Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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July 19, 2013

Efficient claim handling sought

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — A quick turnaround of flood insurance claims will get Lockport back on its feet sooner, U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer and state Sen. George Maziarz said Thursday.

Both are urging the Federal Emergency Management Administration and property casualty insurers who administer FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program to ramp up the resources at their disposal to handle the surge of incoming flood and other insurance claims for Lockport homeowners impacted by the June 28 torrential rains and flooding.

Schumer and Maziarz said that a quick and fair review of insurance claims will allow the rebuilding process to move forward quickly and will ensure that Lockport gets back on its feet sooner, but warned that past experience – including in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy – shows that insurers are often not prepared to handle surges in claims. In a letter the senators urged FEMA and the insurers to work together to ensure that there will be enough claims adjusters on the ground to handle the surge in claims.

“The city of Lockport experienced historic flooding and sewage back-ups at the end of June, which caused severe damage to homes, businesses and public infrastructure. As the city of Lockport begins the recovery process, it is critical that flood and other insurance claims are processed quickly and fairly, so that residents and business owners can rebuild as quickly as possible,” Schumer said in a statement. “In anticipation of a significant number of incoming claims from Niagara County, we are also specifically urging that FEMA and the insurers who administer the federal flood insurance program work together to boost the hiring of adjusters to ensure a quick turnaround and to demonstrate that residents of Lockport are not on their own.”

“As a resident of this community, I know firsthand the level of destruction and mayhem these floods have caused residents and business. For many, their lives have been turned upside down,” Maziarz said. “I want to thank Sen. Schumer for focusing his time and attention on the storm victims — and for visiting our community to first-hand witness the excessive damages we have experienced. I am happy to partner with Sen. Schumer and am hopeful that by working together to urge a quick and fair review of insurance claims by insurers, Lockport will soon be on the road to recovery.”

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