TOMS RIVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Tuesday marks the seventh anniversary of Superstorm Sandy making landfall on the Jersey Shore, and some still can’t move back home.
They say fraud running rampant through the National Flood Insurance Program is to blame.
Chris Gaudreau’s home is the only one there that is still unlivable. A crooked contractor took the money and never finished the job.
“The house is not set right. It’s all cracked on the inside,” Gaudreau told CBSN New York’s Vanessa Murdock. “You just feel like you’re fighting a losing battle and I just can’t take it anymore.”
Douglas Quinn only moved into his rebuilt home weeks ago.
“There’s nothing can be done to give us back that last seven years, but it’s important to understand that this is still happening today. Nothing has changed,” he said.
Sandy destroyed his property, but perhaps what followed was worse.
“The first problem was having $250,000 of flood insurance and only getting paid 37 cents on the dollar,” Quinn said.
He says he was cheated by both the insurance company and FEMA.
“We found out later that they sided with the consumer 7% of the time, 93% of time they sided with insurance companies,” Quinn said. “The National Flood Insurance Program needs to be reformed.”
The NFIP expires next month.
Monday, in front of Quinn’s home and surrounded by grassroots organizations fighting to “bring the Jersey Shore home,” Sen. Bob Menendez announced his NFIP Reauthorization and Reform Act.
“We level the playing field for flood victims throughout the claims process,” Menendez said.
The plan is to revamp the entire system and go after all the bad actors.
“We hold insurance companies accountable if they lowball policy holders … We crack down on abusive practices by the flood insurance industry. We close loopholes,” Menendez said.
He says the NFIP Reauthorization and Reform Act makes affordability a priority and sets deadlines for FEMA to respond to homeowners. Also, he says it has support on both sides of the aisle.
Menendez expects to pass another short-term extension for the current NFIP. Then, he hopes to line up enough support and vote on the full reauthorization and reform bill sometime next year.