Friday, May 24, 2024

Kennedy, Menendez introduce bipartisan bill to stop flood insurance contractors from defrauding disaster victims

by BIZ Magazine

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) introduced the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Consultant Accountability Act of 2023 to protect homeowners who are victims of natural disasters from working with third parties that are found guilty of property damage assessment fraud.

“Far too often, fraudsters seek to take advantage of unsuspecting Louisianians who experience damage to their homes after a natural disaster strikes. FEMA should have the ability to fire all bad actors who are found guilty of defrauding homeowners. Our bill would make that a reality,” said Kennedy.

The legislation would allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to fire third parties involved in NFIP contracts that mishandle claims. Such third parties could include consultants, contractors, law firms, engineering firms and others. 

Currently, FEMA can only cut ties with individuals or entities that have a criminal conviction. 

“One of the many issues plaguing the National Flood Insurance Program is the lack of robust accountability. After Hurricane Sandy, engineering firms, consultants, and lawyers that were contracted with the NFIP tried to prevent victims from getting a fair claims check. Unfortunately, some of these contractors still work for the program. This critical legislation gives FEMA the necessary authority to swiftly terminate contracts with bad actors that have deliberately mishandled claims,” said Menendez.

Full text of the bill is available here.

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