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DENIED! Outrage after feds reject Sandy flood claims

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MANASQUAN, N.J. (PIX11) — Eight months later and many Sandy damaged homes are practically untouched since the storm because people are still waiting to get their insurance money to rebuild.

Now, PIX11 News has learned, thousands of people are being blindsided with denials even though they have foundation damage that is clearly caused by flood waters from Sandy.

And it is not their private for-profit insurance companies doing this to them. It is the federal government.

“This is a section of the foundation where it broke apart and cracked all the way down through the footings and shifted,” explained Dina Sass, a homeowner in Manasquan, N.J.

Like most homeowners who live near the water, Sass gets her flood insurance through the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program.

“When you buy into a policy that is backed by the government, you think it’s solid,” said Sass.

That is why she was shocked when her claim on the foundation damage was denied.  The reason, said the insurance program, was that the damage was directly caused by earth movement.  The denial went on to say “we do not insure loss of property caused directly by earth movement even if the movement is caused by flood.”

Sass said:  “A flood policy, hmmm, and they exclude something that is caused by a flood?  It is incredible.”

The same government program is also requiring elevation in order to insure properties in the future.

“We are required to raise our house another four feet, whole new foundation, how pay for that?  It’s an incredible amount of cost,” said Sass.

A cost that could be more than $100,000 — and it would all be out of pocket.

“It’s so wrong in every way,” said longtime public adjuster Dave Charles, who says the Sass’ house is undeniably damaged.  He adds that thousands of people like the Sass family are dealing with denials on their foundation damage from the federal government.

“Every aspect of that policy is written by Congress,” said Charles who thinks Congress made a mistake in recent years when they rewrote the policy and now it’s having unintended consequences on those slammed by Sandy.

“I can’t allow myself to believe that they are heinous enough to do this on purpose to so many people'” he said.

The federal insurance program says every homeowner can appeal a denial.

This claim denial problem may well take an act of Congress to fix.

“You’re talking about years and years from now and meanwhile I have three little kids, a sick husband and no house,” said Sass, shaking her head.

PIX 11 reached out to the National Flood Insurance Program through FEMA’s regional office in New York.

They told us they know about this concern but they are “not in a position to comment,” and said to get in touch with the D.C. office.

PIX11 hasn’t heard back from them.


  • Henry James

    Suggest we all get together, for those who have this denial. The policy reads that land movement is covered when caused by flood water that exceed the cyclical levels. Sounds like a class action

    • Carol

      With a class action, only the lawyers make out. I just hope that something is done before the 1 year limit is up. We're sitting here with a damaged foundation and a denial from insurance and FEMA because of the land movement exclusion. It's not right.

      • michele mittleman

        We formed a fb page "Sandy victims fighting FEMA" for this cause! I am in the same position & have been working w Sen. Gillibrand & Sen. Schumer for an immediate change. Please join our page which has details about our rally on 8/29 & pass the word ,please!!!

    • michele mittleman

      Please join our fb page "Sandy victims fighting FEMA". Thousands are being denied coverage & we need people to join as our Senators are finally listening & can change this administratively so that everyone need not pay an attorney. Please come to our rally on 8/29/13 at the Legislative building, 1550 Franklin Ave., Mineola at 7:00 pm& spread the word please!!

  • Gwenniecat

    Sen. Gillibrand's letter is a start, but until the denials are resolved, we cannot assume we have a solution. This is but one of many injustices fully insured Sandy victims are suffering. More action is needed. Any ideas?

    • michele mittleman

      We started a fb page "Sandy victims fighting FEMA" to fight this. Please join & attend our rally on 8/29/13 at 7:00 pm , at 1550 Franklin Ave, Mineola. We expect press coverage & need to spread the word.

  • Marjorie

    I am in the exact same position in Mantoloking. The flood is blaming on wind and wind is blaming ond flood. My structuctural engineer says tear it down it would be more cost effective. What a mess we are in! Stonger than the storm is getting to me!

  • pantynutz

    Chills went through me when I saw the same insurance company i had to deal with … SELECTIVE INSURANCE is horrible and I’ve even reached out to boarders. No one cares there and they have no idea how to do their jobs or communicate with policy holders.

  • chuck

    I have the same issue and have given it to a lawyer to fight. if people want to get together on this issue Im here and would like ot be in the loop. my home is in seaside park nj and had substantial damage. now it is 9ft in the air with work stopped because the NJ DCA will not reimburse for money spent prior to having the grant done. and on and on. now my last landlord kept half the security deposit for normal wear and tear. it never stops….

    • michele mittleman

      please join fb page "sandy victims fighting FEMA" & join our rally on 8/29 at 1550 Franklin Ave, Mineola at 7:00 pm.

  • bayvilleflooded

    This sounds way too familiar. After all of my complaints about things that were wrong with the flood company's engineer's report, they had him write a follow up. Every time he refers to my address he says I live in a town that is about a half hour away… And then they deny me saying he is the expert and they have to take his word for it.

    • David Coleman

      We live in Forked River, please call us 609-488-6389 and just talk to us about what you are going though. If we can help great if not we will let you know. Our company truly is trying to help using what we know how to do best for all of you hit by Sandy. What the insurance companies are doing is wrong we know how to fight it ! Look forward to hearing for you soon! Thank you

    • michele mittleman

      please join fb pg "sandy victims fighting FEMA" – we are trying to change this exclusion quickly, but need support .Join our page & attend our ally 8/29 at 7:)) PM, 1550 Franklin Ave.,Mineola

  • David Coleman

    Without sounding like a commercial…which I'm not trying to…please call us 609.488-6388 and talk to me about how I can help with your insurance claims. I'm not a public adjuster I'm not affiliated with anyone but my own company. I have helped a handful of shore residence receive every penny they deserve. I have 25 + years experience in construction and have been a chief estimator for over 30 years. I was here when Sandy hit have seen what my neighbors and family (my mother in ocean gate) have gone through and decided after helping all of them it was time to try and help the rest. Thanks for listening, hope I can help at least one person!

  • Kathy

    Yup same situation I have with an engineering report done by my flood Ins. co on our home in Normandy. Although I didn't have severe damage to the foundation there are many cracks that were not there before and blamed them on earth movement. We are knocking down also as to not deal with a compromised foundation. They are so shrewd….maybe we should all pursue this!

    • David Coleman

      Kathy, please call us 609-488-6389 I'm not going to pressure you into anything…its just a phone call to see if we can help you. Again we have helped many and want to help as many more as we can! I can give you references and show you real results of my work . I live at the shore, have 30 yrs experience in construction, estimating and litigation, you do not have to settle or be stressed !

    • michele mittleman

      thousands are affected ,we are organizing to fight this- pleas join our fb page "sandy victims fighting FEMA" & attend our rally 8/29 at 7:00 PM, at 1550 Franklin Ave.,Mineola.

  • David Coleman

    Kathy or anyone in this situation please call us before you give up all hope…DO NOT use your engineering report done by the insurance company! I promise we have helped many who have done the same thing using our engineer ! Call us , we are residence of the shore line and really do want to help; 609-488-6389 ask for Coleen or David we will tell you straight out if we can help or not help! We see this everyday and are fed up watching these insurance companies take advantage of all of you, tell me your story so we can get you back in your home asap!

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