FEMA has created a new office that will serve as a consumer advocacy group
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has begun taking steps to form an independent advocacy office that may help people navigate the complexities of the National Flood Insurance Program. The agency was tasked with forming such an office by a flood insurance law that was passed earlier this year. Congress had already established a similar office, but did not provide the funding needed to operate it. As such, the new office being established by FEMA will serve as an interim agency.
Office will be responsible for providing assistance to homeowners that have flood insurance protection
The Office of Flood Insurance Advocate, as it is called, will be staffed by FEMA personnel. The primary role of the agency will be to assist homeowners that have flood insurance coverage and ensure they are treated fairly in the wake of a powerful natural disaster. FEMA has come under harsh criticism due to its handling of flood protection in the wake of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, which caused approximately $68 billion in damage.
Hurricane Sandy continues to cause problems for FEMA and its flood insurance program
Some homeowners in New York and New Jersey have reported that their flood insurance claims linked to Hurricane Sandy were unjustly rejected. Others have claimed that they are not receiving the appropriate reimbursement that their insurance policies had promised. Federal lawmakers have been relatively quick to act on the issue, forcing FEMA to make revisions to the National Flood Insurance Program and investigate whether or not claims were rejected unfairly.
New office will be accepting inquiries from consumers within the coming month
The new office is yet another step by FEMA to regain some of the trust it has lost in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Within the next month, the office will establish a phone number that will be accepting inquiries form the public. Those that have issues with their flood insurance policies are encouraged to contact the office, but FEMA also suggests working closely with insurance agents.