Sandy-ravaged homeowners who got “Build It Back” funds for repairs might have to repay the money because of Draconian HUD rules — even though federal bungling is what drove many to the program in the first place. As many as 3,000 homeowners — one-third of the entire rebuilding program — could get hit with a bill for repairs that they were promised through Build It Back, city officials said. In a letter to U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, Mayor de Blasio called the federal rules “patently unfair” and pleaded with him to make changes so homeowners won’t be forced through a mountain of red tape once again. “It’s simply unacceptable and unfair to ask New Yorkers to clean up a mess they didn’t create,” the mayor said in a statement to the Daily News. In addition to making homeowners pay for repairs they were promised — after filling out mountains of paperwork — the federal rules will likely add further delays just as Build It Back had finally gained momentum. After years of delay, all Sandy homeowners have been made an offer, and thousands have gotten checks for construction. “The paperwork, the back and forth, and now this — it’s crazy,” said homeowner Bill Matheson, whose Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn, home is still uninhabitable three years after the storm. “It’s so frustrating because we can’t move forward.” The problems arise from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s recent decision to allow storm victims to reopen flood insurance claims, after allegations that some insurance reports were altered by shoddy engineers to lower payouts. Instead of relief for homeowners — who for years had been complaining their payouts were too low — the decision brought new problems. If FEMA finds homeowners are entitled to more money, under the current rules they might have to repay some funds to Build It Back, because that program is only supposed to kick in for repairs and funds after insurance is depleted. If they get new insurance funds — even though they should have gotten the funds years ago — Build It Back could have to take some of those as payment under the current rules at the Housing and Urban Development Department. HUD is the federal agency that sponsored Build It Back. Although he will likely now have to pay for an estimated $88,000 in repairs that he thought would be free, Matheson said he has no choice but to pursue the higher insurance payouts. “We need the money,” said Matheson, who is fighting to get an additional $140,000 from his insurance. That amount will cover just the rebuilding. His life savings have been depleted since the storm, and he is mulling taking out a loan now just to get by. “I am stressed. I don’t sleep a lot,” he said. “There’s always stuff going on in my mind. My wife is the same way.” He lost everything in the 2012 storm — his home, furniture and his beloved vintage car collection. “If they would have given us the proper amount of insurance upfront, we would have been back in the house a year ago,” said Matheson. The deadline for Sandy victims to ask to have their insurance case reopened by FEMA is Sept. 15. “We are dead-set on restoring trust in this program and getting policyholders every single dollar they are owed under their policies,” said a FEMA spokesman.
I'm happy to share that policyholders received mixed but overall very good appellate results this week out of Pennsylvania in the fight over business interruption insurance for Covid related losses.
An en banc majority affirmed D…https://lnkd.in/gfGWHxw3 https://lnkd.in/gJ5v3YK2
Attentive regulation of home insurance pricing is more important now than ever if we're going to expect people living in harm's way due to climate change to pay the "true" cost of their risk. It's truly a "rock and a hard place" if you have a mortgage, h…https://lnkd.in/gtnAAW5Y
Colorado wildfires are making it harder to insure homes. Could a publicly funded plan stave off an insurance crisis? https://www.denverpost.com/2022/11/27/colorado-wildfire-property-insurance-not-availble-affordable/ via @denverpost
Thank you @UPHelp Founder/ED Amy Bach for your Roadmap to Recovery Program, Roadmap to Preparedness and advocating on behalf of consumers and insured businesses across US. They do not take insurance $. To support: http://www.uphelp.org. @AsmAguiarCurry https://twitter.com/CARgovaffairs/status/1588587393707380737
With an annual fire season in CA, @CAREALTORS unlocks the complex issue of fire insurance. Amy Bach with @UPHelp and SVP & General Counsel of @IIABCal Stephen Young discuss the evolving state of fire insurance in CA on the podcast. #CALeg
🎧 Listen here: https://bit.ly/3sIZj1S
What people say about UP
“This group provided valuable information and support for those who lost their homes in the Fourmile Fire two years ago and they have worked in many other communities that have suffered property damaging disasters. I recommend them without reservation.”United Way
“We cannot thank you enough for all your support, education and assistance through our recovery from the 2017 Tubbs Fire. Without all your input I have no idea how we could have recovered. We’re not quite there yet, but getting closer! Many, many thanks.”Christopher and Urmila - 2017 Tubbs Fire Victims
“The disaster recovery resources you provided helped many individuals and families.”County of Lake, CA
“Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of your outstanding contributions to the Third Supervisorial District and the County of San Diego.”County of San Diego
“(United Policyholders) provided helpful insights into the state of the current insurance market for earthquake, fire and flood coverage, and the critical rile insurance plays in the ability of our communities recover from such catastrophic events. You brought an important and unique perspective to the hearing, that of homeowners themselves.”California State Senate
“Whenever I felt confused about any topic I first looked it up in the yellow book. Then I could go deeper based on what I read. Or I knew when to call it good.”Wildfire Survivor 2014