Long Island sisters fight for Sandy insurance money

Seven On Your Side
June 3, 2013 2:47:33 PM PDT
For some people, rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy has been a long and frustrating process.

One sister's story about a ship in her yard led us to the other.

Both sapped their savings paying for repairs.

The stinger for the eldest: she was going into debt despite her flood insurance money coming through.

She just couldn't get it in her hands.

Sandy's surge forced Davicka Singh and her sister to swim for their lives.

"The only way to open the gate was to swim down so we swam above the gate and went over," said Singh.

A harrowing experience, but nothing compared to what she's going through now.

"It's frustrating," Singh said. "We are living with 2 spoons, 2 forks, and 2 knives and you can't move forward."

She's stuck with a half finished house, waiting for her mortgage company to release tens of thousands in insurance money: issued 6 months ago.

"I'm not asking for a handout, I'm not asking for a loan, I'm asking for my money so that I can fix my house and move home," said Singh.

Her insurance company paid out $132,000 2 months after the storm, but Davicka's only received a quarter of that so far.

"I ran out of money. $42,000 doesn't cover much," she said.

She has since exhausted her savings, then gone into debt just to keep her contractors working, but finally they had to leave for jobs that pay.

"My house would have been done by the end of March, beginning of April if my checks were paid on a regular basis," Davicka said.

Davicka says she is losing her sanity, faxing and refaxing paperwork, trying to get another installment of her money released.

"It's not just one person I'm speaking to. It changes every call. If I were to call them now it would be a 45 minute wait! I was so angry I wanted to take a flight all the way to Oklahoma to my mortgage company," she said.

So we called Midland Mortgage.

And instead of crickets in Island Park: progress!

Davicka finally got two checks: more than 50 grand to keep her contractors going and get home.

"Oh my god, thank you, thank you, thank you," she told us.

The mortgage company apologized but never gave us a reason for the delay.

For disaster insurance claims it helps if you document every phone call you make, with date, time, what's discussed and who you speak to.

Also track the paperwork you send, by email or return receipt requested if you send it by mail.

That will ensure you can hold them accountable.