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U.S. Forensic stood by its work saying the report was changed because the original draft contained gross errors and unsupported assumptions. But after conducting hearings Brown ruled Nov. 7 that the revisions made by an engineer who had not actually visited the property were baseless. In one of those reports Weinberg had written that the entire cellar including the slab and the foundation walls of a Brooklyn home were damaged extensively by the flood. That was replaced by a conclusion that there were no structural damages observed that were caused by flooding. The final report blamed cracks in the house on regular building settlement over many years. HiRise did not respond to a request for comment. Lawyers for most of the suing homeowners said they have been getting additional documents over the past few weeks and are reviewing them but have yet to receive the bulk of the paperwork. At the urging of members of Congress FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate wrote to insurance contractors Dec. 5 saying he was deeply concerned about allegations of underpayments and disreputable engineering practices. We must do better he wrote. Fugate also expressed concern about criticism that insurance company lawyers might be on track to spend more to litigate claims than it would cost to settle them. On Dec. 2 a panel of magistrate judges said some industry lawyers were unreasonably delaying settlements and unnecessarily inflating legal costs for both sides. So far FEMA has spent $12.4 million on litigation related to Sandy flood insurance. After Sandy engineering firms working for the insurance industry relied heavily on independent subcontractors with varying levels of experience to investigate damage. The job included a close examination to look for signs that the damage was there before the flood. In dozens of reports reviewed by the AP engineers wrote that they ruled out flood damage after noticing previous repair attempts like shims placed beneath sagging support beams or layers of patching material built up over a crack. Engineering experts told the AP that it is not always easy to say for sure what caused damage. Nevertheless engineers were told not to hedge their findings or express uncertainty. It is critical that you provide conclusive and unambiguous opinions as to causation said instruction materials that HiRise provided to at least one inspector. Weakly worded conclusions using words such as appears may have likely etc. will be rejected by our clients. Several independent engineers who inspected homes in Sandy aftermath told the AP they were occasionally challenged by supervisors who felt findings were unsupported by the evidence or could have been worded differently. But those engineers said they only changed their reports if they agreed with the suggested alterations. At the end of the day it was my judgment and my opinion said Frank Sadeghi whose Island Heights New Jersey-based firm Morgan Engineering LLC inspected about 100 homes for HiRise. John Mann an engineer who inspected more than 100 homes after Sandy said many of the changes suggested for his reports were grammatical in nature. Bill Mancini an engineer who did inspections for U.S. Forensic said the company gave him a template report containing boilerplate language he was supposed to use when he drafted his conclusions. But he said he was never pressured to turn in a dishonest report by his supervisors. Some homeowners and their building contractors on the other hand pushed hard for reports that could be used to justify a bigger insurance claim he said. There is a lot of fraud Mancini said. In training materials prepared for court-appointed mediators two lead attorneys for flood insurance carriers Gerald Nielsen and Bill Treas said they believed that a very large percentage of the suits filed by policyholders involved significant issues of misrepresentation. They also said the threat of an audit would keep insurers from settling lawsuits unless homeowners could document proof of additional covered damage. There are no FEMA financial penalties for insurers found to have underpaid claims. The government picks up most of the costs of litigation. It is safer for the carrier to simply let the court rule at a trial upon the merits than to agree to a settlement not in accord with FEMA view of FEMA rules Nielsen and Treas wrote. If you look forward to living a fulfilling retirement saving money should not be your sole concern. We all know building a sufficient nest egg to provide for your second act typically requires a lifetime of struggle and sacrifice. But having enough cash in the bank is no guarantee of an idyllic retirement. With so much focus on saving the correct amount and withdrawing an appropriate sum each month other important considerations can be overlooked. Many people have focused long and hard on saving and investing to pay for their retirement days. One common shortfall when making retirement preparations is deciding what to do with your time. While a huge amount of attention and effort goes into preparing for your financial future, many people have done little to identify meaningful activities to fill the next 20 or 30 years they hope to live. Many retirees suddenly find themselves in a new world without the requirements of a job. The freedom of an empty calendar is sweet and offers the possibility of filling it with the things you have always wanted to do. What will occupy the days ahead? How will you stay engaged and excited about the future? The bank account may be taken care of but retirees soon realize there is more to an enjoyable retirement than just money.