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Acting Superintendent of Insurance Howard Mills today announced that the Insurance Department's toll-free Disaster Hotline has been activated in response to Governor Pataki's declaration of an emergency in 14 New York counties due to last weekend's storms and subsequent flooding. The phone number is 1-800-339-1759.

"The Insurance Department's Consumers Services Bureau professionals are available to answer inquiries regarding insurance policies and coverage as well as assist with complaints," Acting Superintendent Mills stated. "But homeowners and businesses should also reach out to their private-sector insurance representatives as soon as possible to assess their level of coverage and begin the claims process."

Governor Pataki declared yesterday a State Disaster Emergency for 14 counties and contiguous areas that suffered damage from last weekend's storms and near-record levels of flooding. Counties included in the declaration are: Broome, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Greene, Montgomery, Orange, Otsego, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Schoharie, Sullivan, Tioga and Ulster.

Flood insurance policies issued through the National Flood Insurance Program, rather than homeowners' insurance policies, generally provide coverage for flood-related damages to a homeowners' property. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is available to handle questions about the National Flood Insurance Program and can be reached at 1-800-427-4661. New Yorkers affected by these storms are also advised to protect their homes from additional harm by moving personal property to higher elevations, beginning the debris clean-up process, and pumping out flooded basements.

The Insurance Department's senior management team is also keeping in close contact with New York's State Emergency Management Office (SEMO), which sent inspectors into the affected communities earlier this week. SEMO is working with their counterparts from FEMA to determine the impact the storms and flooding had on individuals in the aforementioned 14 counties.


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