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Sunday, August 30, 2015
FEMA meeting gets heated
(Page 2 of 3)
Courtesy FEMA

Another man stepped to the microphone to complain about changing construction estimates from his flood insurance company. He said that a first estimate was later reduced by nearly 22 percent, and that others on his block were given different rates for materials and labor than he was. When he pressed the company for an explanation, his case was closed the next day. He asked the panel why his estimates had been reduced when he had heard that the rates for such work in the Long Beach area have increased since the storm.

“I can’t answer that — I don’t know,” said Diana Kidder, a hazard mitigation insurance task force leader for FEMA and NFIP. Pressed further, she said, “I can’t make up the answer for you.”

The crowd quickly grew tired of the representatives’ responses. Someone called out, “What’s the point of this?” Someone else added, “Then what are we doing here?” Panel members asked some of the questioners to give them their names, and told them they would get answers within 48 hours.

Their experiences with insurance companies appeared to have made residents hesitant to fight them. “We’re afraid of getting penalized,” said one woman who refused to give any information to the panel.

One couple said that when their neighbors and friends tried to fight back against their insurance companies, or were quoted in newspaper stories, they were unable to get in touch with agents from that point on.

The panel did provide information about FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. As the recovery process continues for residents in high-risk flood zones, they are encouraged to protect themselves from future storm damage by either elevating their homes or razing them and relocating, which FEMA can help pay for.

Through another agency program that was detailed at the forum, Increased Cost of Compliance coverage, a homeowner can receive up to $30,000 to help with mitigation if the damage was more than 50 percent of the home’s value. Residents were told they could sign up with the city’s Building Department to be considered, and the department would allocate the money accordingly.

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Sandeep

A lot of this is not even a Sandy or FEMA issue. Home ownership is expensive. Stuff Happens. Expensive Stuff Happens. My neighbors who had access to emergency cash who had 100K in damage, started projects immediately, fronted money and piece by piece submitted to insurance company for payment. Got paid and are just about done. They also did not pay inflated prices for work as they did not have the contractors in any way shape and form involved in the insurance claims.

However, the two neighbors who did this actually, owned their homes with no mortgage. Involving bank slowed whole process, Trying to get paid first before work slows process, Trying to get contractors involved in all this slows process. Finally, banks want proof of licensed contractors and permits before they release funds which slows process.

Folks who had Flood Insurance, with no mortgage and access to "rainy day" funds are wrapping up work.

Also in regards to FEMA not paying enough. Actually FEMA has an automated program that calclulates the costs, problem is it is historical data. After large natural disasters, building supplies, contractors quickly start raising prices.

I had to buy a ton of sheet rock after Sandy. One week after Sandy, I placed a large order for Sheetrock, Spackle, Tape, Mold Removal, Nails, Studs, Pipes etc. from several wholesalers in Queens with a delayed delivery. I paid up front. I got my delivery as soon as I could get the garage cleared.

Two months later Sheetrock prices went way up. Shortages, hard to get. Contractors charging more as they had to pay more. Anyhow, FEMA calculations did not account for the price rise soon to come. System cant guess at what prices will go up to only can show what prices currently are.

One without access to an emergency fund to order the stuff ASAP, or book contractors ASAP will have to pay more, the end result is FEMA/NFIP funds then wont be enough.

Also we had people who bought in the Real Estate Bubble from Spring 2003 to Spring 2008 whose mortgage sucks up their entire income who cant afford to keep an empty house, pay rent on a second place and pay to fix it up. Some folks in Long Beach are also underwater on their houses. Not salt water, but mortgage wise.

Phase two of this will be lots of folks walking away from homes in Long Beach, there are almost 300 homes in Long Beach if various stages of pre-foreclosure, foreclosure and short sales.

Phase three will be higher flood rates and folks having trouble selling as in quick fixes hardly any permits were filed and COs will be hard to get.

Long Beach wont have a normal housing market again till 2016 and if we have no floods again in Fall of 2014 and Fall of 2015

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