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Acting Superintendent of Insurance Howard Mills announced today that New York State Insurance Department representatives are working at Federal Disaster Recovery Centers established in Orange and Ulster counties in the wake of the rain storms and subsequent flooding that occurred there earlier this month.

"Professionals from the Insurance Department’s Consumer Services Bureau are in Port Jervis and Lake Katrine and stand ready to assist Hudson Valley residents with their insurance-related questions," Acting Superintendent Mills stated. The Insurance Department anticipates that those affected by the flooding will need guidance on understanding their policy provisions and filing claims. No appointment is necessary.

The Federal Disaster Recovery Centers, which are also staffed by other state and federal agencies, will remain open seven days a week between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. for the foreseeable future. The Orange County site is situated at the Orange County Office Building, 150 Pike Street, Port Jervis, NY while the Ulster County Center is housed at Ulster Town Hall, One Town Hall Drive, Lake Katrine, NY.

"While we continue to do everything possible for flood victims, they must take that first step on the road to recovery themselves by calling FEMA at 1-800-621-3362 to register for federal assistance," said James W. Tuffey, Director of the State Emergency Management Office (SEMO).

Governor Pataki announced on April 20 that President Bush had approved New York State's request for federal disaster aid assistance and declared 11 counties, including Orange and Ulster, eligible for federal individual assistance as a result of damages incurred during the April 2-4 storms.

As a result of the presidential declaration, homeowners, renters and small businesses in these other 9 counties are also eligible for federal individual assistance: Broome, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Tioga.

Federal individual assistance is coordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and includes the Individual and Households Program, which can include grants to help pay for temporary home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are also available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.

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