After Sandy victims complain, FEMA tweaks flood program

NEW YORK, N.Y. – After learning some hard lessons from Superstorm Sandy, the Federal Emergency Management Agency says it’s reforming the way it handles appeals from disgruntled policyholders in the National Flood Insurance Program.

The 2012 storm killed people in several states but hit New Jersey and New York the hardest. Thousands of homeowners complained they were shortchanged by the companies that process flood insurance claims for the federal government. Many wound up waging protracted legal battles to get the money needed to repair their flooded homes.

FEMA announced Monday it’s overhauling its claims appeals process so homeowners can deal directly with FEMA officials rather than having to go through the insurance companies they’re fighting for repair dollars.

The agency says it also will start scrutinizing how much the insurance companies spend fighting customers in court.