Brad Kieserman is a leader. He took over a National Flood Insurance mess caused by others previously overseeing the National Flood Program and changed the culture. Unfortunately, the Red Cross hired him away and the old bureaucratic guard is back in place.
Cases that settled while Kieserman was in charge months ago still have no payment. Promises made by him on behalf of those running FEMA are now ignored or changed. The culture of urgency and treating policyholders with the promise to make up for the past misdeeds seems forgotten.
In June as he was leaving, Kieserman lashed out at the old culture:
“We all have seen the signs the NFIP iceberg is melting. Still, some private sector actors involved in delivering the program are fine with the way things are and do not want to change. It is our role, now, to help everyone understand that the iceberg is actually melting and create the sense of urgency to help others see the need for change and the importance of acting immediately.”
It is amazing how quickly things revert to the status quo and how quickly confidential promises made to customers and their attorneys in the National Flood program settlement discussion are unilaterally changed by those taking over since Kieserman’s departure.
One thing is certain, Congressional oversight and more investigation of the new leaders is needed because nobody who agreed to a settlement promised in March should have to wait five months for a check. Hundreds of Superstorm Sandy litigants are in this situation. If FEMA needs more manpower, Congress should help cure that. If the “old guard” is not following the spirit and promises made by Kieserman, Congress should demand that the executive get people in charge with the leadership and integrity Kieserman displayed while in charge.