When Hurricane Sandy struck the New Jersey coast and wreaked massive water damage to her home, Nancy Clark thought it would be a relatively straightforward process to file an insurance claim through the flood policy she’d paid into for years. But the abject nightmare that ensued was anything but straightforward. For Houston attorney Steve Mostyn, it was an all too familiar story.
Like many homeowners afflicted by Hurricane Sandy, Clark’s insurance claim was denied — a decision eventually affirmed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“My dilemma began on October 29, 2012 with Hurricane Sandy at the southern Jersey shore. I went the route of trusting my flood insurance carrier and the government, meaning FEMA,” Clark said. “I followed every rule in the book when filing the claims, but they were partly paid and mostly denied.”
Despite the fact that in 12 years, Clark had never filed a single claim or incurred any water damage to her property, the insurance company claimed the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy to her two-bedroom bungalow was somehow “pre-existing.” After Clark demanded that an engineer come reassess the property, the “pre-existing” excuse was swapped out for “differential movement” — a common tactic used by insurance companies to avoid paying out what they owe.
With nowhere to turn, Clark began reading about the experiences of others in similar situations. She came across an article about a case in Texas where Mostyn Law was looking into various irregularities in FEMA’s process. After deliberating, she decided to contact the firm, which decided to take on her case.
“Friends and family looked at me as if I had two heads when I told them a law firm in Texas was now handling the case,” Clark recalled. “Imagine a Jersey girl with a Texas lawyer coming out on top.”
But that’s exactly what happened. In January 2016, Clark received a call from Mostyn informing her that the case was close to being resolved. And though it took nearly three and a half years, Clark was finally made whole.
Unfortunately, Clark’s story represents just one claim among thousands. Hurricane Sandy caused an estimated $65 billion in damage. There were allegations of widespread fraud of which FEMA was aware. Mostyn Law brought these issues out and represented approximately 1,200 cases against insurance companies which were trying to avoid paying out claims.