A June 2015 report from the U.S.Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and UrbanAffairs found there did not appear to be any systematicincentives for participants in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to underpayclaims, and that overpayments were more common than underpayments.It also offered recommendations for improving the NFIP system.


Several of the experts interviewed shared specifics forimproving the process next time.



  • Understand what is covered and read the policies in full beforepurchasing.
  • If necessary, change agents now before the next majorevent.
  • As new items are purchased, take photos, write down serialnumbers and inventory them.
  • Homeowners should take photos of their homes before and afterthe damage and save them on the cloud or on a flash drive.
  • Put power of attorney, e-transfers, insurance policies andother important documents in one place so they can be easilyfound.
  • Commercial building owners working with new carriers shouldrequest a risk management review to ensure all risks arecovered.
  • Know what information needs to be included as part of a claimfile and keep good records.


  • Provide better training and continuing education for adjusters.Many did not have catastrophe experience or know how to use theestimating software programs.
  • Understand the pricing differentials for various markets.
  • Encourage adjusters to update the catastrophe pricing insoftware programs.
  • Provide checklists/guides for adjusters — e.g., specific issuesto look for following a flood so they are included in the initialestimates. Canopy Claims Management created a document based on thekey issues missing in the reopened Sandy claims.
  • Include state tax in estimates.
  • Provide the estimates and engineering reports on which coveragedecisions were based. NFIP promised to provide them to homeownersappealing their payments, but has not done so to date.
  • Put the proper information in reports.
  • Plan for supplemental claims.

There were a host of missed opportunities and mistakes followingHurricane Sandy. Many adjusters were poorly trained andill-prepared for the conditions they encountered. FEMA and the NFIPwere undermanned and underfunded to address the issues arising frommore than 140,000 insurance claims. The politicians who used theseopportunities to grandstand exacerbated an already difficultsituation. Some unethical individuals promised far more than theycould ever deliver when working with NFIP clients. Homeowners didnot read their insurance policies and were unaware of what coveragethey had. When combined, these factors created a tempest that wouldfar outlast Sandy.


Related: Claims adjuster software contributed to Hurricane Sandyunderpayments

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