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Category Archive: Sandy

After Sandy: Recovery 101

For a good overview of all federal programs click to the Federal Disaster Relief Funding Assistance Hurricane Sandy Guidebook. This guide and the information below is NY-specific but the basic information and steps involved apply throughout the region.

General guidance

The President’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals and some organizations in Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Richmond, Suffolk, Queens, Westchester and Rockland counties. If your county is not listed, don’t give up hope. Sometimes the disaster declaration is expanded. As we receive more information we’ll send it out.

First step: Assessment and safety

As soon as floodwater levels have dropped, it’s time to start the recovery process. Here’s what you can do to begin restoring your personal or organizational home (from floodsmart.gov).

  • If your home or organizational building has suffered damage, call your insurance agent to file a claim.
  • Check for structural damage before re-entering to avoid being trapped in a building collapse.
  • Take photos of any floodwater in your home or building and save any damaged personal property.
  • Make a list of damaged or lost items and include their purchase date and value with receipts, and place with the inventory you took prior to the flood. Some damaged items may require disposal, so keep photographs of these items.
  • Keep power off until an electrician has inspected your system for safety.
  • Use bottled water or boil water for drinking and food preparation until authorities tell you that your water supply is safe.
  • Prevent mold by removing wet contents immediately.
  • Wear gloves and boots to clean and disinfect. Wet items should be cleaned with a pine-oil cleanser and bleach, completely dried, and monitored for several days for any fungal growth and odors.
  • For more guidance, see the Recovering after an emergency or disaster from the Red Cross.

Second step: Filing an insurance claim

Your insurance policy is your first line of defense. Here’s a refresher on hurricane deductibles and flood coverage from the New York Times. Filing an insurance claim is usually a three-phase process:

Phase 1

After experiencing a flood, contact your agent or insurance company to file a claim. An adjuster should contact you within a few days of filing your claim. If you do not hear from an adjuster, you can contact your insurance agent or company again. Make sure you have the following information handy:

  • The name of your insurance company
  • Your policy number
  • A telephone and/or email address where you can be reached at all times

Phase 2

  • Separate damaged from undamaged property. Your adjuster will need evidence of the damage to your home and possessions to prepare your repair estimate.
  • Take photographs of all of the damaged property, including discarded objects, structural damage, and standing floodwater levels.
  • Make a list of damaged or lost items and include their date of purchase, value, and receipts, if possible.
  • Officials may require disposal of damaged items so, if possible. Follow the instructions provided by local officials.

Phase 3

  • Your adjuster will provide you a Proof of Loss form for your official claim for damages. You’ll need to file this claim with your insurance company within 60 days of the flood. This document substantiates the insurance claim and is required before the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or insurance company can make payment.
  • You’ll receive your claim payment after you and the insurer agree on the amount of damages and the insurer has your complete, accurate, and signed Proof of Loss form. If major catastrophic flooding occurs, it may take longer to process claims and make payments because of the sheer number of claims submitted.

Read more about insurance claims: How to file your claim now [PDF 78K].

Third step: applying for FEMA assistance

FEMA assistance will cover some uninsured or underinsured losses.

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Posted in Recovery, Sandy

A Refresher on Hurricane Deductibles and Flood Coverage

New York Times

Will your insurance cover damage from #Sandy? Here’s a refresher on hurricane deductibles and flood coverage.

Federal Aid Programs for State of New York Disaster Recovery

OCTOBER 30, 2012
Release Number:
HQ-12-123Factsheet

Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama’s major disaster declaration issued for New York.

Assistance for Affected Individuals and Families Can Include as Required:

  • Rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable.  Initial assistance may be provided for up to three months for homeowners and at least one month for renters.  Assistance may be extended if requested after the initial period based on a review of individual applicant requirements.  (Source: FEMA funded and administered.)
  • Grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional.  (Source: FEMA funded and administered.)
  • Grants to replace personal property and help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state and charitable aid programs.   (Source: FEMA funded at 75 percent of total eligible costs; 25 percent funded by the state.)
  • Unemployment payments up to 26 weeks for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for state benefits, such as self-employed individuals.  (Source: FEMA funded; state administered.)
  • Low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance.  Loans available up to $200,000 for primary residence; $40,000 for personal property, including renter losses.  Loans available up to $2 million for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance.  (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration.)
  • Loans up to $2 million for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes that have suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover from the disaster’s adverse economic impact.  This loan in combination with a property loss loan cannot exceed a total of $2 million. (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration.)
  • Loans up to $500,000 for farmers, ranchers and aquaculture operators to cover production and property losses, excluding primary residence. (Source: Farm Service Agency, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.)
  • Other relief programs: Crisis counseling for those traumatized by the disaster; income tax assistance for filing casualty losses; advisory assistance for legal, veterans benefits and social security matters.

