Category Archives: News & Events

Victim of a disaster, fire or theft? You may be eligible for a tax deduction — McFadyen & Sumner’s ON THE MONEY

If you suffer damage to your home or personal property, you may be able to deduct these “casualty” losses on your federal income tax return. A casualty is a sudden, unexpected or unusual event, such as a natural disaster (hurricane, tornado, flood, earthquake, etc.), fire, accident, theft or vandalism. A casualty loss doesn’t include […]

via Victim of a disaster, fire or theft? You may be eligible for a tax deduction — McFadyen & Sumner’s ON THE MONEY

Water Damage Restoration

When you need help with water damage (or fire, smoke or mold mitigation) the number one service provider we’ve used on numerous occasions is – SERVPRO.

This team of experts gets the job done right, limiting the extent of the damages “Like it never even happened.” They arrived quickly, knew what to do, and decreased our stress load as a result of it. If a house lift is not in your future, but flooding is – keep this company in mind.

If in metro New York, call (800) 967 – 6663. Tell them Robin sent you.

fire - water-mold cartoon

National number: 1 – 800 – SERVPRO

Private Insurance vs. FEMA

JULY 2014:  Flood insurance is a hot topic at the moment, the product is in flux. When the  Biggert-Waters Act was signed into law  in 2012, it was met with criticism and concern. This law set to remedy the long standing subsidized flood insurance rates that had subsequently bankrupted FEMA to the tune of 20 BILLION dollars.

PRIVATE INSURANCE VS. FEMA:  Home owners cried foul and pleaded for mercy as their rates were about to spiral out of control. Stepping in to combat the rate hikes was the introduction of private insurance, first in Florida and then spanning out across the country to include 15 states (as of this time).

Private insurance is written by Lloyd’s of London. Although they offer an alternative, with very competitive rates, my concern would be what happens if a catastrophic storm hits, àla Super Storm Sandy? If a private insurance company goes bankrupt – you could be out of luck in terms of receiving reimbursements. If FEMA backed insurance accumulates too many losses, they dig into the money bags of the USA government. Whose likely to run out of money first?

The entire goal of flood insurance, any insurance, is to make it self-sustaining. For that to happen, the rates must reflect the true risk involved.

PRESIDENT OBAMA SIGNS INTO LAW A FLOOD INSURANCE RELEIF ACT: In March of 2014, after much outcry from the constituents of flood weary states, the government backed down from it’s initial aggressive stance on curbing subsidized flood insurance rates. Essentially this law caps flood insurance premium rate hikes and passes on subsided rates to people buying homes in flood zones.

Flood insurance rates still need to be adjusted to better reflect the true risk of the home in a flood zone. Without it, people will continue to build, buy and live in a flood risk area, exposing the taxpayer to a significant burden. With the ever increasing rise in ocean levels, this is a real concern – for everybody. 

BEST SOLUTION  that I’m a big fan of: house elevation for flood mitigation. Your house is protected, your insurance rates drop dramatically, and you move from being a part of the problem to a part of the solution. Without a doubt, that is much easier said then done. Researchers, economists and lawmakers alike all favor this idea. The problem is implementing this expensive notion on a grand scale.

Just starting to rain ...

Just starting to rain …

A few hours later ... House across the street is deluged with flood water.

A few hours later …
House across the street is deluged with flood water.

If the above house were elevated, the only thing the home owner would need to do is move their car.

 

 

 

A Year Later: ReBuild by Design

An opportunity to affect real change, empowering young bright minds to design ways to mitigate against further flooding – whether from another “Super” storm or even a heavy rainfall.

Sustain By Design

Just about a year after Superstorm Sandy landed on the east coast causing an estimated $50 billion in damages, a project called ReBuild by Design is entering its second stage to help guide us towards recovery. An initiative of Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, the design competition is soliciting ideas to increase resiliency across the Sandy-affected region. The first part of the competition was just completed; each team presented several opportunities in a public forum based on a three month research and analysis period. From this feedback, each will narrow the focus to one idea and work with stakeholders and communities to develop the design solution. The final proposals will be evaluated in March, and winning teams will receive funding for implementation with disaster recovery grants.

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The proposals range widely. One that stood out to me include the team of MIT + ZUS + URBANISTEN, which imagines resiliency…

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Mountains of Mud in Boulder, Colorado

SAND VS. MUD: With 16,000 homes impacted by the historic flooding that occurred in Boulder, Colorado last week, many people are facing a mountain of clean up. Unlike Hurricane Sandy that decimated the eastern coastline last fall, dumping tons of sand in the streets, the flooding in Colorado brought mud – and lots of it.

FloodSavvy

Hurricane Sandy 2012 – Hauling sand from the streets in NYC

WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS (AND STRANGERS): Coming to the help of those buried in Boulder are numerous volunteers willing to help sling some mud. With an assist from social media, those in need are quickly able to connect with volunteers willing and ready to help them shovel mounds of muddy sludge from their flood ravaged homes. What started as a grassroots effort has sprung into a website, one that  depicts a map showing where volunteers are needed.  Though the clean up efforts will take months, those whose homes and lives have been touched by the flood will hopefully feel empowered by the outreach from the community.  “I get by with a little help from my friends,”  John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Photo credit: AP Mud encrusted homes in the aftermath of the Boulder flood - 2013

Photo credit: AP
Mud encrusted homes in the aftermath of the Boulder flood – 2013

To help with the clean up efforts visit: www.donateboulder.com 

18 Inches of Rain Brings Pain to Boulder, Colorado

At long last the rain has let up and the storm has passed, yet many will feel the ramifications of the recent flooding in Boulder, Colorado for months to come. Numerous homes endured total destruction while others suffered comparatively minor damage with flooding restricted to their basement. Unfortunately for those without flood insurance, they will have to rebuild on their own. Flooding is about as appealing as a kick to the head.

Should those who were impacted by this freak of nature storm run out to purchase flood insurance? No. It takes 30 days for a new flood insurance policy to take effect. But what about moving forward, should those homes impacted by floodwater purchase flood insurance? YES. Depending on the flood risk for your home, the rates can be very inexpensive.

FLOOD INSURANCE: THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW

1. It takes 30 days to take effect

2. Building Coverage (house and mechanicals) and Content Coverage (your stuff) MUST be purchased separately

3. Flood Insurance offers limited coverage for basements

1500 HOMES DESTROYED IN BOULDER FLOOD: “Some 1,500 homes have been destroyed and about 17,500 have been damaged, according to an initial estimate released by the Colorado Office of Emergency Management.” HUGE numbers of homes have been impacted.

120,000 HOMES DAMAGED: “According to FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, 4,550 Boulder County homeowners are covered by flood insurance. That figure is well above the national per-capita average, but U.S. Census data suggests it still leaves many of the roughly 120,000 county households soaked and damaged, with dim prospects for total financial recovery.” www.dailycamera.com/news/boulder-flood/ci_24083820/flood-damage-leaves-boulder-area-residents-scrambling

Flood-Insurance

Hang in there, Boulder!

Surviving a 500 Year Flood

PHOTOS: The photos above show the destructive power of the flooding that has occurred in Colorado this past week, but more importantly, they illustrate the power to overcome adversity. Helping one another by pulling together, friends, neighbors and strangers alike.

An Outlet Of The Mind

Living in Colorado you pray for rain, but not this much rain. I want to write a longer post about my experience of being trapped in my neighborhood, but my brain is ready to process everything. So for now here are a few pictures. IMG_1277Flood 2013IMG_1285IMG_1301IMG_1302DSC_2565IMG_1266DSC_2579DSC_2578DSC_2569DSC_2622DSC_2711

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