75° Good Morning
75° Good Morning

Letters: Storm rebuilding funds inadequate

People clean up debris from a destroyed home

People clean up debris from a destroyed home on Shore Road in Lindenhurst on Nov. 4, 2012 in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

I am appalled by our insurance system. I live in a community that was flooded by Sandy, and while I see some people getting their homes and lives back, I see more who are not ["Rough road to recovery," News, Jan. 27]. Most of those who are not are people who had flood insurance.

Why is it that if you had no flood insurance and had to file a claim with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, those checks were written very quickly? Those of us who did the right thing to protect our property have had to endure a lengthy, frustrating process. This is just not right.

It has been 60 days since the second visit from the flood insurance company adjuster, and I am not getting anywhere. I have been waiting for a return phone call for four days and have sent the adjuster three emails with no response.

My family has been living in the upstairs of our home since the day after the flood, and our house has been gutted since the middle of November. I am enduring a bad lung infection due to the mold and dust in the house, but we will not leave because of the fear of break-in or theft. I feel like we will not get our lives back for many months to come, while my tax dollars went to help out someone else.

Caren Milheron, Amity Harbor

Nothing has been said about banks that hold loans on the damaged properties. They are holding the proceeds issued by homeowners' and flood insurance companies. The checks are written to both the homeowner and the bank, therefore the homeowner must give the check to the bank. Each bank has its own policy for releasing the funds.

In many cases, the bank wants the contractor who is doing the work to provide a detailed estimate. Then as the work progresses, an inspector from the bank verifies the work being done and releases a portion of the insurance check.

The problem is that the contractor and suppliers have to wait to be paid. Banks are moving very slowly to send their inspectors, and then it takes an inordinate time to issue funds.

We used up our savings to get our rebuilding under way. We have replaced our electrical and heating systems, walls and floors. Now work has stopped as we wait for funds from the bank. When I have spoken to a bank representative, it has been one excuse after another.

Gary Blackler, Amity Harbor

My 88-year-old father's house was flooded during superstorm Sandy. In the 60 years he has owned the home, he has never had a water problem, so he had no need for flood insurance. The damage was very extensive.

The single-story house was gutted and all the furniture and bedding discarded. The Federal Emergency Management Agency gave him $31,000, and his private homeowner's insurance company provided $500. This is not much, considering we are up to $70,000 in repairs.

Irene Semon, Setauket