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One Year After Sandy, Some Homeowners Still Waiting On Insurance Money

Hank Bechler stands outside his condemned home. He is living in a trailer while he fights for a higher payout from his insurer. (Credit: David Madden)

Hank Bechler stands outside his condemned home. He is living in a trailer while he fights for a higher payout from his insurer. (Credit: David Madden)

David Madden David Madden
David Madden is a Philadelphia native with virtually a lifetime of...
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By David Madden

LONG BEACH ISLAND, NJ (CBS) – One year ago today, Hurricane Sandy came barreling onto Long Beach Island, bringing death and destruction to parts of central and northern New Jersey as well as New York City and sections of Connecticut.

Construction crews are still busy working on homes where owners were either lucky enough to get an insurance check or rich enough to pay on their own. Others, like George Doucette from Media, who owns a bayside home in Ship Bottom, are still waiting.

“It’s at a standstill right now. There’s too many if’s, and’s and but’s from the local people and FEMA.”

READ: Superstorm Sandy: One Year Later

His next door neighbor, Hank Bechler, is living in a trailer now. His home’s been condemned and he’s getting a runaround from his insurer. And he says no one in government will take on the insurance companies.

“This house was insured for $199,700. It’s destroyed. Why didn’t I get $199,700?”

Actually, he’s gotten nothing so far. His insurer is offering $32,000 and the adjuster he’s hired is aiming for $135,000.

A Sandy-damaged hotel, owned by Bill Hutson, was repaired in time for the summer tourism season. (Credit: David Madden)

A Sandy-damaged hotel, owned by Bill Hutson, was repaired in time for the summer tourism season. (Credit: David Madden)

But it’s a different story for Bill Hutson, who owns a motel on the southern tip of LBI, which got hammered. His insurer was in touch in a week and a half.

“They were very nice people from Oklahoma. They worked on the claim. Got us an adjustment advance within 5 days. Then paid on the claim.”

He also got a lot of volunteer help in cleaning up from people in and out of town. As a result, his motel did quite well this summer. But Bill’s story is the exception here.

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