Village awaits decision

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The Village of Granville is still waiting to hear from its insurance company regarding coverage of damage from Tropical Storm Irene after being told a decision was forthcoming seven to ten days after their October meeting.

Village Clerk Treasurer Rick Roberts said Monday he had been contacted by Cool Insuring Agency Inc. representatives via e-mail, but it was not with a decision.

The expected outcome after officials from the insurance agency appeared at the Oct. 3 village board meeting was a decision on coverage of storm damage.

After initially being told by an adjuster who visited Granville the village had coverage, company officials reversed course and said the village bore the responsibility for the first $500,000 in damage with a $50,000 deductible, per location, Roberts said.

Cool provided insurance coverage to the village from Trident Insurance.

Insurance agent Gary Edie and one of the company’s owners John ‘Jack’ Bienek answered questions for the board at the October meeting and at that time, Roberts said.

The two men said the village could expect to hear something in seven to ten days. Something in this case appears to be an e-mail.

Roberts said he received an e-mail ‘update’ from Edie requesting additional information to back up their claims it was backed up waste water from the waste water treatment system which first damaged the treatment plant, the main site of damage from the storm, and not flood waters from the overflowing Mettowee River.

The village is pursuing the possibility of coverage under another portion of the policy which covers sewer backup in addition to seeking coverage under the flood insurance policy.

Village officials have said the waste water treatment system experienced a flow rate from the storm more than three times what it was designed to handle, more than 8.5 million gallons, which caused the damage to the treatment plant long before flood water reached the structures.

Edie said Trident referred the matter to an independent attorney for evaluation, adding he hoped to be able to inform the village when the attorney might reach a decision by the end of this week.

Village department of public works superintendent Dan Williams provided pictures of the backed up waters along with discs from the flow meter which show when water going into the system became to large to measure.

Village officials maintain their understanding of the coverage gave Granville $1 million in flood insurance coverage after a single $50,000 deductible.

However, on Sept. 30 Cool informed the village Trident’s coverage would not kick in until the village had covered the first $500,000 along with $50,000 deductibles for each ‘location’ – a term not precisely defined in the policy.

The decision comes close on the heels of a Federal disaster declaration for many counties in New York, including Washington County. Officials have said they are skeptical of the timing of the decision not to cover so close on the heels of the announcement the Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA had become involved.

Damage from the flooding produced by Irene have been estimated between $750,000 and $1 million.

Roberts said he remains confident the local taxpayer will not be forced to bear the burden of rebuilding even if the insurance company does not cover the losses.

FEMA will cover 75 percent of the damages and SEMO the New York State Emergency Management Office will cover another 12.5 percent, leaving Granville to cover 12.5 percent of the costs which should be accomplished through insurance. 

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