Property Damage & Disaster Restoration Blog: Long Island & New York City

Allstate(SM) Mobile by Allstate Insurance Company

Posted on Tue, Jul 24, 2012 @ 08:57 AM

Humidity Property  Damage Mold Long Island New York Structural Drying Home Business Building

Wherever you are, you’re in Good Hands with Allstate®.

Allstate(SM) Mobile is your insurance on the go—offering everything you need, from policy and claim information to bill pay and accident support, in the palm of your hand.

Use the Allstate(SM) Mobile app to:

Make a Payment – Pay your bill anytime using your Visa, MasterCard®, Discover®, or American Express® credit and debit cards.

Access My Insurance Information – View your Auto, Motorcycle, and Property policies, as well as agent contact information.

Use the Accident Toolkit – Follow the step-by-step accident checklist to record driver and witness info, capture photos at the scene, and submit a claim.

File a Claim – Whether it’s minor damage or a major accident, you can quickly and easily submit a claim and include photos from the Accident Toolkit. 

Check Claim Status – Have your claim details, payment history, and claim representative contact information with you at all times. 

Get a Quote – Answer only a few key questions and receive a ballpark estimate on an auto insurance policy without giving your name or email address.

Wherever you are, you’re in Good Hands with Allstate®.

If you’re having any problems downloading or using this app, please contact us at

Also available for iOS through Apple's iTunes.

Tags: allstate, allstate insurance company, long island, insurance, new york, mobile app, insurance company, mobile, allstate mobile app

IRIS US Introduces Web-Based Analytical Tools For Risk Managers

Posted on Mon, Jul 23, 2012 @ 03:57 PM

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Combined U.S. RE and Campbell Consulting initiative results in a singularly useful, essential set of analytical tools for risk management.

Pearl River, N.Y. – July 23, 2012 — Mr. Marc Piccione, Senior Vice President, U.S. RE Companies, and Mr. James Campbell, President, Campbell Insurance Consulting, today announced the introduction of IRIS US (Insurance and Reinsurance Intelligence Source),a powerful new web-based analytical tool that provides insurance and reinsurance professionals with extraordinarily useful and essential insights into key exposures in catastrophe prone areas.

IRIS US, a joint initiative of the two companies, U.S. RE and Campbell Insurance Consulting, has created an easy to use analytical environment that allows the user to interact with data from public sources at succinct levels of detail to gain insights into markets unlike any other tool in the market today.

IRIS US has concentrated initially in three target areas: Florida, Texas, and more generally, in the Severe Weather sector in North America. Mr. James Campbell stated “Throughout my professional insurance experience, I have come across several sources of publicly available data and used it to gain an edge in understanding insurance markets. Knowing how useful this data can be to insurance and reinsurance professionals, we decided to create several databases of pertinent information and build a system of reports, dashboards and mapping tools and serve it up in a state of the art web analysis platform. The market response has been outstanding!”

According to Mr. Piccione, IRIS US reports have the advantage of being designed by accomplished reinsurance and insurance professionals: “As experienced reinsurance and insurance professionals, our team knows precisely what our colleagues require in analyzing risk and strategizing on how to best position their business in Cat prone regions,” he said.

IRIS US, marks a first in a series of planned cooperative ventures between the two companies in the risk management fields to expand U.S. RE’s other product suite, including presently the U.S. Risk Optimizer and U.S. RE Risk Manager tools.

According to Ms. Anya Kutsina, Managing Director of U.S. RE Analytics: “We are continuing to create products and services to the industry to enhance the business of reinsuring. It is our belief that, without these advanced tools, our clients and theirs will not have the kind of risk management data that makes for the best decision making. We are committed to providing the highest intelligence standards to our insuring and reinsuring partners.”

For further information contact:

Mr. Marc Piccione (845) 920 7100 or Mr. James Campbell (804) 749 3126
or visit

Article originally appeared on


Tags: long island, risk, insurance risk, insurance, new york, risk managers

How Humidity Can Cause Property Damage to Your Home or Building

Posted on Wed, Jul 18, 2012 @ 09:06 AM

Humidity Property  Damage Mold Long Island New York Structural Drying Home Business Building

By Steve Graham, Networx

Humidity doesn’t just make you uncomfortable. It also causes problems and health hazards at every level of the home. Here is a bottom-to-top summary of some of the dangers of high humidity, and some solutions for each problem.

Underground problems

Humid weather simply exacerbates moisture problems that are often a concern in crawl spaces and basements. Moisture from the ground works with moisture from the humid air to generate condensation on walls and other surfaces, and create muggy basement smells and atmospheres. In turn, this can translate to mold and mildew issues. To avoid these problems, it is important to take steps to minimize moisture below the main floor of the home.

