Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today deployed the Department of Financial Services (DFS) Mobile Command Center to Branchport in Yates County to help Finger Lakes area homeowners and businesses affected by flooding. The Governor also outlined resources and advice for flood victims who are dealing with their insurance companies to help them get the relief to which they are entitled as quickly as possible, including the availability of a DFS Disaster Hotline at 1-800-339-1759.
"Communities in Yates County and throughout the surrounding region recently experienced some of the worst flooding in decades, and the State is doing everything possible to help homeowners and businesses recover and rebuild, Governor Cuomo said. Last week the State announced funding and assistance available to help home and small business owners get back on their feet. For further support, the State is deploying the DFS Mobile Command Center to Branchport to offer help and advice to flood victims dealing with insurance-related issues so that they can start the process of rebuilding their homes and lives."
Lieutenant Governor Robert J. Duffy said, The damage that these floods have done in Yates County has been devastating, with entire communities pitching in and helping one another begin to sort through the damage. Over the last few weeks I have been to Yates County a number of times, and this much needed assistance will be instrumental as residents work to build back better and stronger. I encourage anyone seeking help or advice to utilize these trained professionals to start the road to recovery.
Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services, said, Rebuilding after a flood can be a daunting experience. We will do everything we can to help affected homeowners and business owners recover as quickly as possible. There are important steps people can take to speed up insurance claims and we are available to help people understand how they can get relief.
Last Friday, Lieutenant Governor Duffy announced the new Yates County Disaster Assistance Recovery Program, created in response to the enormous May rainstorms. Under the program, homeowners and renters who are flood victims may apply for up to $10,000 in disaster assistance. Small businesses are eligible for up to $25,000 in recovery funds. The DFS Mobile Command Center will have applications available or eligible victims can find an application and additional information at http://www.nyshcr.org/programs/nys-flood/. Applications for recovery assistance must be postmarked by June 6.
Darryl C. Towns, Commissioner/CEO of New York State Homes & Community Renewal, said, Applications are being processed as we speak, and homeowners, renters and businesses can expect that they will be seeing checks in their mailboxes this week. The Governor has charged state agencies to get help to Yates County flood victims and provide immediate assistance for recovery. We are working closely with DFS and DHSES to provide desperately needed aid to those who are struggling to recover from the damage of the severe May storms in Penn Yan.
Mobile Command Center Deployment and DFS Disaster Hotline
At Governor Cuomos direction, DFS representatives will be available in the agency's Mobile Command Center from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday, May 29, at the Branchport Free Library, located at: 3699 NY 54A, Branchport, New York, 14418.
In addition, those affected by flooding may also get help by calling the DFS Disaster hotline, 1-800-339-1759, which is staffed on weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Resources for Victims, Advice for Dealing with Insurers
Other resources and advice for impacted families and businesses include steps to help ensure that claims are processed promptly, as well as information on how to file a complaint if policyholders cannot resolve disputes with insurers.
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 repairs necessary 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 insurers 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 representatives to document their understanding of any conversations they have had with the representatives.
Inventory Your Belongings -- Provide your insurer with a detailed room-by-room inventory of damaged personal items and property. Include receipts, such as credit card statements or other documents showing the items values.
Flood Damage -- Homeowners are reminded that flood damage is generally only covered by flood insurance, which is a federal program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (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 Complaints -- Homeowners unable to resolve disputes with their insurers may contact DFS to file a complaint at the following website location, http://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumer/fileacomplaint.htm. DFS investigates all complaints it receives.
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.