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    Tuesday, August 30, 2011

    With Hurricane Irene causing significant damage across the region, Senator
    Roy McDonald is providing important tips to individuals who need to file
    insurance claims.

     “Irene has had a devastating impact throughout the region, and
    many families and businesses are going to have to file insurance claims.
    By following a few simple steps, residents will be  better equipped to
    protect themselves and ensure that the claims process go as smoothly as
    possible,” said Senator McDonald.

    The following steps should be followed when filing an insurance claim,
    according to the New York State Insurance Department:

                   • Contact your insurance company as quickly as possible to
    file your claim. Be sure to have your policy number and other relevant
    information available when speaking to them.

                   • Take photos or video of any damage before you clean-up or
    make repairs. After documenting the damage, make whatever temporary repairs
    are needed to prevent further damage    (such as covering up broken
    windows, or leaking roofs and walls).

                   • Do NOT make any permanent repairs before your insurance
    company inspects the damage and you have reached an agreement on the cost
    of the repairs.

                   • If the damage to your home is so severe that you cannot
    live there, ask your insurance company if you have coverage for additional
    living expenses

                   • Keep a record of all conversations you have with your
    insurance companies, including the dates and times of your conversations,
    the name of the person with whom you spoke, and    the details of your

                   • Be prepared to negotiate if your insurance company’s first
    offer does not meet your expectations. If you disagree with your insurer’s
    decision about a claim, ask them for the specific    language in the
    policy that their interpretation is based on.

              Residents who believe their insurance companies are treating them
    unfairly can file a complaint about their insurance company by visiting the
    New York State Insurance Department’s website, Complaints can also be filed by writing
    to Consumer Services Bureau, New York State Insurance Department, 25 Beaver
    Street, New York, New York 10004. Be sure to include your name, address,
    telephone number, your insurance carriers name, your policy or claim
    number, and an explanation of your concerns; do not send original copies of
    any supporting documentation.

              Residents should contact their insurance companies first if they
    have specific questions about their policies. Residents who need additional
    assistance with Hurricane Irene damage can contact the New York State
    Insurance Department’s disaster hotline at 1-800-339-1759.