The federal government allocated
$3.3 billion in disaster recovery to New
Jersey, with $1.1 billion earmarked for
the Rehabilitation, Reconstruction,
Elevation and Mitigation program.
The state is administering the federal
RREM funds, which are meant to fill
the gap between flood-insurance pay-outs and the actual cost of rebuilding.
But the program has frustrated homeowners with delays and red tape. While
8,501 homes are eligible for RREM
grants of up to $150,000, only 1,431
grants were paid out as of early August,
according to state figures.
Separately, the National Flood
Insurance Program—a federal plan
administered by private insurers—paid
out $8.1 billion in claims between New
York and New Jersey, with an average
payment of just $61,000. The gap between what the flood program paid and
the actual costs to homeowners is so
wide that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which oversees the
flood-insurance program, agreed under
pressure from Congress to reopen more
than 140,000 Sandy-related claims amid
charges of negligence and fraud on the
part of insurance adjusters working on
behalf of the federal government.
Private insurers, who do not cover
flood damage, paid more than $4 billion in claims related to wind and other
storm hazards, according to news and
public-policy website NJ Spotlight. In
many cases, determining the cause of the
damage—wind, flooding, fallen trees—
became a bone of contention between
homeowners and adjusters.
THOSE CAUGHT IN SANDY’S crosshairs
had scant choices. They could rebuild—
but if they had a mortgage they would
need federal flood insurance, which
requires adherence with government’s
new floodplain guidelines. Or they
could walk away.
Volante, 35, and her husband, Peter,
36, chose to walk away.
Living next to the Chingarora Creek,
Elize was accustomed to floods. She
and her family have replaced at least
six cars because the creek sometimes
spills its banks at high tide with little
warning. Until Sandy, the biggest storm
of her life was the 1992 Nor’easter.
Frank Femino, MD, Stephen Ducey, MD, Seth Queler, MD
45 Franklin Avenue, Nutley, NJ 07110 • 973-751-0111
We Take Pride In Your Care
Drs. Femino, Ducey, and Queler have been voted New Jersey Monthly Top Docs
for nine consecutive years. The doctors are fellowship trained in
orthopaedic joint replacement, sports medicine, and foot and ankle disorders.
38 East Northfield Road
Livingston, NJ 07039
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