National Flood Insurance claims resolution a ‘disgrace,’ Christie says

UNION BEACH – Gov. Chris Christie called the National Flood Insurance system Tuesday a disgrace when it comes to resolving claims.

While some 78 percent of property and auto insurance claims have been resolved, only 30 percent of the flood insurance claims have been resolved, Christie said during an appearance here to announce steps he is taking to speed up claims resolutions.

He said some 430,000 insurance claims have been made, of which more than 332,000 are resolved.

Christie said the national flood insurance plan “has stunk” and called on congressmen and U.S. senators representing New Jersey to take action.

“We are very unhappy the way the federal government has administered the national flood insurance program,” Christie said at the Union Beach firehouse.

Now that the Sandy relief bill has been signed, he said it’s time the money start coming in so residents can move on.

“We know they now have the money,” he said. “It’s now time for our federal representatives to get on the ball and get all over the flood insurance program …and start getting these claims paid.”

Letters will be sent today to Congress to request just that.

Among other things, he said today that Department of Banking and Insurance will issue an order requiring state regulated insurance companies to respond to the Department within five business days when a consumer files a request for assistance regarding claims related to Superstorm Sandy. Insurance companies currently have 15 business days to respond to the Department.

Further, insurance companies would be limited to one extension of five business days instead of the unlimited number of extensions they can currently request.

Regarding flood insurance claims, excessive paperwork, inadequate staffing, cumbersome, overlapping audits, and the threat of financial penalties to carriers and adjusters continue to interfere with the issuance of claims payments, extending the suffering of thousands of residents, according to the Christie administration.

National Flood Insurance claims resolution a ‘disgrace,’ Christie says