Hurricane Sandy Update: The Aftermath Sharks Are Still Swimming Amongst Us

I had a chance to discuss some of the underlying problems left in the wake of Sandy with legal professional Evan Wolfe. Wolfe got his start in the music industry representing musicians and producers and actually met his wife while battling TK Records mogul Henry Stone.

If you think that’s a bit odd, think about the guy he went up against and what he’s known for. Stone was responsible for spearheading acts such as KC And The Sunshine Band and he eventually joined another famous name to form Sunnyview Records. That individual was the infamous Morris Levy, the man who owned Roulette Records. The last single to be released on Stone’s TK label was “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “Another One Rides The Bus.” When Morris Levy was forced to leave the country in 1986, Stone—who is still active in the business at 93—formed Hot Productions with Paul Klein and continued to re-release the TK catalog on CD until its acquisition by Rhino Records.

So Evan Wolfe is no shrinking violet. He knows about music, the law and as a musician himself, he knows the hard knocks of trying to make it big in an industry full of seasoned sharks.

But before I go any further down the rabbit hole, I’ll explain what this has to do with Sandy.

Wolfe, still a musician, switched legal careers around 20 years ago and went into the representation of homeowners and businesses for storm damage insurance claims. Evan has helped people in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Colorado, Arizona and several other states. He joined Shamy, Shipers & Lonski, P.C. (Belmar and New Brunswick) in order to help victims of Superstorm Sandy. What he tells me he has seen in New Jersey is much worse than anything he has seen anywhere else in the country, and I believe him.

The theme I keep hearing in my stories from New Jersey victims is one of dishonest, loophole-seeking insurance companies and adjusters that seem to be more concerned with protecting insurance companies than serving victim needs.

Wolfe says of that, “Most victims don’t know that if they do not take legal action within one year from the date of the storm, the insurance companies can walk away without paying a dime.”

When I ask for an explanation about that seemingly insane positioning, he went on to say, “First, there are very few qualified public adjusters in New Jersey that know how to assist the property owner on their claim. Unlike insurance company adjusters, these men and women work for the insurers, not the insurance company. Second, I have never seen a market where the adjusters for the insurance company were so lazy, sloppy and incompetent. They are ignoring storm victims and not properly addressing their claims.”

So of course I had to go further and find out what is supposed to happen and how we can arm ourselves with the knowledge to get back on track.

Wolfe emphatically states, “In New Jersey, there is a one year statute of limitations in most insurance policies. That means that if a storm victim does not file a lawsuit by October 29, 2013 [in about four months], they will not be able to continue their claim. If a person is still negotiating and is unhappy with their settlement, the adjuster working for the insurance company can continue delaying the claims process and even if the insured thinks more money is coming, on October 30 of this year, the adjuster can simply say, ‘Well, since you didn’t file suit, you get nothing.’

“In most other states, the legislature has extended the statute of limitations to several years because they understand that it can take more than a year to fully adjust a claim. New Jersey, which has not entered the 21st century on this issue, has done nothing to increase the time limit to file suit. Remember, if a lawsuit is not filed by October 29, the claim is OVER.”

Evan has stated more than once his concern for New Jersey residents looking to get help for settling these issues. To demonstrate his willingness to help, he has told me that he will give free consultation to any of our readers looking to understand the issues and get help getting things settled before the deadline of October 29. This is not a commercial or an endorsement for a certain company, but after speaking with him, I do think it’s a smart and logical course of action for anyone still scratching their head at aftermath service providers. For me, it’s all about fighting back to get the life you had before last October.

Wolfe sums up, “As I mentioned to you before, my father-in-law, at 93 years old, is still an icon in the recording industry, and as a former professional musician myself, I am extra sensitive to the needs of the music community.”

Evan Wolfe can be reached at 1-305-989-6440. Give him a call and see if he can answer your questions.