Insurance companies are reporting that the vast majority of insurance claims stemming from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy have been settled. Unfortunately, a significant number of homeowners do not feel that they have been justly compensated.
What Has Been Done
On October 29, 2012, Superstorm Sandy made landfall near the Atlantic City area of New Jersey. The storm caused deaths and property damage across a wide area of the Eastern seaboard, but especially impacted the states of New York and New Jersey. After the initial devastation and flooding, homeowners began returning to their houses, surveying the damage, and contacting their insurance companies. The insurers sent armies of adjustors to assess the damage and determine appropriate payments. A late April report from the Insurance Information Institute states that these insurance companies have now settled 93 percent of the claims for damage from the storm. It is estimated that insurers will pay out 18.8 billion dollars to their policyholders. This amount will rank Sandy as the third-most expensive storm in U.S. history, surpassed only by Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Andrew. The payout includes nearly 1.1 million homeowners, 200,000 business owners, and a quarter million vehicle owners.
Despite these enormous payouts, some individual policyholders are arguing that damage to their homes was grossly underestimated and that payments were not nearly adequate for the necessary repairs. Although some of these claims are unsubstantiated or stem from a misunderstanding of their insurance coverage, many homeowners seem to have a valid argument. One homeowner received a check for $201.90 to pay for repairs to her home. This amount did not even come close to covering the damages. Just making the recommended repairs to the roof cost her $500, and other needed repairs set her back even more. She, along with other homeowners, has hired a lawyer to combat her insurance company.
Homeowners facing this situation should seek legal counsel immediately. Retaining a lawyer does not mean that a case will automatically go to court, but legal advice can provide important protection. For instance, in some cases simply cashing the check sent from the insurance company can signify legal agreement with the amount of compensation the insurer has provided. This agreement can forestall the homeowner from bringing any legal action against the insurance provider.
If you believe that your insurance claim was underpaid, whether from Superstorm Sandy or any other incident, it is in your best interest to secure legal representation. Contact the office of Witkon Law today for a free consultation.