As the one year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy passes, the New Jersey Department of banking and Insurance has released figures demonstrating insurance companies have paid out more than $4 billion in claims resulting from the storm. The Department estimates homeowners and businesses incurred nearly $4.6 billion in losses, excluding claims on flood insurance policies and surplus lines and excess insurers. As of September 15, insurers had paid out roughly 88% of that estimate.
According to the Department’s report, insurance companies had closed 98% of claims as of six weeks ago, and paid on 77% of claims submitted. More than 40% of payouts went to homeowners, while 13% has gone to personal auto insurance claims. Almost 25% of payouts went to commercial property.
Essex County received the most money, more than half a billion dollars, with more than half of that going to the Newark zip code which includes Newark Airport, the Port Newark Container Terminal, and land on the Newark Bay. Ocean County also received more than half a billion in payments. Some of the largest claims went to industrial areas, including $383,000 to Port Elizabeth’s 08348 zip code, and $310,000 to 07210 in Newark, the home of Prudential Insurance Co.
While ‘problems with insurance,’ has been residents’ most common complaint associated with rebuilding, Governor Christie has indicated the state does not intend to sue any insurance companies on behalf of resident as New York and Connecticut have done. Despite criticism, Gov. Christie defended the decision, stating New Jersey’s settlement rates have been much better than other states, and the real problem was with the National Flood Insurance Program.