An Assembly panel has advanced a measure which facilitates fair flood insurance settlements and holds insurance companies accountable to New Jersey State laws.

A swan swims near the flooded home in Barnegat Bay (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The bill specifies that, though flood insurance is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Flood Insurance Program , the actual claims process must adhere to laws and regulations put forth by the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI).

“It is absolutely unacceptable that thousands of Monmouth County families have been without a home since Sandy struck, having received slow responses or low-ball offers from flood insurers,” says the original sponsor of the measure, State Senator Jen Beck.

She stresses this type of legislation is simply good public policy and should be treated accordingly in the Senate – without regard as to whether it’s sponsored by a republican or a democrat.

In order to become law, a measure must originate in the Assembly, win approval, and then be considered and passed by the State Senate.

The bill, which is now pending in the Senate Commerce Committee, also establishes a process for DOBI to enforce provisions of what is referred to as the “Unfair Practice Act” that outlaws unfair or unreasonably delayed settlements.