The head of Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) flood insurance program acknowledged he has seen evidence of fraudulent engineering reports that may have been used to deny flood claims by Superstorm Sandy victims, according to CBS’s “60 Minutes” program that aired Sunday.
“I’m not gonna sit here and conceal the fact that it happened. ‘Cause in the last three weeks, I’ve seen evidence of it,” said Brad Kieserman, FEMA’s deputy associate administrator for insurance.
Kieserman said he has referred to the inspector general the evidence he’s seen of fraudulent reports and what could be criminal activity by using unlicensed engineers.
When asked when did FEMA learn that there may be a problem, that fraudulent reports may have been used to deny claims, Kieserman said based on what he’s seen, “there were signals in late 2013, early 2014, that there were problems that the Sandy survivors were experiencing with engineering, with the claims process, with appeals.”
Kieserman said that as far as he knows, no one at FEMA has ever said to the insurance companies or to the engineering companies to “keep the claims down.”
But “60 Minutes” says lawyers paid for by FEMA have gone after Sandy survivors in court, accusing them of fraud.
Kieserman said last month FEMA is working to settle lawsuits by hundreds of Sandy victims who challenged denials or alleged underpayments of flood insurance claims.
Private insurers participating in FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program have come under scrutiny in recent months over allegations they denied or rejected damage claims based on allegedly falsified reports. About 1,500 cases over flood claims from Sandy are pending in New York and New Jersey courts.