Charles Lane

Senior reporter for Long Island

Charles is a radio reporter, story teller, Excel ninja, database grasshopper, and loves to FOIL records. He's worked for NPR, Deutche Welle, Radio Netherlands, Soundprint, Penthouse, the Religion News Service, and the Catholic World Report.  He's won three SPJ Public Service Awards, a National Murrow, and was a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists.  He once did 3Gs in a stunt plane, ran the Tough Mudder, and dove 40 meters on a single breath.  Charles is extraordinarily friendly so don't hesitate to contact.

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Commerzbank fined
3:23 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

NY Moves To Be A 'Laboratory' Of Financial Regulation

Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services.
Credit AP Photo/Mike Groll

New York's top bank regulator wants to lead the federal government in aggressively cracking down on errant corporations.

Last week the New York Department of Financial Services fined the German Commerzbank $1.4 billion last week, while also requiring the company fire several employees.

"We think New York state can become a real laboratory of democracy when it comes to financial regulation," Ben Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services, said last week before University of Albany business students.

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Superstorm Sandy
6:29 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

Lawsuit: Insurance Company Didn't Pay Sales Tax On Superstorm Sandy Claims

A boat lies toppled between two flooded houses in Lindenhurst, N.Y., in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012.
Credit AP Photo/Jason DeCrow

Lawyers for Superstorm Sandy victims filed another class-action lawsuit Friday against an insurance company, alleging adjusters miscalculated sales tax and then tried to hide their mistake.

Dozens of insurance companies are already accused of shortchanging Sandy Victims out of billions of dollars through the National Flood Insurance Program.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) runs the program, which allows people to buy flood insurance from the federal government. FEMA contracts private insurance companies to process claims and payouts.

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Superstorm Sandy
8:23 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Feds Prepared To Reopen All Superstorm Sandy Insurance Claims

A worker shovels muck out of a home in Longport, N.J., after Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Federal regulators say homeowners will be able to challenge insurance payouts they believe shortchanged them.
Credit Patrick Semansky/AP

 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it is prepared to reopen all 144,000 insurance claims that resulted from Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

The move comes after months of questions over whether insurance companies contracted by the National Flood Insurance Program fraudulently altered engineering reports.

After thousands of homeowners said their insurance claims were systematically lowballed, FEMA began negotiations in an attempt to regain the trust of policy holders.

No agreement has yet been signed.

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Superstorm Sandy
12:26 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

FEMA Increases Oversight Over Flood Insurers

Cars lifted by floodwater are mired in several feet of sand in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, in Long Beach, N.Y. Lawyers representing about 1,800 homeowners are trying to prove that some engineering firms hired to inspect the damage issued bogus reports that led reduced insurance payouts.
Credit AP Photo/Jason DeCrow

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said Monday it's boosting its oversight of the private insurance companies contracted by the National Flood Insurance Program.

FEMA manages the flood program, which allows people to buy flood insurance from the federal government. The agency hires private insurance companies to process claims and payouts in the flood program.  The insurance companies hire engineering firms to survey damage, and adjusting firms to calculate how much it will cost to repair the damage. 

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FEMA to help those who didn't sue
12:35 am
Thu March 5, 2015

FEMA Will Reopen Up To 15,000 Sandy Claims

Robert Connolly, left, embraces his wife Laura as they survey the remains of the home owned by her parents that burned to the ground in the Breezy Point section of New York, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. More than 50 homes were destroyed in the fire which swept through the oceanfront community during superstorm Sandy. At right is their son, Kyle.
Credit AP /Mark Lennihan

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said Wednesday it will reopen as many as 15,000 insurance claims related to Superstorm Sandy. The announcement comes after two weeks of negotiations with homeowners who say fraudulent engineering reports shortchanged them out of tens of thousands of dollars.

It was happenstance that a handful of homeowners discovered the damage estimates to their homes were based on forged engineering reports. During litigation, lawyers said they uncovered thousands more questionable reports.

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