If humidity is an issue in any season, foundation vents should be left open all year to help the foundation dry out as much as possible. On the other hand, close basement windows and doors to keep out humid summer weather.

If humidity is an issue for a basement, insulate basement walls and run a dehumidifier. Rigid foam insulation is one good option, as it is essentially waterproof. However, it must be covered with drywall or another fire barrier. Attach a humidistat to the dehumidifier to control the humidity levels.

Crawl spaces should be covered with polyethylene or other thick, solid vapor barrier to keep moisture from the ground from creating bigger problems. Crawl spaces with moisture barriers also should have one square foot of vent area for every 1,500 square feet of crawl space area, according to Michigan State University (MSU) researchers. Crawl spaces without moisture barriers should have one square foot of venting per 150 square feet of space.


Mechanical system problems

Humid weather can also leave condensation on water pipes and toilet tanks. Again, this condensation can also lead to mold and mildew problems. If the toilet tank regularly beads with condensation, consider installing waterproof insulation inside the tank. Also wrap insulation around water pipes to minimize condensation.


Flooring problems

Moving up from the basement, the floor is the next likely victim of humidity problems. Mold and mildew can get into wood flooring or carpets, and may be hard to completely remove. It is best to avoid such problems by reducing humidity. Air conditioning systems reduce humidity while reducing the temperature, if they are installed correctly.


Mildewed carpet should be cleaned with an electric shampoo machine. If musty odors develop on carpet, either replace the entire carpet or have it professionally cleaned and dried off-site. Replace musty or damp padding.

If mildew develops on wood flooring, scrub it off with trisodium phosphate or quaternary disinfectants, then rinse and dry thoroughly, and add a mildew-resistant paint.


Storage Problems

Humidity can also wreak havoc on clothes, food and other stored items. Dry foods can draw in moisture and quickly go stale if humidity exceeds 60 percent. Cans may rust and leak in humid weather. Damaged or swollen cans should be tossed out. If humidity is an issue, keep stored food in an air-conditioned space.


Reduce humidity damage to clothing with chemical absorbents or through proper ventilation. Use silica gel packets or other moisture-absorbing materials if you plan to tightly close all closet doors and trunks. The other option is to leave closet doors open and use fans to improve air circulation. Also separate clothes within each closet to allow airflow between items.


Wall problems

Humid air can also build up in walls, which can become soggy over time, and may even attract mold and mildew. Interior and exterior paint can also bubble and peel under extended humid conditions.

To minimize such problems, boost wall insulation and consider vapor-retardant paints. Also caulk or weather strip all gaps and cracks around the walls, baseboards, doors and windows. According to MSU researchers, such sealing work can minimize moisture problems in walls.


Attic problems

Finally, attics can get hot and uncomfortably damp in humid weather. Be sure to properly ventilate the attic. If the attic does not have a vapor barrier (which may not be a necessity in many cases), it should have one square foot of venting per 150 square feet of attic, according to MSU research. For areas with vapor barriers, one foot of venting per 300 square feet of attic is acceptable.

Humid weather can cause a variety of home problems and hazards, but they can all be prevented or remedied with some care and diligence.


Tags: long island, property damage, water damage, new york, humidity, relative humidity

National Weather Service Alerts Headed to Smartphones

Posted on Mon, Jul 02, 2012 @ 10:13 AM


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  June 28, 2012 4:09 PM PDT

Smartphone users will soon get a severe weather alert from the National Weather Service.

(Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Live in an area prone to flash floods, hurricanes, blizzards? Smartphone users will soon get a severe-weather alert from the National Weather Service, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The new nationwide emergency alert system, called the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), sends 90-character text messages to smartphones of people facing extreme weather conditions. Severe weather defined by the NOAA includes tornadoes, flash floods, hurricanes, extreme wind, blizzards and ice storms, tsunamis, and dust storms. Note that thunderstorms aren't on the list because they occur so frequently.

The text messages will pop up on smartphones, but they aren't traditional text messages. Because the alert system will be on smartphones, the signals will be triangulated so that weather alerts will be localized. The NOAA uses the example of a person from New Jersey traveling to California during an earthquake. That person would get an "Imminent Threat Alert" text message.

Only smartphones enabled to receive WEA messages will get them. Wireless carriers that support the service include AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, Bluegrass Cellular, Cellcom, and U.S. Cellular. Check with individual carriers for coverage, as some do not offer nationwide service.

