Laborers remove debris from a home damaged by Superstorm Sandy on January 4, 2013 on Staten Island. More than two months after the storm, Congress passed legislation today that will provide $9.7 billion to cover insurance claims filed by people whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Sandy.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) Laborers remove debris from a home damaged by Superstorm Sandy on January 4, 2013 on Staten Island. More than two months after the storm, Congress passed legislation today that will provide $9.7 billion to cover insurance claims filed by people whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Sandy. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Governor Cuomo announced a mediation service for homeowners whose Sandy insurance claims have been denied, offered through the Department of Financial Services.

The program was established by anemergency amendment to Regulation 64, to be administrated by AAA. The amendment obligates insurers to notify homeowners of their right to mediate eligible claims.

Insurers will have to participate in mediations in good faith and foot the bill for the AAA's costs.

 

After Hurricane Andrew, a Florida Department of Insurance program mediated 2,400 claims with a 92 percent settlement rate.

After Katrina, a similar program in Lousiana processed 15,000 cases, successfully settling 74 percent of them.Mississippi saw 5,000 cases, 82 percent of which were settled.

The mediation can beface-to-face or via video conference or over the phone, by agreement between the insurer and homeowner.

The governor's office noted that homeowners are not bound by the results of the mediation: they can still request an appraisal or file a civil suit, or exercise other legal rights.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat

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