By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Insurance companies shouldn’t be allowed to leave policy holders high and dry after the flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy, according to Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-Bay Ridge-Staten Island), who said she’s drafting legislation to change the way companies operate after natural disasters.
Malliotakis said her bill would re-define what would constitute an unfair claims settlement practice during a declared state emergency. Residents living in the Staten Island portion of the assemblywoman’s district suffered severe, widespread damage from Hurricane Sandy. Two months after the super-storm, residents are still locked in an ongoing battle with their insurance carriers, Malliotakis said.
“Poor communication, little action, and lack of urgency from insurance carriers are among the most stressful issues my constituents are facing in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy,” Malliotakis said.
“It’s completely unreasonable for customers who have fulfilled their end of the bargain for years to be forced to deal with nonsense like unreturned phone calls and unjustified denials. Residents face a long road to recovery and certain insurance carriers have provided nothing but obstacles. It’s time they assumed their rightful role as part of the solution, rather than the problem. It’s time New York changed its laws to protect the consumer and not the insurance company,” Malliotakis said.
The legislation would identify unfair claim settlement practices during a declared state emergency, and provide a civil remedy for consumers to establish a cause of action.
Many homeowners may find that they are not covered for things they assumed were covered, WNYC reported.
Malliotakis delivered a bit of happier news relating to post-Sandy recovery efforts. She announced that the New York State Department of Financial Services has come to an agreement with a number of financial institutions to extend the mortgage relief period for homeowners within the Hurricane Sandy disaster area.
The agreement was first announced in November. At that time, banks and other lending institutions agreed to hold off on late fees and foreclosure proceedings for 90 days. The courtesy was directed at homeowners who were hit hard by the hurricane. Banks and service providers will now extend this relief period for an additional three months, Malliotakis said.
In other post-Sandy news, Councilman Domenic Recchia (D-Coney Island-Bensonhurst) said he’s pleased that the New York City Department of Sanitation has agreed to his request to extend its schedule of increased sanitation pickups in neighborhoods like Coney Island that were hit hard by the hurricane. The additional trash collections will be in place until Feb. 18.
“I am grateful to the Department of Sanitation for listening to my request and responding to the needs of the thousands of New Yorkers who continue to struggle to clean and rebuild their homes and neighborhoods in the wake of Sandy,” Recchia said.
State Sen. Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge southern Brooklyn) is encouraging residents in need of Super-storm Sandy assistance to visit the new FEMA Disaster Recovery Center at the Gerritsen Beach Volunteer Fire Department Training Hall located at 43 Seba Avenue. The Center is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Golden also announced plans to host a town hall meeting in a continued effort to aid those affected by the storm in the communities of Sheepshead Bay, Gerritsen Beach and Manhattan Beach. The
meeting is set for Thursday, Jan. 24, at 7 p.m. at P.S. 277 at 2529 Gerritsen Ave.
“My office continues to work each and every day to help the people of my district recover and rebuild from the damage left behind by Sandy,” Golden said.