U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., called on insurance companies to speed up processing of flood insurance claims so that residents can access federal disaster aid in the wake of tropical storms Irene and Lee.
Private insurance claims often must be processed before the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can provide disaster aid to homeowners.
According to preliminary data, 40 percent of flood insurance claims are still oustanding for Irene and 50 percent of claims are still pending for Lee. Schumer said his office has received numerous complaints that insurance companies are moving slowly, causing delays in federal disaster aid assistance.
"With winter bearing down and communities still reeling from Irene and Lee, the insurance companies need to get a move on and get out of the way so that FEMA aid can reach those that need it the most," he said in a press release.
"Other families in Schoharie huddle together in makeshift homes, spending the holidays with strangers and wondering if and when their insurance companies will stop the delays and pay out flood insurance money that is rightfully theirs," he wrote.