Current FEMA Program Does Not Cover Homes Damaged By Earth Movement

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a program that will fully compensate homeowners who were affected by Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, and Superstorm Sandy on Saturday.

The Housing Recovery Program would fully compensate owners based on damage to their homes due to earth movement, the governor announced.

The current FEMA flood insurance program, the National Flood Insurance Program or NFIP, does not cover repair costs for homes damaged by earth movement even if it is the result of a flood, however it does cover damage done directly by flood waters.

This gap in coverage has left hundreds of homeowners with no place to live and no resources to rebuild with, the governor explained.

“While we have made much progress in recovering from Irene, Lee and Sandy, many New Yorkers are still left without a place to call home and limited resources to rebuild due to National Flood Insurance Program regulations, which state that homes damaged by ‘earth movement’ are not covered. Yet it simply does not make sense that some New Yorkers who were just as hard hit by the same storms as others cannot be compensated for their losses,” Governor Cuomo said.

Some New Yorkers had purchased flood insurance, but were caught off guard by the regulation.

“Many New Yorkers were hopeful that they would be covered since they had purchased flood insurance,” said Director of the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, Seth Diamond. “However, they were unaware of this NFIP rule regarding earth movements. As a result, these homeowners did not receive the assistance they were seeking.”

The state announced plans to conduct outreach to homeowners to spread awareness of the new program and aid in the application process.

The Office of Storm Recovery, created in 2013, will also be working with communities to determine if resiliency measures  could be put in place to limit the affect of earth movement.

On Tuesday new maps released by FEMA will put many New York area residents in zones that require flood insurance.

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