BY SALVATORE PIZZURO
Assemblyman Gary Schaer, chairman of the Committee on Financial Institutions and Insurance, convened a hearing Dec. 6 to gather information on how best to serve the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Just days earlier, Schaer participated in a tour of the devastation of the barrier islands that resulted from the super storm. The Assemblyman noted during these activities that it is important for the storm victims to be educated consumers.
It was also noted during the hearing many of the storm victims had only purchased insurance when required by law and never familiarized them with the policy, making it more difficult for them to ascertain the type of coverage they would receive.
"One of the most important things we've learned from this hearing today is that many consumers aren't familiar with the specifics of their policy, particularly when it comes to storm-related coverage," the assemblyman said. "Moving forward, everyone should take the time to educate themselves on the details of their policy to make sure that they have chosen the appropriate coverage to handle their unique needs. An educated consumer is the best consumer, especially when dealing with complex insurance claims.”
Many of Schaer’s constituents in his 36th Legislative District suffered significant storm damage, as well as losing electrical power for a long period of time.
"Moving forward, the best way to assure our recovery is to stay on top of this issue and continue monitoring concerns. As we move steadily into the rebuilding phase, adequate handling of insurance claims will be crucial to our efforts."
Schaer also encouraged storm victims to file their applications for relief as soon as possible. The Department of Banking and Insurance, he indicated, has “established a hotline to monitor consumer complaints, which residents should not hesitate to utilize if they have issues or concerns with the handling of their claims."
Dr. Salvatore Pizzuro, a disability policy specialist, holds a doctorate in Developmental Disabilities from Columbia University and an advanced degree in Disability Law from New York Law.