|On The WBEN Liveline
West Seneca Supervisor
|From Gov. Cuomo's Office:
At Governor Cuomo’s direction, DFS representatives are deploying to assist victims with insurance-related issues stemming from the recent flooding.
The Department’s representatives will be inside the agency's Mobile Command Center, which will be stationed at the
Winchester Community Church
909 Harlem Road, West Seneca
Jan. 22 (Wed.) and Jan. 23 (Thurs.) from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m
Impacted families and business are also urged to call the DFS Disaster hotline for assistance at 1-800-339-1759, which is available on weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
One woman said her mother had just moved to the neighborhood in recent years. "Everything she owned in two and a half years is gone. New appliances, everything, gone. How do you live in that house? How do you continue?
"My son had a playroom in the basement. All his toys, gone. Toys that were my brother's, my cousin's, handed down from generations. It's not just 'stuff.' "
Others were worried it would happen again. "We just retired, and we don't know what we're going to do," one of the speakers said. "And I'll be honest with you: I am afraid to live in my home right now.
"Flood insurance covers structure only. It does not cover contents. So we are in a serious, serious bind, because we can't get money from anywhere at this point." She said she has "maxed-out credit cards."
Homeowners are hoping for state and town assistance to compensate for property losses. Larry Baske said it all sounded good: "I heard a lot of good questions, and a lot of plus things -- that's if they get done now. Hopefully, it's not a lot of rhetoric and red tape, and things get done, and people get reimbursed for their losses."
Baske his insurance company hasn't been much help: "As far as insurance companies and that, they don't want to pay next to nothing. Yeah, we had lots of problems ... So that's why we're waiting to see if the state will kick in, or whatever, and help pay for some of the damages."
"People are continuing to have volunteers go in," said West Seneca town supervisor Sheila Meegan. "They're speaking with their insurance carriers ... the governor has made a reach and he's bringing in a mobile unit to people out with their insurance claims."
The state has deployed the Mobile Command Center of its Department of Financial Services to West Seneca. It will be stationed at Winchester Community Church today and tomorrow, with hours from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m..
Engineers blamed the flooding on an unforeseen cluster of ice jams on Buffalo Creek. It caused a lot of damage to Larry Baske's home on Lexington Green. Would he move?
"Not at this point. Everything too fast, too quick, you know? It's a nice neighborhood. We've been here a long time, 34 years, so we're waiting to see how this all plays out. "
From NYS: Resources for Victims, Advice for Dealing with Insurers
Governor Cuomo also outlined resources and advice for impacted families and businesses dealing with their insurance companies. These include steps to help ensure that their claims are processed promptly, as well as information on how to file a complaint if they cannot resolve a dispute with their insurer.
- · File Claims Promptly. Homeowners who experienced property losses are urged to file insurance claims with their insurers promptly and as soon as possible after losses occur. It is important to provide policy numbers if possible and all information relevant to the loss. To best document losses, homeowners should take photos or videos showing the extent of the losses before cleaning up damage.
- · Making Necessary Repairs. Homeowners should protect their property from further damage after a loss, but should make only necessary repairs to prevent further damage to property, like covering broken windows. Permanent repairs should not be made until after insurers have inspected losses.
- · Keep Records of Dealings with Insurance Representatives. Homeowners should cooperate fully with their insurer and keep a diary of all conversations with insurance representatives, including the representatives’ names, as well as the times and dates of all calls or visits. They should also follow up in writing with the representatives to document their understanding of any conversations they’ve had with the representatives.
- · Inventory Your Belongings. Provide your insurer with a detailed room-by-room inventory of damaged personal items and property. Include any receipts, credit card or other documents showing the items’ values.
- · Flood Damage. Homeowners are also reminded that flood damage is generally only covered by flood insurance, which is a federal program administered by FEMA. Homeowners who have flood insurance and have flood damage should make claims through that insurance. Additionally, homeowners should also read their policies carefully to make sure they understand what damage is covered and under what circumstances. For additional on flood insurance, please visit the Flood Insurance Resource Center on the DFS website at http://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumer/flood_info.htm.
- · Keep Your Receipts If You Relocate During Repairs. If you need to temporarily relocate while your home is being repaired, make sure to keep receipts and other records of your expenses during that time.
- · Filing a Complaint. Homeowners unable to resolve disputes can contact DFS to file a complaint at: http://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumer/fileacomplaint.htm.
- · Information on Homeowners Insurance. Additional information can be found at the Homeowners Resource Center on the Department of Financial Services’ website at: http://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumer/home_resources.htm.