Superstorm Sandy © Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen - Wikipedia
Superstorm Sandy © Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen - Wikipedia

Case Study

Superstorm Sandy

United States East Coast

In October of 2012, Superstorm Sandy dominated the headlines. This unprecedented storm began as most do, as a Tropical Strom off the coast of the Caribbean. It quickly escalated to a Category 3 Hurricane, as it ravaged the people of Jamaica, Cuba and the Bahamas, causing over $400 Million dollars in damages prior to slamming into the East Coast of the United States, changing history forever.

Although the storm weakened losing Hurricane status prior to making land fall in New Jersey, the timing could not have been worse. The sheer size of the storm, along with record high tides that were expected on the Outer-Banks of North Carolina, New Jersey and New York only aided this storm in its destructive path.

Water levels rose rapidly and areas that had never seen flooding, were now engulfed by water. Battery Park, the southern most point of Manhattan, had reports the water level rose nearly 14 feet. This not only caused substantial structural damages to buildings, but also destroyed a large section of NYC’s subway system, the lifeline of the city.

Breezy Point, NY was hit twice. First by the floodwaters, then by a devastating 6 alarm fire. With the streets impassable by floodwaters, local firefighters were unable to gain access to the initial fire, which then quickly spread causing over 130 homes to be completely destroyed.

Power Outages were wide spread, from North Carolina to Maine. Some areas were without power for weeks. Neighbors found themselves dependent on neighbors lucky enough to have generators. However, keeping those generators filled began to be an issue, as a large number of Gas Stations were without power themselves. Gas stations that did have power or back-up generators found their supply quickly exhausted, causing Gas Lines evoking memories of the Oil Crisis in the 1970’s.

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, NFA dispatched its Large Loss and Catastrophe Unit to assist those affected by this horrific event. In addition to the large number of residential claims NFA’s was retained to handle, NFA was retained on a number of Commercial losses including Chelsea Piers and Atalanta Corporation.

NFA’s President, Ronald J. Papa was asked to testify on behalf of policyholders, at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners held in Washington, D.C. where he provided members of the Committee, along with members of Congress, insight into the claims practices and more specifically the mishandling of Sandy flood claims. After receiving enormous pressure, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) agreed to re-open thousands of Sandy Flood claims, allowing home and businesses another “bite at the apple.”