Menendez, Kennedy reintroduce bipartisan legislation to stop flood insurance contractors from defrauding disaster victims
Bill would give FEMA authority to better protect homeowners from fraudulent contractors
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and John Kennedy (R-La.), senior members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Thursday 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.
“One of the many issues plaguing the National Flood Insurance Program is the lack of robust accountability,” Menendez said. “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.”
“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,” Kennedy said.
The NFIP Consultant Accountability Act of 2023 would allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to terminate consultants, contractors, law firms, engineering firms and other third-parties involved in NFIP contracts if those parties deliberately mishandle claims in order to lower insurance reimbursements to homeowners following a disaster.
Currently, FEMA can only fire individuals or entities that have a criminal conviction.