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Congress Approves $9.7 Billion in Insurance Funding to Aid Sandy Victims

The U.S. House of Representatives approved an initial round of funding for the National Flood Insurance Program. Another $50 billion could come Jan. 15.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a measure late Friday afternoon allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to borrow $9.7 billion to pay insurance claims made by victims of Hurricane Sandy.

The bill, HR 41, temporarily increases the borrowing authority of FEMA to allow the agency to carry out payment claims made by property owners to the National Flood Insurance Program. 

Congress moved to approve the funding stop-gap Friday after concerns were raised that aid for Sandy victims had been delayed too long. The House, specifically, Majority Speaker John Boehner, R-OH, came under fire for tabling a Sandy aid package until after the New Year.  

Congress is expected to vote on two additional bills authorizing more than $50 billion in Sandy aid on Jan. 15. 

The insurance aid bill was introduced by Rep. Scott Garrett, R-5, along with 19 co-sponsors, all of them Representatives from either New Jersey or New York.

According to Bloomberg, the measure passed 354-67. The 67 who voted against the bill are all Republicans. 

Rep. Chris Smith, R-4, one of the bill's co-sponsors, took to the floor of Congress Friday to urge his fellow Representatives to support the legislation. 

"The devastation unleashed by Sandy is without precedent and the impacted communities are in dire need of comprehensive assistance," he said. "Nowhere is this more evident than in the sheer magnitude of the housing damage and the subsequent housing need."

According to Gov. Christie, New Jersey suffered more than $37 billion in property damage following Sandy. According to Christie's office, Smith said, Sandy damaged or destroyed 346,000 housing unites throughout the state, of which more than 72,000 were covered by the NFIP. 

Smith said only 18 percent of those who have filed claims have received money thus far. 

Local Congressional leaders, both Republican and Democrats alike, joined Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in voicing their displeasure over the delay in aid for Sandy victims. Christie in particular had harsh words for Congress, saying Sandy victims had been played like pawns in a political game and that the delay in voting on the funding package was the result of toxic politics within the Republican party.

Rick January 08, 2013 at 07:57 PM
Thank you Ms ralebird for correcting my punctuation. I will try to keep that in mind in the future.
Rick January 08, 2013 at 09:31 PM
Most people who have a mortgage pay their insurance and taxes through their mortgage payments. If fact, many mortgage companies/banks require that to insure that their investment is covered.
Rick January 08, 2013 at 09:50 PM
By the way Ms ralebird, I think you meant "but no doubt fit right INTO the AA mindset." But then, I would have to ask if that would include members of Congress and other prominent Americans who are recovering alcoholics.
Mister Mike January 09, 2013 at 01:15 AM
@Rick. Your 2nd source calearly sates in past, "Like other types of insurance, flood insurance is purchased directly from an agent. In order to offer this type of coverage, the agency must be an active member of the NFIP. So, Given the Allstate sort you provided, Active is a member of the Nation Flood Insurance Program. Your own references support that there are no private insurance companies. Companies that offer flood themselves, using their own money to pay out claims, etc. They are members of the NFIP and administering the policies and adjusting the claims, but it's NFIP money, through FEMA (and then actually the Homeland Security Department), that provide the money to pay out claims. I don't know who here has a flood insurance policy, I do. Therefore, I can tell you that when my company sends out my new anual endorsement page to attach to my policy, FEMA documents are included with it. One is an easy to read short booklet called: National Flood Insurance Program Flood Insurance Claim Handbook FEMA F-687 / (insert date here of new edition if applicable from the prior year) While not the specific subject of comments here, but so in comments on other related Patch articles about Sandy, the handbook on page 2 under a section called "What To Do Before A Flood" clearly states, "Move any valuable items out of your basement. Flood insurance only covers items normally found in a basement, such as a furnace or washer and dryer. Personal items are not covered."
Skitch January 10, 2013 at 12:45 AM
@Rick. You are incorrect. Flood policies are thru the NFIP. The private insurance carriers are servicing carriers only. They collect the premium, issue the policy, service the claims and are reimbursed by the feds for their services. The adjusters handling the flood claims are required to be certified by the NFIP. So even the carrier who wrote your policy usually do not handle your claims. They only assign the claim to an independent adjusting firm who has certified flood adjusters. Usually those independents do flood claims exclusively.

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