Heeding complaints, FEMA to reinspect properties

By on November 3, 2011

Inspectors from the National Flood Insurance Plan are being sent out to reinspect some Hurricane Irene-damaged properties after state leaders said the federal program was in some cases unresponsive to victims of the storm.

The inspections will begin immediately, according to a news release Wednesday.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is asking policy holders who have questions or concerns about their claims to call a toll-free flood insurance hotline: (855) 336-2002. Policy holders can expect a response from their insurance company within 72 hours.

“Helping the families, businesses and farmers who suffered damage from Hurricane Irene is critically important,” Gov. Bev Perdue said. “We appreciate our federal partners responding to our requests and the needs of our communities. We will continue to push for every possible bit of assistance from the federal government.”

Last Friday, Bob Etheridge, the governor’s adviser for Hurricane Irene recovery, and state Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin requested help from FEMA’s flood insurance claims program director. In a letter to FEMA, Etheridge and Goodwin asked that claims adjusters re-evaluate the initial inspections and follow up on inspections that were scheduled but not completed.

“It is important for these claims to be evaluated properly and paid as quickly as possible so that these survivors can continue to rebuild their lives,” the letter said.

Jim Sadler, director of claims for FEMA’s flood insurance program, and Denny Kuhns, FEMA’s division director of risk insurance, met Wednesday in Raleigh with Etheridge, Goodwin, Mark Edwards, assistant insurance commissioner, Mike Bolch, federal coordinating officer for FEMA, and Doug Hoell, state emergency management director.

In two months, more than 9,000 flood claims have been filed with insurance companies and more than $56 million already has been paid on claims, including $8 million in advance payments.

The re-inspections will involve only flood insurance claims, not other programs involved in the federal recovery effort.


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