State to compensate Sandy victims affected by earth-movement exclusion

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“Over the last few years, we experienced three once-in-a-century storms that wreaked an unprecedented level of devastation in communities across the state,” the governor said. “While we have made much progress in recovering, many New Yorkers are still left without a place to call home and limited resources to rebuild. Yet it simply does not make sense that some New Yorkers, who were just as hard hit by the same storms as others, cannot be compensated for their losses. That is why the state is stepping up to bridge this unfair gap in insurance coverage.”

Homeowners will need to apply for this assistance through the Office of Storm Recovery, the same office that administers the New York Rising program, which provides grants to homeowners to fill the gaps not covered by insurance, FEMA or Small Business Administration loans.

“I, along with the other members of the City Council, applaud Governor Cuomo’s initiative to compensate Sandy victims whose property damage claims have been rejected by FEMA due to the earth-movement exclusion,” said City Councilwoman Eileen Goggin. “It is unthinkable that FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program has been denying claims for property damage caused by floodwater pursuant to this exclusion. We are thrilled that Governor Cuomo has responded to our rallying for help and has interceded to ensure that our Long Beach residents and others who have been affected by this exclusion will now be fairly treated and fully compensated for their losses.”

Long Beach residents Ron and Debbie Gialanze attended the August rally and are still protesting the provision. Sandy destroyed their East Pine Street home, and flooding from Reynolds Channel damaged its foundation. Debbie said she is happy that she will be compensated, but she added that the issue isn’t just about Sandy survivors; it should concern everyone who has flood insurance.

“Hopefully this will help us and many other families move forward with repairing our houses so we can move back home,” she said. “But it still doesn’t resolve the original issue; [the law] has to be changed. That’s the most important part of this whole mission.”

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