this is really putting myself out there, gives away any anonymity I might have had in here. and put me at risk for very real legal repercussions.
FIRST I WOULD LIKE TO SAY
In 2008, I was the Operations Director for the NFIP () program of FEMA. Ever since then I have watched in Horror hurricane after hurricane and dreaded each and every news story, knowing that FEMA and the NFIP are such a mess that the people, the VERY REAL HUMAN BEINGS, that have been devastated by a natural disaster, now have to deal with what I considered to be the absolute worst and poorly managed agency I had worked with in my career as a defense contractor in DC. (I Have worked with over 20 agencies in my career, including the IRS.)
While at NFIP, I was responsible for the resolution of long disputed cases, and all 'Write IN" disputes over payments made to Flood Insurance Policy Holders. (both business and personal). There was a back log of over 500 dispute letters when I arrived, and a entire entourage of NFIP Senior Management Personnel blocking their resolution. These dispute letters stretched back to Katrina, no shit. So they were 4 and 5 year old claims.
People were still in FEMA trailers. THEY HAD NO HOMES.
Instead of working toward resolution for these people, I found:
The team working on these letters for resolution, were sub contractors from a corporation I was a very senior member of for over 10 years. They had just been moved to the new company on contract renewal, this company had won the bid from my Alma Mater. Read that as no loyalty to the new company, anger and resentment over being "sold' by my Alma Mater. During transition from the third largest GLOBAL IT Outsourcer (GIO) in the world to a very SMALL IT Outsourcer (SIO) that is so small it has no Global ranking, this team of the SAME PEOPLE, intentionally did not resolve these disputes to "spite" the GLOBAL IT Outsourcer (GIO), and screw the SMALL IT Outsourcer (SIO). The team had hoped that FEMA would hire them all, instead of just absorbing the old (GIO) Management team. (there is a problem with that in and of it's self. Read FAR Clauses for employment waiting periods)
Now do you see any concerns for the taxpayer who is out of their home, HELL NO. what do you hear? concerns about themselves, Not your money, not your well being, THE ONLY CONCERN I EVER HEARD FROM A NFIP EMPLOYEE, WAS FOR THEIR OWN "POLITICAL CAPITAL". UGH.........
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR CLAIM:
IF A DISASTER IS DECLARED REGISTER EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT INSURED, OR IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE NO CLAIM,, REGISTER.. IF YOU DO NOT FEMA WILL IGNORE YOU, AND NO ONE CAN HELP YOU.
THE ADJUSTERS: 100% dedicated to NOT paying you. No matter what you are promised by the advance team, the adjusters job is to minimize what they payout. why? (this one shocked me) SO THEY CAN GET A RAISE THEMSELVES!!!!!! They are ALL subcontractors, no one, not one of them works for FEMA. They are rated, (reviewed for rate Increases) based on possible dollar payout vs actual pay out. Less paid out, better the rate increase. IF THEY PAY YOU THEY CAN NOT PAY THEMSELVES. See a conflict here?
SOLUTION: Get an independent appraiser, write a letter disputing the adjuster, include your own estimate. When your FEMA adjuster appears, it would be in your best interest to have the independent appraisal in your hand.
THE ADVANCE TEAM: did not work for me, so I have nothing to add on this part of the process. Except to say, they too are sub contractors. Who are measured by the number of people who register for assistance. ASK THIS TEAM FOR REFERRALS FOR EVERYTHING, THEY HAVE BUT DO NOT ALWAYS OFFER, OTHER FEMA PERSONNEL WHO MANAGE SEPARATE FACTIONS OF THE RECOVERY MONEY.
FEMA FLOOD MANUAL: GET IT READ IT, I can not stress this enough. The more you know the better off you are.
YOUR ELECTED SENATOR AND CONGRESSPERSON: EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING YOU DO, COPY THEM. You will need them they and only they can help you so keeping them informed from the beginning is your only hope to ending a dispute.
WRITE LETTERS:At every step document what you have done by, writing a letter, copy your elected Official, letters and elected Officials get first priority.
I lost this job because I had a terrible argument with one of David Maurstads' pet employees. I vehemently disagreed with the withholding of Katrina and Ike victims money over the syntax of a sentence. He, Backed by Maurstad, refused to pay the claims because he did not like a sentence that he felt was missing a comma. (His grammar was incorrect by the way, no comma was needed.)
I found this ludicrousness, to leave families in tiny campers over a comma. It sickened me, I attempted to pay out the claims. Maurstad backed his employee, and released me.