Assistance for the State and Affected Tribal and Local Governments Can Include as Required: (JCRC comment: probably available to some nonprofits)

  • Payment of not less than 75 percent of the eligible costs for removing debris from public areas and for emergency measures, including direct federal assistance, taken to save lives and protect property and public health.  (Source: FEMA funded, state administered.)
  • Payment of not more than 75 percent of the approved costs for hazard mitigation projects undertaken by state, tribal and local governments to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural or technological disasters.  (Source: FEMA funded, state administered.)

How to Apply for Assistance:

  • Those in the county designated for assistance to affected residents and business owners can begin the disaster application process by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers are available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) Monday through Sunday until further notice.  Applicants registering for aid should be prepared to provide basic information about themselves (name, permanent address, phone number), insurance coverage and any other information to help substantiate losses.
  • Application procedures for local and state governments will be explained at a series of federal/state applicant briefings with locations to be announced in the affected area by recovery officials. Approved mitigation projects are paid through the state from funding provided by FEMA and other participating federal agencies.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate’s activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema. 

President designates NY major disaster area

The costs associated with Sandy will run into the billions.As we assess the damage from the storm it is reassuring to know that help is on the way.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the State of New York and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by Hurricane Sandy beginning on October 27, 2012, and continuing.

The President’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals and some organizations in Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Richmond, Suffolk, and Queens counties. If your county is not listed, don’t give up hope. Sometimes the disaster declaration is expanded. As we receive more information we’ll send it out.

As the result of the designation, individuals residing in the designated counties can qualify for assistance that can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured or underinsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Governments and some nonprofits can receive partial reimbursement for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by Sandy.

The federal assistance is for the reimbursement of covered and documented expenses. You don’t have to wait to begin your repairs, just document the damage (pictures are helpful) keep a careful record of your outlays (e.g.,  staff time, contractors, equipment, purchases, etc.).

If you think that you, your business or your organization are eligible, begin applying for assistance by registering online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).  Remember, FEMA aid is for uninsured and underinsured expenses. Start the recovery process by contacting your insurance carrier.

JCRC-NY worked closely with FEMA during last year’s blizzard and Irene. We will be getting out information and coordinating with leaders in the most-affected communities to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.

It’s gonna get a whole lot worse before it gets better: Sandy Expected to Bring Life-Threatening Storm Surge, Coastal Hurricane Winds

A very large and dangerous Hurricane Sandy is expected to make landfall along the central N.J. coast later this evening or tonight, bringing high winds and storm surges. The National Weather Service notes that current conditions will allow Sandy to maintain or increase in intensity (it has already surpassed the previous record holder — the infamous “Long Island Clipper” of 1938), with winds. from the east at 35 to 45 mph with gusts up to 80 mph.

Higher gusts up to 85 mph possible along south facing shorelines. Strongest winds are expected this afternoon and evening. Many areas are already flooded hour before landfall and a 6-11 foot storm surge is possible. The highest storm surge is predicted for the Long Island Sound and Raritan Bay. Areas of concern include:

  • City Island: 11-13 feet
  • Locust Point: 11-13 feet
  • Coney Island / Rockaways: 9-10 feet
  • South Beach to Oakwood Beach (SI): 11-12 feet
  • At the Battery, high tide of 11-12 feet may occur Monday evening

The National Weather Service advises that surge may not be timed with high tide. Peak surge will occur when the storm’s center passes south of NYC. Water will be elevated for a prolonged period of time, possibly up to 24 hours, and return to normal levels Tuesday or Tuesday night.

Power outages could be widespread (already tens of thousands of homes in New Jersey and on Long Island are without power) and last at least several days. Debris will block some roads. Homes may have damage to shingles, siding, gutters and windows –especially if these items are not properly secured.  Loose outdoor items will become  airborne, causing additional damage and possible injury. Windows in high rise buildings could be broken by flying debris.

UPDATE – REGIONAL TRAFFIC – 1400 HOURS

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