WEA messages aren't exclusively weather related; smartphone owners will also get emergency alerts from the Federal Emergency Management System (FEMA), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Department of Homeland Security, and local and state public agencies.

This story originally appeared on

Tags: weather service, flash floods, long island, new york, hurricane damage, storm damage, extreme weather, smartphone alerts

Keep Carpet Out of Landfill and Help Create Jobs On Long Island

Posted on Thu, Jun 21, 2012 @ 11:10 AM

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Long Island Carpet Recycling's cost-effective and environmentally friendly recycling service helps put people to work.


In these tough economic times, every opportunity to create employment and help the environment is important for businesses everywhere. Instead of throwing away used carpet, recycle it. Thiskeeps it out of the landfill, puts people to work, and generates revenue for your business. Green jobs are the future and we can all do our part.


Most carpet is made from oil. Over 3.5% of all waste disposed in U.S. landfills is carpet. And because carpet does not biodegrade, it will stay in landfills for generations. Carpet recycling reuses the 9 million barrels of oil wasted when carpet is disposed in landfills. 


With our wide service offering and fast, friendly customer service, Long Island Carpet Recycling is deeply committed to reducing landfill, recycling valuable material back into the manufacturing stream, and putting people to work.

Call or email us today to reduce your carpet waste.
Phone: 631-676-5161

Tags: carpet recycling, recycling new york, long island, landfills, new york, recycling, carpet

Clean Air New York Has Declared an Air Quality Action Day

Posted on Wed, Jun 20, 2012 @ 08:11 AM
Clean Air New York Air Quality Action Day Long Island
An Air Quality Action Day is forecast in our
region for today (Wednesday, June 20, 2012).


Here are several simple steps to take today to prevent pollution:

  • Combine errands into a single trip.
  • Postpone unnecessary trips.
  • Take the subway, bus or train instead of driving.
  • Avoid letting your vehicle idle, such as at the drive-thru.
  • Forward this message to family and friends.

The New York State Department of Transportation has declared that today, Wednesday, June 20, 2012, is an Air Quality Action Day in the downstate metro area due to forecasted high levels of ground-level ozone pollution in parts of the region (please visit the Clean Air NY Web site for more information While tomorrow is still a day when people can go about most of their normal activities, such as going to work, driving may be one of the most polluting activities that people do tomorrow, and we encourage everyone to leave their cars at home if possible.

Ground-level ozone is a respiratory irritant that can trigger asthma attacks and aggravate emphysema, bronchitis and other respiratory ailments. Children, people with pre-existing respiratory or heart conditions, people doing strenuous outdoor work or exercise and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to the effects of ozone.

To learn more about improving air quality or if you were forwarded this message and want us to send updates to your own e-mail address,

Clean Air NY is sponsored by the New York State Department of Transportation in support of regionwide air-quality efforts.

511NY is New York State's official traffic and travel info source. Whether you drive or take public transit, click here for precisely what you need, or simply dial 511 on your phone.

Follow Clean Air NY on Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger.

You received this update because you provided your contact information to Clean Air NY. To ensure the delivery of these Bulletins, please be sure to to your e-mail address book or safe list.

Clean Air NY
c/o ICF International
40 Wall Street
34th Floor
New York, NY 10005

Tags: long island, air quality, new york, clean air, air quality action day

Mobile App to Aid In Case of Disaster On Long Island & New York City

Posted on Thu, Jun 07, 2012 @ 09:21 AM

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The FEMA App contains preparedness information for different types of disasters, an interactive checklist for emergency kits, a section to plan emergency meeting locations, information on how to stay safe and recover after a disaster, a map with FEMA Disaster Recovery Center locations (one-stop centers where disaster survivors can access key relie

f services) and Shelters, general ways the public can get involved before and after a disaster, and the FEMA blog. Terms of Use for the FEMA App:

Click on the FEMA logo to download the FEMA app for Android.  Available on Apple's iOS too. 

Tags: disaster, long island, FEMA, emergency, new york, new york city, disaster preparedness, disasters, disaster recovery

State Farm Insurance Mobile Apps to Help Their Long Island Customers

Posted on Wed, Jun 06, 2012 @ 10:06 AM

  What's Your App?

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But it always seems that the Insurance Industry is always slightly behind the curve when it comes to technology.

Even though its still very early, the mobile app market is starting to revolutionize the way insureds communicate with their insurance company and/or insurance agent.

Mobile Apps are also starting to compliment the jobs of insurance carriers, insurance adjusters, insurance agents and the companies that service the Insurance Industry here on Long Island and throughout New York.  .

