UNION BEACH, N.J. (AP) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency is defending its handling of Superstorm Sandy-related flood insurance claims following sharp criticism by New Jersey’s governor.

FEMA says more than half of the more than 140,000 flood insurance claims filed in all the states hit by Sandy have been settled, with more than $3.7 billion paid out.

Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday that the national flood insurance program has “stunk.” He complained payouts have been far too slow in coming.

Christie said only 30 percent of claims in New Jersey have been settled more than three months after the disaster.

But FEMA says the latest data show just over 50 percent of all flood claims in New Jersey have been closed.

FEMA says it has reduced paperwork and allowed for partial and advance payments to speed up assistance.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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