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Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Sandy victims fight back
(Page 2 of 3)
Anthony Rifilato/Herald
Long Beach residents Ron and Debbie Gialanze said that their insurance company denied their claims because of a loophole that is preventing many residents from rebuilding their homes.

"For instance, damage caused by the surge or flow of floodwater can scour around foundations or undermine a slab, directly damaging the foundation," he said. "By law, the SFIP does not cover earth movement, including destabilization caused by nearby flooding."

Watson said that according to estimates by the insurance companies, more than 99 percent of the 143,000 Sandy-related claims are closed, and approximately $7.8 billion has been paid out to survivors.

"FEMA will not be satisfied until policy holders have received payments for all covered losses," he said. "When a claim or any part of a claim is denied by the insurer, the policyholder may also appeal that denial directly to FEMA."

Attorney Denis Kelly, a Long Beach resident who is representing 150 clients with Sandy-related claims — most of them homeowners, including the Gialanzes — said that insurance companies are looking for “any excuse not to pay.” “If that crack wasn’t there on October 28, but was there on October 30, guess what?” Kelly said. “That foundation is cracked because of the flood. These engineers are coming in and acting as if we had two inches of water. I had six feet of water on my block."

Kelly said he expects to file federal lawsuits on behalf of his clients against the National Flood Insurance Program and the insurance companies that are involved, but the deadline for filing a “proof of loss” will expire on Oct. 29. “If you don’t file a proof of loss,” he explained, “you won’t be able to sue.”

Mittleman said that NFIP does not permit the recovery of attorney’s fees or costs, and that it could take homeowners years to receive money if they litigate.

Still, Kelly said, for many residents it is the only recourse. “People are not going to get paid …,” he said, “and are going to find themselves in a position where they have to get a lawyer because they’re going to have to sue.”

Hoping to return home

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Seagull

Thanks for the info re aug 29th. Spread the word...its many families plight..different towns..diffrnt families..slightly different affects..the major problem being that nfip does not cover the direct natural topographical cause of the bulk. Of the resulting damage. Who can keep the ground from Slipping under their feet.?.it's like an aqua earthquake.

The comment I recieved from the insurance adjuster who came to inspect the damage initially was.'.the government will pay for it ' but it ain't necessarily so. katrina changed the whole insurance game..but our taxes & flood insurance rates here have always been astronomical..this just adds insult to injury when we are personally paying for damage we had no control over..

Thursday, August 15, 2013 | Report this
Sandeep

Only 50% of folks had flood insurance on the South Shore of LI of houses that got flood. This couple got $180K while while 50% of nieghbors with similar damage only got $31,900.

Now since flood does not cover earth movement they did not have insurance for that. I think it is great they are protesting FEMA pay them out for something they never insured against. They should go for it.

But unless they are also protesting to get earth movement covered for folks without flood insurance who also did not have earth movement coverage it is insult to injury. Wait till neighbor who got 150K less for same damage as this family finds out their taxes are going up to cover a pay out of even more. This protest should be for all. The folks who need the money the most are not invited to this party.

Also earth movement is tough to prove. Did you do a full inspection the day before Sandy of your foundation and take pictures and use a leveling tool? Unless you can prove day before foundation was fine hard to prove Sandy caused it.

For instance I inspected whole foundation for cracks day before Sandy, any crack I found I filled in with concrete. Guess what when I gutted basement under sheet rock I found more cracks and when I redid concrete floor in lower level guess what it was unlevel. Did Sandy cause it who knows.

Far Rockaway and Atlantic Beach NY put in new cement block bathrooms after sandy by boardwalk FEMA inspected. Guess what last weekend during inspection it was discovered settling took place and cement foundations have cracks and there are leaks. Stuff happens.

Also is this something that would be considered for NYS rising if so apply there. Also you can put in for this as a casualty loss on your taxes up to September 15, tor get a case worker from Red Cross or Catholic Charities and look for a grant.

If you did not have insurance over earth movement you did not have insurance, does not mean you wont be covered just look for other avenues.

Anyone with flood insurance is not a sandy victim. They were covered. If anything they are victims of their own misunderstanding of how flood insurance works, bureaucratic stupidity at NFIP or bad contractors. Not sandy.

Biggest victims I have met are I ran into a few elderly widowed ladies whose husbands was in charge of the money and back as far as Hurricane Gloria accepted some FEMA (once in a lifetime grants) and never got flood insurance. The widows were denied the FEMA grant of $31,900 and got nothing. Even more horrible I was talking to a women around 85 trying to see if I could find a grant for her and the neighbor with flood insurance comes to me and says that house is moldy I cant believe she lives there. He then ranted I should sue her for mold spores my house is all redone with my insurance money and she is holding down my property value. Wow.

BTW bringing engineers, town of hempsted buildiing inspectors, lawyers, media attention to fact your foundation is not in good condition is a win all game. That house is tagged ICC, the internet, flood insurance etc has long records.

I cemented my few little cracks, leveled my lower level floor and moved on. We even jackhammered a whole to make sure it was on solid ground. Contractor did it for free.

Most homes were built in Levitt brothers type speed on the 50x100 plots by 20 something workers who just returned from WWII. My old neighbor saw houses on my block going up 60 years ago, Budweiser, cigarettes, coffee and a mandate to get if framed up in one day and move to next house is how it went. Yet 65 years later we have folks questioning the foundation.

My nieghbor was laughing when I asked why house near me was around three feet higher then nearby houses. He said they went to built it and hit water right away. So they built a few more on block and threw dirt on the plot raising it up a few feet then built house on top of mound. I bet guy who owns house is claiming Sandy causes a shift.

Building codes are fairly loose now on Long Island, 40-80 years ago when most houses were built there were almost no codes and no inspectors.

Yet you want NFIP to be able to know a house built on a sandbar 70 years ago the crack under your 1960s Den complete with Shag Carpeting occured during Sandy and not any other time. Hard to say.

Monday, August 26, 2013 | Report this
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