We have found a few mobile apps that we would like to share with you that we feel might be of interest to the Long Island Insurance Community.

Specifically for the Property & Casualty Sector...

 state farm,state farm insurance,long island state farm,state fam mobile app,long island,new york,state farm smartphone app,long island insurance community,long island insurance,long island app,long island apps

 Pocket Agent®

With Pocket Agent, you can find an agent, report an insurance claim, do your banking, get roadside assistance and much much more...

What comes from having a good neighbor right in your pocket?

Convenience at your fingertips.

Now State Farm services and unique mobile features are closer than ever and there to help you in any and every way possible.

With Pocket Agent®, our free Android app, you can find an agent, report a claim, make a bank deposit, do your banking, get roadside help and a whole lot more! Now whenever and wherever you need us, State Farm is there for you.

Application Features

Some of the Pocket Agent® features are only accessible to registered® users. Register Today!

  • Pay Insurance Premium – Have a mobile lifestyle? Pay my Premium now gives you an easy way to pay your State Farm® insurance premium using Pocket Agent® for Android.
  • Claims Center – Document a claims checklist with the push of a button. Registered users can submit a claim and check claim status.
  • Bills & Payments – Convenient way to pay your insurance premium and/or bank bills.
  • Take and submit pictures using your camera and record accident details and vehicle damage.
  • My Insurance Card** – Can’t find your insurance card? Now your policy information is at your fingertips!
  • Check the balances of State Farm Bank® and Mutual Fund accounts.
  • My Agent – Contact your State Farm agent or find one close-by.
  • On The Road – Search for tow trucks, taxis, locksmiths, and rental cars by current location or zip code.
  • Locate a State Farm® Select Service® Repair Facility*.
  • Search for State Farm agents by current location or zip code.
  • Other claimants and other vehicles – This feature adds sections on the claim form for the other parties involved in the accident, including name, insurance information and vehicle information.
  • Describe the Scene – This feature allows users the ability to make free-form notes in addition to filling out the claim form information.
  • Password Reset – Users can reset their State Farm password on their mobile device.
  • MyTime Deposit® - Making a deposit to your State Farm Bank® account is as easy as point-and-shoot. Just endorse the check, enter the amount, and take its picture. (Compatible with Android OS 2.1 and above) Learn More
  • View State Farm Bank Deposit and Credit Card transaction history.

Click here to Get Apple's iOS App Here


Tags: insurance app, pocket agent, long island mobile app, insurance, new york, state farm, long island insurance, long island app, state farm pocket agent, new york insurance

Green Building: Eco-Conscious Passive Houses Hit Brooklyn

Posted on Fri, May 04, 2012 @ 09:04 AM

New York Observer,green building,Eco-Conscious Passive Houses Aggressively Hit Brooklyn

By Kim Velsey 

The most exceptional thing about the house at 96 St. Marks Avenue is that it doesn’t look exceptional at all. It’s just another redbrick townhouse on a street chock-a-block with redbrick townhouses in a borough crammed with townhouse-lined streets.

However, the Prospect Heights house is the the city’s first multi-unit building to be built, or in this case retrofitted, to meet the über-stringent environmental standards developed by the German-based Passive House Institute (among other things, the house must maintain a comfortable indoor temperature without really using active heating or cooling systems, reducing the house’s energy consumption by 90 percent).

Having never seen a passive house before, The Observer expected at least some clunky sign of the building’s conversion when we visited the still under-construction home a few weeks ago. But, no. No weird metal ducts or shiny solar panels. Did the future of green building really look so much like the past?

Well, yes, developer Brendan Aguayo said, which was kind of the beauty of the whole concept. Any house can be built as a passive house, and any house can become a passive house. (No geodesic dome was this!) Passive houses are all a matter of insulation and ventilation. A lot of insulation, to be fair—triple-paned windows, six inches of cellulose blown into the walls, plastic sheeting, and multiple layers of a waterproofing/air barrier compound called Sto Gold painted on the walls—but still, nothing super fancy or particularly newfangled.

“It’s basically good building practices done to the extreme,” said Mr. Aguayo, who gave TheObserver a sneak-peak of the soon-to-hit-the-market condos (the building will have three two-bedroom units measuring 825-square-feet and a 1,400-square foot duplex on the first floor).

The general principle behind passive is to make the building airtight—”a bubble, or a thermos,” as Mr. Aguayo put it—with a ventilation system constantly filtering the home’s air, passing fresh air through heat trapped in the kitchens and bathrooms.

