Volume Of Claims Delays Sandy Settlements
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|By James Osborne, The Philadelphia Inquirer|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
More than 70,000 property owners have filed claims with the National Flood Insurance Program, according to the
"I don't think the insurance industry put enough people here in the beginning," Acropolis said. "There are people who have started rebuilding, but for the most part, everyone's still waiting for those checks."
The delay in flood insurance settlements, which experts say exceeds the standard after major storms, adds to a dizzying atmosphere at the Shore. Home and business owners contemplate rebuilding as they navigate the maze of insurance company negotiations, questions over
At New Jersey Citizen Action, a consumer advocacy group, staffers are still taking 50 phone calls a week and floods of e-mails from confused, mostly lower-income homeowners seeking advice.
For more affluent flood victims, insurance adjusters who negotiate with the insurance companies are being hired at a rate never before seen, said
In the small summer haven of
"By this point, I expected to have some information about what they're going to pay," she said. "People need to get their ducks in a row."
As of Friday, the
The rebuilding underway is largely limited to relatively minor repairs such as replacing sodden drywall and repairing damaged roofing, according to the
Insurance settlements are usually agreed upon within two to three weeks of the claim after s a storm, McDowell said.
But the devastation Sandy wrought is of such a scale the system of adjusters and insurance companies and the federal government has become overwhelmed, said
"Most of the time you don't have a couple hundred thousand claims coming over the weekend. The system's not designed to deal with that," he said.
On top of that, as of
A representative for the
Since Sandy struck
At a town-hall meeting
"Ultimately, you'll end up with [the National Flood Insurance Program], but if there's any way we can help, we will," spokesman
Among local officials determined to get their communities rebuilt in time for the traditional start of the summer season on
"It shocks me that you have people who have been displaced for two months now, and they still don't know what they're going to receive," he said. "I know everyone's jammed up and it's the holidays, but once they do the evaluation, it's punching some numbers into a computer."
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