Thanks to reporter Steve Viuker for quoting me in his 2/14/13 article “After Sandy – What Now For Long Island?” This was published on Total Mortgage Services website. The article is at the previous link & below.
After Sandy – What Now For Long Island?
There are those who don’t have to worry about what winter storm Nemo would do their business. Sandy took care of that. From Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey to Red Hook, Brooklyn; from an 80-year old family hardware store to a four-month-old dining establishment, Sandy left a lasting legacy to Mother Nature and her fury. Nemo just added the “icing” on an already teetering cake.
Marilyn Schlossbach is the owner of Langosta Lounge on the Asbury Park boardwalk. She is using Go Fund Me, to raise money. Her goal of $20,000 is almost in reach. However, in nearby Bay Head, Sandy sent water from the ocean and Barnegat Bay rushing into the town. On Lake Avenue, Applegate Hardware took on water; though the owners spared the merchandise by moving it upstairs or leaving it on high shelves. But the damage was enough to force the elderly owners of the iconic store to close for good.
“Show Your Love for the Jersey Shore,” is a public-private initiative designed to encourage the public to visit and support restaurants, hotels, local businesses and entertainment venues along the Jersey shore. The New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism and the State’s shore tourism partners will use their social media network to distribute news and information about special promotions offered by shore area attractions.
Back in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that a Department of Financial Services investigation uncovered $200 million in insurance funds from Sandy that are being held by banks and have not yet been sent to homeowners. The Cuomo Administration has sent letters to banks and mortgage servicers asking that they use maximum discretion and effort to speed the release of funds. The DFS has sent letters to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac seeking emergency reforms of their rules and policies relating to the release of insurance funds. These funds affect people from Staten Island, The Rockaways and Long Island, among those hardest hit.
The most recent statistics show FEMA had settled 54 percent of the roughly 56,000 flood claims filed in New York State, paying an average of $42,000 per household. Many of the remaining 26,000 homes and businesses statewide have received partial payments, often less than $30,000. Since the storm, FEMA has provided $876 million in disaster aid inNew York to about 112,000 households, many of which were not protected by flood insurance. While the maximum amount is $31,900, few families actually received that much. The average has been $7,800. And in the long run, most with flood insurance will get far more. (source: Newsday)
“For most policy-holders, consumers & businesses alike, I think that the key to indemnification is to develop a close working relationship with an agent or broker,“ Chicago-based attorney Charles Krugel told Total Mortgage. “Unless the consumer has a personal contact to deal with at the insurance company, someone who has a verifiable stake in the insured’s policy, it’s extremely unlikely that the consumer will receive satisfactory service. And it is helpful prior to purchasing a policy to directly ask your agent or broker what’s covered. If you have concerns about flood or natural disaster coverage, ask them and get a direct answer. If you don’t get a direct answer, then don’t buy that insurance.”
Back in Long Beach, the 40-year old Ice Arena will receive a new refrigeration system, new ice and flooring, a new ice resurfacing machine, and electrical repairs through a $25,000 donation from the New York Rangers and Chase bank. The arena lost its flooring system and suffered damage to its refrigeration and electrical system after 4 feet of water flooded the building. The Rangers practiced at the arena in the 1970s. Long Beach owns and operates the 39-year-old facility, which served as a recovery hub and aid distribution center after Sandy.
But for Jeff Kirschner, a consultant at Hay Group, Inc, the saving of the Ice Arena will not matter. “We love the beach,” he told Total Mortgage. “As a recently merged family, we decided to sell each of our houses and buy a new home that would be ours. Because our 6 children, aged 18-26, are largely grown and gone, we thought we might downsize and move to Long Beach or Lido Beach so that we could take long walks on the boardwalk and enjoy beach living. We visited the locale frequently, looking at local real estate, and looking for that sweet spot between where we could afford and adequate room for our large family.”
“Then came Super Storm Sandy,” he said. “The devastation of the boardwalk and horrific televised images of displaced families and flooded homes made our decision an easy call. We would look for a home more mid-Island, far from the raging seas. The increased volatility of the weather trends made it more likely, in our minds, that there would be increased coastal flooding in the future. In the end, we purchased a mid-Island home on an elevated hillside with a pool to sit by.”
In Brooklyn’s Dumbo section, no amount of help from Governor Cuomo could rescue restaurant Governor, which was immersed in five feet of storm surge during Hurricane Sandy. After the storm, the restaurant raised many thousands of dollars via Go Fund Me, in order to rebuild. But the amount of damage far exceeded those at Langosta Lounge and the four-month old, highly praised eatery was forced to close.
Said attorney Krugel, “The insurance industry is really tricky for consumers to get a handle on & to deal with. There’s layers upon layers of bureaucracy. Essentially, the same due diligence that is used to purchase a business, home or car should be used when buying insurance.”
Steve Viuker is a Brooklyn, New York business journalist.
He has covered real estate, small business and banking for numerous national online and print media.