Friday, December 26, 2014

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NY1 For You: Insurance Company Dodges Claims From Radio Station

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One radio station, like many other businesses affected by Hurricane Sandy, say they're struggling to survive because of unfair insurance claim denials. NY1's Susan Jhun has the story.

120 Wall Street was home to Progressive radio station WBAI for more than a decade until Hurricane Sandy hit. The building, located in Zone A, was evacuated a day before the hurricane and shut down for another three weeks after.

A closure that cost the station severely.

It happened as we were finishing our last week of a very important fundraising campaign. We are listener only supported, we rely on those pledges," WBAI Interim Development Director Andrea Katz said. "We lost $150,000 in money that we rely on to pay our rent."

Even after the building was reopened, there was no internet or phone service, and WBAI was forced to continue broadcasting from the remote location it used following Sandy.

The station filed a claim for loss of revenue with it's insurance company, Chubb.

Katz says Chubb declared the claim was water related, and since the company didn't have flood insurance, it would only be covered for three days of lost business.

"My argument back was it was not water related, it was a restricted building that we were not allowed entry to and therefore could not do business as usual," Katz said.

It's a complaint we've been hearing over and over from small businesses hit by Hurricane Sandy, who claim their insurance companies are worming their way out of paying out.

"There are hundreds and hundreds of businesses down here who are all experiencing the same thing," Katz said. "The city has done what they can to help us but we really feel at this point that we may have to take a class action suit to the attorney general."

We called Chubb for comment but haven't heard back.

We then contacted the Department of Financial Services, which regulates insurance companies, and a spokesman said the agency is working to resolve these disputes with it's new mediation program.

Help that may not come soon enough for WBAI.

"We're really afraid we're going to have to close the doors," Katz said.

We will keep you updated.

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