Governor Cuomo Directs Flood Damage Assessment in Long Island Areas Impacted by Heavy Rain and Flash Floods
Governor establishes Disaster Assistance Service Center and outlines resources and advice for impacted families and businesses dealing with their insurance companies.
Long Island, NY - August 14, 2014 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to coordinate with local officials on flood damage assessments in Long Island following this week’s heavy rains and flash flooding. He additionally extended the hours and expanded the locations that the Department of Financial Services’ Mobile Command Center will be available to provide insurance help to residents affected by the flooding.
"Long Islanders have had more than their fair share of extreme weather, but this week’s rainfall was literally without precedent,” Governor Cuomo said. “We’re committed to doing everything we can to help in Long Island’s recovery and to ensure that those affected by the flooding that followed this record-breaking rainfall receive the help they need.”
Under Governor Cuomo’s direction, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) is coordinating with local officials to determine the extent of the damages in the hardest hit areas. Following the assessment, officials will determine what needs residents have and the programs that may be available to meet those needs.
In addition, New York State will be sponsoring a multi-agency Disaster Assistance Service Center at the Islip Town Complex, 401 Main Street, with various organizations and agencies including: American Red Cross; Office of Mental Health; Department of Health; Local Social Services; Office of Children and Family Services; Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance; and Department of Financial Services. This center is a “one-stop shop” that provides information and resources for disaster survivors.
The Center will be open beginning Friday, August 15 from noon to 7 p.m. The Center will also be open this weekend 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and next Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The hours and days of operation are subject to change.
DHSES Commissioner Jerome M. Hauer said, “The amount of rain that has been dumped on Long Island is incredible. Many of these communities have just begun to achieve a sense of normalcy after the devastating effects of Superstorm Sandy. Our recovery staff will be coordinating on damage assessments with County officials and we have contacted FEMA to update them on the situation in Long Island.”
Governor Cuomo has also announced the deployment of the DHSES Mobile Command Center (MCC) to additional sites on Long Island to continue providing insurance assistance to those affected by recent flooding. Today, the MCC had serviced more than 300 people, and will continue to be on-site until 8 p.m.
Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services, said, “There are a number steps homeowners and business owners can take to help expedite the insurance claims process. DFS will continue to work to help make sure people receive the relief to which they are entitled from their insurers.”
Department of Financial Services representatives will be available in the MCC at the following locations:
- Friday, August 15 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Brookhaven Township: Brookhaven Town Hall South Parking Lot, One Independence Hill, Farmingville
- Saturday, August 16 and Sunday, August 17 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Babylon Township: Babylon Town Hall Parking Lot, 200 East Sunrise Highway, Lindenhurst
People in need of assistance who are unable to visit the Mobile Command Center can call the Department's Disaster Hotline at 1-800-339-1759 for help with insurance-related issues. The DFS is extending the operating hours for the hotline this week, today and Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Most flooding issues on State highways have been cleared and all roads are open. The closure of the two right lanes on Ocean Parkway at the Town of Oyster Bay Beach will continue as crews work to repair damage caused when floodwaters undermined the road. Additionally, the right northbound lane of the Meadowbrook State Parkway at False Channel remains closed as crews work to repair road damage there.
Resources for Impacted Families and Businesses 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.
Make Only 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 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 to homes and structures 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 information 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.
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/fileacomplaint.htm.
Pictured: Flooding in Bay Shore on August 13th, 2014. Picture courtesy of Amanda Bernocco.