FEMA to Review Flood Damage Claims

Ensuring Sandy victims get fair treatment

In evaluating structural disaster, I have seen where insurance companies were presented with an adverse engineering report only to embrace a subsequent report supportive of denying full or any insurance coverage.

Many times I have seen reports that were not prepared by a New Jersey Licensed Professional Engineer. An Asbury Park Press article  cited one of my reports where I indicated that, in my opinion, the insurance company engineering report was probably not entirely written by the engineer who signed the report.  My report was submitted to my client before an independent court case in New York became public, where it was found that the insurance company modified or had an engineering firm modify the original which was less than favorable to the insurance company report.  Just recently The New York Times  reported that FEMA will now investigate all Sandy claims to determine if an engineering report had been modified.

A structural engineering friend of mine who was low on work at the time of Sandy was offered insurance company work by a national engineering firm specializing in providing disaster evaluation coverage to insurance companies.  He was flown to Louisiana for an education program and presented with a procedure to perform some cursory observations and then was to select from a set of pre-written reports having only a few places for original opinion.  When he challenged the instructor with the idea that he might have a different opinion than one of the standard reports, he was sent home without a job.

Regrettably, I have learned that even the engineering profession can have some bad apples.  It appears that insurance companies may be offered the services of such biased people to reduce the insurance company payouts.  I am happy to learn about this FEMA development and hope it will be helpful to Sandy victims who were not given fair treatment.