Tonawanda News

July 26, 2013

Storm center in NT today

By Michael Regan
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — State officials will spend the day in North Tonawanda today, offering assistance to those who sustained damage to their properties during last week’s storm. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement released Thursday that he will send a team with a New York State Financial Services Mobile Command Center to City Hall, where any resident in Western New York can visit for help navigating through the insurance process. 

While the state representatives have been stationed in Niagara Falls this week, confusion lingered over who was eligible to seek direction from them. Mayor Rob Ortt drove to the Niagara Falls locale on Wednesday in attempts to get to the bottom of the miscommunication, where he said he discovered that all were eligible. 

Assemblyman John Ceretto confirmed that anyone from Niagara or Erie counties who suffered damage were welcome to meet with the state officials. 

 “You do not have to be a resident of North Tonawanda to take part,” he said, in a statement. “Be sure to bring documentation of your damages, such as photographs, to make the process as fast as possible. The faster damages are reported the faster we can deliver aid to those affected.”

Matt Anderson, a spokesperson for the department, said his outfit deals with oversight of the insurance industry, and will offer advice for those who are seeking financial recompense from their respective companies. 

“The department’s insurance activities are specifically to assist with insurance claims,” he said. “As everyone knows, when you’re dealing with insurance companies, there are sometimes difficulties where someone feels they may have been wronged.” 

While it is still unclear how many homes and businesses may have suffered flooding or other damage in the region at large, North Tonawanda City Hall, Department of Public Works and the city’s engineering office have been flooded with calls with inquiries and complaints since last Friday’s storm. An estimated 2,800 homes lost power in North Tonawanda during the weekend, and another 637 in the City of Tonawanda. 

The mobile command unit will be situated at City Hall on from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Residents who filed claims are encouraged to visit. 

The state also urged residents who suffered damage as a result of the storm to file their claims, keep records of interactions with insurance companies, keep receipts for items purchased in relation to storm repairs and take an inventory of belongings that were lost. 

A disaster hotline is also available at 1-800-339-1759. The governor noted that the mobile command center will also add locations in Western New York with more specifics in the near future. 

Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.