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$90 Million In Tornado Damage Claims Filed

By Paul Tuthill

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wamc/local-wamc-972292.mp3

Springfield, MA – Officials say initial estimates show last week's tornadoes in Massachusetts will be the costliest natural disaster in state history. Officials in Springfield are beginning to worry about how to pay the bills. WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

Five thousand insurance claims totaling 90 million dollars have been filed in the week since the tornadoes, according to the Massachusetts Secretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, Barbara Anthony.
The initial cost damage estimate does not include commercial buildings, automobiles, public buildings and schools.
Anthony, who visited areas impacted by the tornadoes to offer advice to property owners, said the insurance claims process appears to be going smoothly.
Anthony said fly-by-night contractors have swarmed into the tornado damaged neighborhoods, putting up posters and going door to door soliciting business.
Nine teams of federal, state and local officials are in the field to survey damage to homes, businesses, schools, government buildings and roads. They'll also include the cost of tree and debris removal, emergency demolitions, and the overtime for police and fire personnel in an effort to document the state's request for a federal disaster declaration. If the state qualifies it would open the door for the federal government to pay between 75 percent and 100 percent of the un-insured storm costs.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno says the city has spent 4 million dollars on the emergency response and recovery effort so far.
The Springfield City Council voted unanimously to authorize deficit spending to respond to the public health and safety emergency.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has filed a supplemental budget request with the state legislature that includes 10 million dollars to pay for the emergency response to the tornadoes by State Police and the National Guard. It also includes provisions to expedite emergency borrowing by municipalities.