A mobile command center has now set up shop in West Seneca with professionals from the state Department of Financial Services (DFS) who will help flood victims make the next move.
The emergency crew of insurance analysts are helping homeowners affected by the January 11th flood dissect their policies and figure out what is and isn’t covered.
Michael Romano of the DFS said, “We’re going to look for a certain type of endorsement, hopefully for water and sewer backup. And if they do have that endorsement, that’ll probably be able to afford them some type of coverage.”
People seeking help should bring copies of their homeowner’s and flood insurance policies, and evidence of what was damaged, including photos or video, if they exist.
“Try and really start to document your losses, kind of an inventoried list, and maybe an associated price with what was damaged. That helps as well,” Romano said.
Pamm Lent, WNY Director of Communications for the Governor’s Office, said, “Especially when someone’s gone through a crisis, I think that they’re not always thinking as clearly as they need to be. They’re trying to deal with the physical cleaning up of their house.”
Cleaning up is going to cost Dave Monolopolus about $30,000. He canceled his flood insurance 13 years ago.
“You’re never covered. That’s the problem. Everybody thinks flood insurance covers everything; it doesn’t. It only really insures the bank, on their financial loss. It covers your furnace, your hot water tank and if your house is knocked off your foundation. Other than that, it covers nothing,” he said.
Meanwhile, town tax assessors are cutting Monolopolus and his neighbors a break. They’ve started reassessing homes on Lexington Green, Gregory Drive and Brian Lane, taking the flood damage into consideration.
West Seneca Emergency Manager John Gullo said, “We’re going around and starting – doing that secondary assessment. We’re going to make sure what the people need for their houses, give them a list of repairs that they have to do/take care of and we’ll inspect them, and make sure everything’s good for that.”
Those who need a building permit for repairs to their homes will have the fee waived.
“Building permits average $50, so we’re going to try to help them in that aspect, as well,” Gullo said.
On Wednesday, insurance analysts assisted around 30 residents. The Mobile Command Center will be open again Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in front of the Winchester Community Church on Harlem Road.