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Irene Damage Claims Nearing $100 Million in Massachusetts

By Paul Tuthill

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wamc/local-wamc-988608.mp3

Springfield, MA – More than a month after Tropical Storm Irene hit the region, the damage is still being totaled. Private insurance companies will pay out tens of millions of dollars and the federal government has made millions of dollars in payments to help people in western Massachusetts recover.. WAMC"s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

Tropical Storm Irene has generated more than 28 thousand 500 insurance claims totaling over 90 million dollars in Massachusetts alone. That total includes about 48 hundred claims for almost 16 million dollars in western and central Massachusetts. Barbara Anthony, head of the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation believes the claims will eventually go above 100 million dollars.
Insurance companies were hit for nearly 200 million dollars in claims resulting from the June 1st tornadoes in western Massachusetts. The tornadoes left devastation along a relatively narrow 39 mile path. Irene, which dumped more than 10 inches of rain , caused widespread flooding .
Anthony said the insurance claims tallied by her office so far do not include any filed under the federal flood insurance program
Anthony said she has been satisfied with how insurance companies responded to the natural disaster.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has authorized 2 point 7 million dollars in payments to people to help them recover from the affects of Irene, according to FEMA spokesperson Debra Young.
Jose Vejarando of the US Small Business Administration says close to a million dollars in disaster recovery loans have been approved. For people without flood insurance, an SBA loan may their only hope to rebuild.
More than a month after Irene hit , people continue to seek help from FEMA and the SBA. FEMA says just over 13 hundred people have registered since the federal disaster declarations were issued for the four western Massachusetts counties. The registration deadline is November 2nd. FEMA continues to operate one stop disaster recovery centers in Buckland and Williamstown.