“Some people have this misconception—‘I can’t open a window’ or ‘I’m going to die of CO2 poisoning,’” Mr. Aguayo said, unlatching one of the windows with a chuckle. Besides windows that open, the house also has heaters and air conditions (even if residents aren’t really expected to need them) and fireplaces? in every unit.

What charming relics of the home’s former heating technologies, we mused. Were they functional?

Wrong on both counts. They were, in fact, brand new faux fireplaces.

“I liked the idea of it—something different to look at,” said Mr. Aguayo. He shrugged. “I guess we’re letting them know that they never need to use a fireplace.”

Basically, the only thing you won’t see in a passive house is exposed brick. (“Very, very cold, you’re going to lose a lot of energy that way,” said Mr. Aguayo, confirming what we know to be true from visits to many hip but chilly apartments).

The Passivhaus Institut, which administers the passive house standard, estimates that there are about 32,000 passive houses worldwide. They have become increasingly popular in Europe but are still something of a rarity in the U.S., with less than 20 houses certified, and only a handful in New York.

Inside 96 St. Marks, workers were coming to the end of a year-long retrofit, painting and sanding. Each unit had white walls, wooden floors, high ceilings,  generous windows, expensive-looking coppery bathroom fixtures and peek-a-boo style flaps and doors that revealed glimpses of the labyrinth of ventilation ducts running through the house (the ventilation system has several settings, including “boost” mode for events like parties, which can become stuffy in a sealed house).

Although Mr. Aguayo has long been involved with construction projects through his family’s business, 96 St. Marks is his first as developer (he’s working with development partner Martin Handler). It’s also his first passive house.

“I got this building at a price I felt comfortable doing a trial run with passive,” said Mr. Aguayo. Purchased for a little under $1 million, he estimated that gut renovating the building as a passive house has cost about 10 percent more than a normal gut renovation (The windows are one of the most expensive items. Mr. Aguayo said that the windows for 96 St. Marks cost $60,000, whereas fairly high-end windows on a normal conversion would have cost about $18,000). Pricing on the units has yet to be determined, but Mr. Aguayo said that he’s had a lot of interest.

“And even if someone hated passive houses, at least they get a nice condo in a good location.”

Mr. Aguayo admitted that the first retrofit process had involved something of a steep learning curve—sealing up the home’s air barrier is particularly vexing—but he’s already planning a new passive project in Park Slope. Given the neighborhood’s history of lifestyle one-upmanship, it’s hard to see how such a project would be anything but wildly popular.

On the next project he’ll also have a connection for hard-to-find construction materials.  Ken Levenson, the architect on the 96 St. Marks renovation, is so enthusiastic that he’s now remaking himself as an importer of specialty passive house construction materials.

“People are already realizing technology has been proved in Europe and it has a track record so we’re not reinventing the wheel,” Mr. Levenson said in a phone interview with the Observer. It’s a low risk proposition once the clients think through it, that they come to the realization that it would be kind of crazy not to do. You’re either going to be one of the first houses of the future or one last houses of the past.”

But what is it actually like to live in a passive house? Does one miss drafty corridors or clanking radiators?

“Not at all” said Elsie Kagan who renovated a Park Slope rowhouse to passive house standards a few years ago. It didn’t quite pass the test, but Ms. Kagan and her husband aren’t terribly upset. Their house is still incredibly efficient and they were spending less on heating and cooling than they spent on the electric bill at their old place.

“The weird thing about the house is you don’t notice it most of the time,” said Ms. Kagan. “The only difference is that it’s very quiet. We don’t hear almost any street noise. Suddenly we’ll have the window open and we’ll think ‘Why can we hear everything all of a sudden?’”

She paused, seeing if any other differences leaped to mind. She came up short.

“We blend in, we totally blend. We just have a little thicker walls and windows.”


Tags: green building, brooklyn, retrofitted, new york, eco-concsious, passive house

New York Gov. Cuomo Announces Storm Aid for Long Island

Posted on Wed, May 02, 2012 @ 09:59 AM

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is providing $8.5 million to Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island. The money will be used to pay expenses from damage done last year by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.

The storms caused widespread destruction across the state. Cleanup costs statewide are expected to exceed $1.6 billion.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency usually covers 75 percent of eligible disaster response and recovery costs.

Earlier this month, Cuomo announced the state would pay $61 million to 25 counties to cover costs for emergency shelter, road, water system and infrastructure repairs and other clean-up projects. Cuomo added $8.5 million for Nassau and Suffolk counties last week. 

Article Taken from the Insurance Journal

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tags: insurance journal, storm aid, long island, property damage, insurance, new york, storm damage, long island insurance

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