Menendez Warns of Predatory Groups Targeting Sandy Victims to Make a Quick Buck

Menendez Warns of Predatory Groups Targeting Sandy Victims to Make a Quick Buck


WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez today urged Sandy victims to be wary of scam-artists offering to help them navigate through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) claims review process in exchange for a substantial cut of any supplemental flood insurance payout they could get. The warning comes after several Sandy victims and disaster recovery groups notified the Senator’s office that they had received solicitations and seen advertisements, even some including unauthorized quotes from the Senator.

“The last thing Sandy victims need, after they waited so long to get this second chance to have their claims reopened by FEMA, is to have to pay money they don’t have just to get the insurance proceeds they deserve,” said Sen. Menendez. “I fought tooth and nail to get FEMA to reopen the claims process to get justice for Sandy survivors, not to pad the profits of unscrupulous individuals just looking to make a quick buck. FEMA has assured me that the process is simple, easy to navigate and designed to be completed by the homeowner without the need for outside assistance. In addition, there are several non-profit, legal service providers that are ready to offer free legal advice and answer any questions you may have.”

The Senator was alerted to ads currently running on television offering Sandy victims assistance with the FEMA claims review process for a fee. The ads prominently feature Sen. Menendez’s name and words without his endorsement.

Sen. Menendez encouraged Sandy victims who feel they were lowballed by the NFIP to contact FEMA’s Sandy Claims Review Center at (866) 337-4262 or www.fema.gov/hurricane-sandy-nfip-claims.

“You don’t need a middleman taking 30% of what you’re already entitled to and been waiting too long to receive,” Sen. Menendez said. “You have every right to have an attorney, and there are organizations that will offer free services to ensure that you get 100% of what is owed to you.”

Among the not-for-profit and charity groups offering legal services to Sandy victims at no charge are:

  • Legal Services of New Jersey Hurricane Sandy Hotline
    (888) 222-5765
  • Volunteer Lawyers for Justice
    (855) 301-2525

The Senator today also unveiled a new public service announcement encouraging Sandy survivors who feel they were underpaid on their flood insurance claim to take advantage of “a second chance to get what you deserve” by contacting FEMA to have their claim reopened.

On Monday, June 15, 2015, Sen. Menendez will host a free information session for Sandy survivors who feel they were underpaid on their flood insurance and are considering having their claims reopened for review. The event will be held at 11:30 a.m. at the Brick Civic Plaza, 270 Chambersbridge Rd., Brick, N.J., and include long-term recovery and charity groups, Sandy victims’ advocates and free legal service providers who can help answer questions about the claims review process.

The Sandy Claims Review Center is receiving an average of 400 calls and emails a day from storm victims, according to FEMA figures released last week. So far, about 70% who contact FEMA are eligible to have their claims reopened, and FEMA reports several homeowners have already passed through the review process and are being contacted for payment.

The last of the nearly 142,000 letters FEMA is sending to Sandy survivors who filed flood insurance claims is being mailed this week.

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