Hurricane Irene or Tropical Storm Irene: What’s in a name? The Difference May Cost You Thousands.

Mr. Fromson is a Partner with Finkelstein & Partners, LLP, and he participates in the firm’s class action litigation.

Fortunately, Irene is gone, albeit not without causing havoc along the east coast as well as into many other areas of the northeast.  Homeowners have no doubt placed insurance claims regarding the extensive damage to their property, and they are looking to their insurance carriers to make good on claims. Unfortunately, past history has demonstrated that not all insurance companies have their insured’s best interests in mind.  Property owners who just finished fighting back Irene are now left to fight insurance companies who presumably issued policies to protect them from such storms in the first place. Irene’s classification as a Hurricane versus a Tropical Storm may have a huge impact on your deductible.  For example, a homeowner’s policy may have a deductible of 2% – 10%  of the cost of damage or up to the value of your property; these are called “percentage deductibles”.  But in the case of a tropical storm, the deductible may only be $500 – $1000.   When Irene arrived in New York, it was technically a tropical storm.  Just do the math:  10% of a $100,000 claim equals $10,000 for a hurricane. But that same $100,000 claim may only cost a property owner $500 as a deductible for a tropical storm. Remember, “it’s not personal, it’s just business.”  Insurance adjusters who evaluate your property damage are not doing so for your benefit; they are not your friends.  Your relationship with them is contractual.  Some would say their job is to deny as much of your claim as possible so as to keep their own costs down, their profits up, and their company stock high.  Watch out for companies that deny your coverage by claiming that your property damage was caused by flood or storm surge, and not wind.  Why?  Most policies do not cover flood damage.  Read your policy carefully so that you know what is covered and so that you can properly explain the damage caused. Don’t let the insurance company tell you that property damage was flood related when you can demonstrate it was wind related or that but for the wind, there would have been minimal or no water damage. If you suffered property damage from Irene and were unfairly denied coverage, please contact Finkelstein & Partners, LLP, to discuss your legal options.

 

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As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced changes to many lives and businesses in our communities, and around the world. We, much like our neighbors and friends, have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligation to our clients, while also prioritizing the health, wellness and safety of our employees.

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This pandemic is unlike anything any of us have faced in our lifetimes, and while we can continue to emotionally support one another through it all, staying home and keeping your distance is vital to the health and wellness of our communities. It does not feel good to break routines, cancel events and retreat from our normal, day-to-day socializing, but let us remember that, in times of strife, prior generations were asked to go to war and we are simply being asked to stay home. Your isolation equals more lives saved, and more time for medical providers to prepare for the treatment of patients battling COVID-19.

When the dust settles, we will join together with a greater appreciation for our lives, local businesses, loved ones and health. Until then, we will continue to offer guidance from a safe distance.

Very truly yours,

Andrew G. Finkelstein and the staff of Finkelstein & Partners, LLP