New Law Gives Hurricane Sandy Victims Big Tax Break

Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer

Hurricane Sandy victims haven’t gotten many breaks in the nearly 20 months since the Superstorm hit the eastern seaboard and caused over $50 billion in damage. Most homeowners who sought to repair and rebuild have been fighting with their homeowners’ insurance companies over bad faith insurance practices and waiting for federal aid to be dispersed by their state. Sadly, many are still waiting.

However, Hurricane Sandy victims in New York just got a break as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently passed a law that spares New Yorkers who rebuilt their homes from being assessed with a substantial property tax hike.

Staten Islander Champions Legislation

According to, the bill recently signed into law was championed by Staten Island City Council Minority Leader Vincent Ignizio who raised the issue under the Bloomberg administration last year. The law provides a partial tax abatement for victims of the storm whose homes were damaged and then repaired. These repairs would have increased the property’s assessed value and, in turn, the tax bill.

The onus of the law stems from New York’s 6 percent cap on how high a homeowner’s tax bill can increase each year. Since repairs or rebuilds of home are categorized as improvements, many Hurricane Sandy victims would have been assessed with a big tax bill.

Community leaders like Ignizio, along with Mayor de Blasio and Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island), simply thought that was too much for New Yorkers to bear after what they’ve been through already and the bill was able to become law in a mere 23 days. Ignizio himself summed up the effort best when he said, “This was a team effort. This is what people want to see happening – it’s everybody shedding their labels, their philosophies, whatever, and getting the job done.”

Has Your Insurance Company Gotten The Job Done?

Sadly, many New Yorkers and New Jerseyans would answer that question in the negative – even after 20 months since the storm hit. Why? Bad faith insurance practices. Although insurance companies advertise that “You’re in good hands” and are “Like a good neighbor,” insurers do not have your best interests at heart. They can’t as they have to please their shareholders first and foremost.

It’s simple really. Shareholders want to see profits and insurers increase profits by keeping your insurance premiums and failing to pay out on claims – regardless of whether those claims are legitimate. Insurers are notorious for bad faith practices including:

  • Denying rightful claims altogether
  • Unreasonably delaying insurance proceeds
  • Offering low-ball settlements

They do this because, well, they can. Big insurance companies know the average policyholder likely feels intimidated by the thought of taking them to court as most of these companies have a team of attorneys at their disposal who do nothing else but represent the company’s best interests. However, homeowners who have been subject to these practices can, and should, fight back.

Insurers Know Which Law Firms Will Take Them to Task

Insurance companies know full well which New York insurance dispute lawyers will take them to task – and that means going to court in many situations.  The bottom line is that insurance policies are contracts. When a covered risk triggers that policy, the insurance company is liable. Period.

Don’t take no for an answer when an experienced attorney can help you to level the playing field, get your claim paid once and for all and perhaps pursue a claim for bad faith insurance practices.