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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cut the red tape!
Long Beach resident fed up with insurance company
By Alexandra Spychalsky
Kristie Arden/Herald
Photos by Kristie Arden/Herald Pennsylvania Avenue resident Sam Kinsley placed red tape on her home in a display of frustration with her flood insurance company.

More than three months after Hurricane Sandy, West End resident Sam Kinsley has reached her breaking point — and she wants the world to know it.

“[Long Beach] is a community of hard-working people,” said Kinsley. “They’re not looking for bailouts like the government gave to Wall Street and the banks. They’re just looking for a return on their money that they paid in premiums.”

After months of getting the “run-around” from her insurance company, Kinsley decided to wrap her Pennsylvania Avenue home in red tape, symbolizing the bureaucratic delays that she says are preventing her from receiving insurance money for her storm-ravaged house.

“Before the storm was even over, [President Obama] went on television and said, ‘We’re going to do everything we can to make sure there is no red tape and cut through the bureaucracy,’” Kinsley said. “Over 100 days later and that’s far from the case.”

Kinsley’s frustration is shared by many others in Long Beach. In what has become a common theme in the months following the hurricane, residents have expressed frustration with their insurance companies.

On Monday, Sen. Charles Schumer held a press conference in Lindenhurst, calling on the Federal Emergency Management Agency to immediately expedite the processing of Sandy-related flood insurance claims through the National Flood Insurance Program — which is administered by FEMA. Schumer said that 100 days after the storm, only 52 percent of New Yorkers’ flood claims have been fully processed.

“New Yorkers have been paying their flood insurance premiums for years and years, and they deserve far better service than they’re getting from the companies that are so well compensated to implement our flood insurance program,” Schumer said in a statement. “Families who saw their homes flooded and their possessions washed away need these payouts to rebuild.”

Kinsley’s home was flooded with four feet of water during the storm, she said, adding that city building inspectors told her that 77 percent of the house was damaged.

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