Showing posts with label Insurance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Insurance. Show all posts

November 13, 2012

A Sandy Insurance Nightmare in Staten Island,NYC

When Roman and Marianna Bediner's Staten Island, N.Y., home was clobbered by Superstorm Sandy they took some comfort in knowing that it was insured. But a few days later, when they learned that their coverage would pay for only a fraction of the $75,000 to $100,000 needed to put the house back together again, that feeling evaporated.
During the storm, Roman said the waters of Lower New York Bay rose by close to 11 feet, destroying all the walls, floors and ceilings -- not to mention the furniture and carpets -- on the first floor of his home. When the area flooded, the sewers backed up, filling the Bediners' ground floor with water that contained raw sewage and contaminating the home.
The Bediner's Staten Island, N.Y., home as the floodwaters started to subside post-Superstorm Sandy.
The Bediners carry both homeowners and flood insurance, which is issued by FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and required of homeowners in flood-prone areas. In theory, it's a lot of protection. But in practice, it can be very little.
His homeowner's insurance policy from Liberty Mutual doesn't cover flooding, just damage caused by high winds. Two days ago, the adjuster came by to inspect the home. The offer: A mere $5,045 for wind damage to the stucco exterior and garage door.
Bediner's meeting with the flood insurance adjuster was even worse: Most of the repairs -- the walls, ceilings, floors and the ruined office equipment in his downstairs office -- would be not be covered by his flood insurance policy. The adjuster said he won't be able to give him an exact figure for a couple of weeks but told him not to anticipate much. 
"Shocked is an understatement," he said. "You pay your premiums and, when something happens, you're basically screwed."
A big part of the problem for Bediner and other victims of Superstorm Sandy is that NFIP's flood insurance does not cover any upgrades done to basements. Any finished walls, floors and ceilings or personal belongings that get destroyed while in a basement won't be covered.
The only claims the policy will honor for basement damage are for things required to run the household, like furnaces, as well as structural elements, like stairways and the foundation.
"The adjuster said we would not get a penny for the ground floor except [to repair] the heating and AC," said Bediner.
Bediner said he didn't realize that his policy was so limited in its coverage. "That doesn't mean it isn't in the policy documents, though," he said. "It's one of those things that no one tells you and you don't know.” 
Making matters even more frustrating for Bediner is the fact that he's never considered his ground floor a basement.
Like many other recently built houses in his neighborhood, the Bediners' has a ground level garage on the bottom floor that has an extra room right behind it containing the home office. The rest of the living spaces are on the upper floors. The NFIP treats enclosed ground floor spaces like these the same way they treat basements.
Liberty Mutual, which the Bediners also purchased their flood insurance through, said it was referring the flood claim to FEMA for review. The NFIP wouldn't comment on individual's claims except to point to its guidelines. 
In the meantime, Bediner has already paid a contractor $6,000 to secure, clean up and decontaminate the house, merely a fraction of the estimated $75,000 to $100,000 needed to repair the home.
While Bediner, a 32-year-old vice president for technical services at a tech company, and his wife, who is a paralegal, are doing well financially, the parents of two young children don't have that kind of money.
And Bediner is far from alone. Tens of thousands of houses were damaged in the area. New York officials have said that 20,000 to 40,000 New Yorkers may have been left homeless by the storm.
"It's not just me," he said. "There are hundreds of families going through the same thing." 

December 15, 2011

Obama’s Health Law More Than Double The People Insured } 2.5 Million More


(Reuters) - U.S. healthcare reforms have enabled 2.5 million young adults to join or remain in their parents' health insurance plans, the U.S. government said on Wednesday, up from 1 million reported earlier this year.

Federal officials fully credited the gains to the Affordable Care Act, legislation championed by President Barack Obama that took effect last year and is deemed the biggest overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system in nearly 50 years.

The law aims broadly to eventually provide medical insurance to more than 30 million uninsured Americans, and in September last year allowed young adults to stay on their parents' private insurance plans through age 26. The provision is perhaps the single most popular element of the highly-divisive law and the announcement on Wednesday elicited little reaction from congressional Republicans.

That age group previously recorded the highest uninsured rate but the new report showed they no longer do. Now 26- to 35-year-olds have that dubious distinction by a narrow margin, according to a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The jump to 2.5 million young adults reported on Wednesday came as many graduated from high school and college in May and June and otherwise would have lost coverage, health officials said.

Since the policy helping young adults took effect in September 2010, the percentage of adults ages 19 to 25 covered by a private health insurance plan has increased to 73 percent in June from 64 percent, the Department of Health and Human Services said.

Over that time no change was observed in the insurance rate of adults age 26 to 35, 72 percent of whom are insured.

"Young adults were twice as likely to go without insurance... they were taking real risks," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters.

"Today, 2.5 million more young Americans are no longer living with that fear. Mothers and fathers can breathe a little easier."

Federal officials said data from the first three months of 2011 showed that 1 million more young adults had coverage compared with a year ago. The U.S. Census Bureau's report earlier this year showed that about half a million more Americans age 18 to 24 received health care coverage last year.

Dozens of states and a field of contenders for the Republican presidential nomination have attacked the Affordable Care Act, sometimes dubbed "Obamacare." They hope to repeal the legislation, saying it is a symbol of intrusive government seeking to raise taxes and burden businesses with new regulation.

The U.S. Supreme Court is preparing to review the reforms, as a sharply divided public watches from the sidelines.

(Reporting by Ransdell Pierson in New York and Alina Selyukh in Washington, editing by Matthew Lewis and Carol Bishopric)

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