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Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Sandy victims grow weary
(Page 2 of 4)
Anthony Rifilato/Herald
Bryan Murphy, left, the founder of Sandy Help LB, with Marian Freedman in what used to be her living room.

The Freedmans are among the many Long Beach homeowners who, nearly five months after the storm, are still waiting for money from either their insurance companies or banks that they desperately need to rebuild. “We’ve been paying flood insurance all these years,” Marian said. “I pay my bills on time and they give us the run-around. I had one insurance guy do everything — he submitted the information and now we need another one. Everybody else’s homes are done. My neighbors are ready to move in. We need the money to get this thing done.”

A sluggish pace

Many residents say they continue to battle with their insurance companies and adjusters, arguing that the damage to their homes is being undervalued. Many say they are waiting for their banks to sign off on reimbursement checks.

According to FEMA, $2.95 billion in National Flood Insurance Program payments have been made to policyholders in New York. But last month, the state’s Department of Financial Services found that banks were holding more than $200 million in insurance funds due Sandy victims.

At the department’s request, representatives from five of New York’s largest banks — JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, CitiMortgage and Ocwen Loan Services — visited Long Beach’s Ice Arena two weeks ago to help residents who are seeking the release of insurance settlement funds.

“They took my information and wrote everything down. Now I have to wait to find out what’s going to happen,” Freedman said. “It was positive … they said they were going to try to help, but I can’t get specific answers.”

According to the Department of Financial Services, an insurer typically issues checks jointly, to a homeowner and his or her mortgage bank or servicer, after the settlement of a large insurance claim. That means the bank needs to endorse the check before the homeowner may access the funds. Dual endorsement is a standard requirement, and banks may also require proof that repairs have been made before they endorse checks.


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They have flood insurance so they will eventually get paid. The lesson here is that folks need to have a rainy day fund and older folks on a fixed income living in a flood zone is risky.

Other issue is they might have been better off with no flood insurance at all which is odd. Charities were doing rip out for free, FEMA/NYS Sandy would have gave them up to $41,900 and the STEP program up to 10K.

They then would have been free to hire handiman at half cost to do majority of work remaining. Also would have gone right away to Salvation Army etc for used furniture.

My neighbor had 100K worth of damage to home. He immediately hired a work crew getting estimates and keeping prices as low as possible. Paid off bill in increments and insurance company paid him at each step.

Insurance companies and banks dont like to front you money. Do the work, submit bill and get paid. If folks had a rainy day fund or access to lines of credit pre-storm stories like this would not exist.

I had the same exact damage as two of my neighbors with insurance. Both got paid 160K. I did the same exact job for 50K. Took a month off work, really shopped around and avoided expensive contractors that charged "insurance" prices. Kinda like when your car is dented their is "insurance" price and pay out of pocket price.

Next time all of us will be better prepared

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 | Report this

I understand completely because I have gone through all of this. My nerves are shot. I can't deal with FEMA or the insurance companies or anyone. Luckily, I found a tiny apartment and moved while my husband ripped out everything himself while waiting for the contractor to arrive. All our bills have skyrocketed. We lost two cars and replaced them. Now we are over our heads in bills. Any and everything has been done to keep costs low. No fancy stainless steel appliances. What I don't understand is why FEMA always tells you something different each time you call them. Others have also done the same. The red tape has been horrendous. How many times did I have to fax the same paperwork? I have nickeled and dimed everyone in order to keep everyone including the contractor happy.

Soon I will return to my Meadowmere Park home in the Lawrence, NY area. I am totally disgusted with everything and everyone. It has been a long 5 months and I am not working and that makes things worse for my family.

Once I go back to my flood-damaged home, I won't feel comfortable that another hurricane won't come again. New York, in my opinion is for those who have lots of money. That's why I am planning to get the f----k out of here as soon as I can. Most people don't have $100,000 laying around in case of an emergency like rebuilding homes. Next time we have a hurricane I will leave NY for good!!!!! All the promises made did not help in getting back to our homes again quickly. Some days after the hurricane, we were advised to go online to apply for FEMA. There was no power, yet the bills came daily and nobody could go online or charge their cell phones. There were alot of stupid comments like that all over. Pay attention-----some will stay and others will leave NY. Too many delays, lots of paperwork,dealing with selfish and stupid people, etc. Let's say I have a very bad impression on the handling of hurricane Sandy.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 | Report this
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