COURT DISMISSES CLAIM SEEKING DEBRIS REMOVAL COVERAGE FOLLOWING HURRICANE SANDY

In Torre v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey ruled that Plaintiffs, holders of a National Flood Insurance Program Dwelling Form Standard Flood Insurance Policy (“SFIP”), could not recover payment for debris removal.  After filing a claim, Plaintiffs submitted a supplemental claim for $15,520 to have debris removed from their property.  The carrier issued payment in the amount of $5,179.34 for the supplemental claim, prompting Plaintiffs to file suit seeking a court order requiring the carrier to pay for the removal of debris that was deposited by Hurricane Sandy.  However, the SFIP only covers removal of debris which originated, prior to the flood, beyond the boundaries of the insured premises and ended up in or on the insured building.  As such, the court dismissed the suit and found that the insureds’ SFIP does not cover the expense of removing debris in found in the insureds’ lot or any other land located outside the perimeter walls of the covered property.