Broad Channel, Queens – As victims of Sandy begin to receive responses to their requests for review of their flood insurance claims, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D – Broad Channel) is calling on homeowners to remain vigilant in securing personal information. The Assemblyman’s awareness campaign coincides with an uptick in unsolicited calls to homeowners relating to tax season, as well as lingering memories of the fraudulent activities in the weeks and months after Sandy that spurred the reopening of flood claims last year.
“After everything our families have gone through during Sandy, it’s shameful that there are people that will still try to take advantage of victims,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. “As policyholders begin to hear back on their claims, I urge families to remain vigilant in protecting their personal information and ensuring the identity of adjusters that may reach out to them. We’ve been through so much in the last three and a half years and the last thing we need is to see families victimized all over again.”
According to Assemblyman Goldfeder, families have contacted his office recently after receiving emails from adjusters regarding their request for review of National Flood Insurance Policy (NFIP) flood claims filed last year. In one such email from the organization NFIP iService, adjusters use language such as “significant payout recommendation” and request personal information including date of birth, city and state of birth, and flood policy numbers.
In response to these concerns, Goldfeder contacted the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which oversees the NFIP, to confirm the company’s identity. FEMA officials confirmed the identity of NFIP iService, explaining that FEMA has contracted the company as a third party to oversee the claims review process. FEMA has offered to work with Assemblyman Goldfeder’s office in verifying the identity of individual adjusters that may contact homeowners in regard to their claims.
This isn’t the first time local families have raised concerns with potential fraud stemming from the federal government’s Sandy recovery efforts. Last summer, FEMA agreed to reopen thousands of NFIP flood claims after reports of fraud on the part of flood insurance adjusters. As of March 3rd, 3,690 claims have been closed within the Sandy Claims Review process, resulting in payments of more than $25 million to some 1,700 policyholders.
Flood Insurance affordability and protection against fraud have been signature issues for Assemblyman Goldfeder. A member of the Assembly Committee on Insurance, Goldfeder introduced legislation last year to create the New York Flood Insurance Association as an alternative to the broken NFIP. Goldfeder also recently sponsored the Insurance Good Faith Act, which establishes grounds for filing civil lawsuits to recoup damages. For Goldfeder, flood insurance affordability is essential to maintaining a strong community in the years ahead.
Homeowners are encouraged to contact Assemblyman Goldfeder’s office at (718) 945-9550 or via email at GoldfederP@assembly.state.ny.us, with any concerns relating to insurance claims and FEMA appeals.
“Rising flood insurance premiums and unscrupulous behavior threaten to drown our families in debt. We must ensure that families can continue to live in the neighborhoods they know and love, and fixing this broken system is huge step in the right direction,” said Goldfeder.