through the process of finalizing their claims, it “has become a cumbersome and protracted process.”
Ana Reis, the author of the blog post, says that clients who have reached out to her about their claims have had their hopefulness for a payout hampered by the non-responsiveness of the FEMA caseworkers. These caseworkers seem to be extremely slow in getting back to her, leaving numerous emails and voice mails unanswered, and feeding a variety of excuses to the law office.
On top of this, there is evidence that FEMA may be engaging in some foul play. Congressman Tom MacArthur believes that FEMA has been attempting to deny the insurance claims for victims of Hurricane Sandy across the board. Another FEMA whistle-blower named Jeff Coolidge claims the review process is designed so that claimants are underpaid.
Reis agrees with this conclusion pointing out the discrepancy in a number of claims by revealing some of the offers given to them. These include “…a claim of $181,270.44 for which we received an offer of $5,185.88. On another instance, we had a claim of $98,981.50, for which we received an offer of $12,154.39.” She notes that even when the claim was underpaid, there remained a number of other claims that had yet to even receive an offer.
The shoddy organization of this program should be seen as a call to action for accountability.
What do you think? Is FEMA overwhelmed or does the competency of this review process need to be questioned?