Better Preparing New York For Disasters

Oct 29, 2013, 16:47 ET from New York Insurance Association

NYIA Issues White Paper on Lessons Learned After Sandy and Possible Ways to Strengthen New York

ALBANY, N.Y., Oct. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The one year anniversary of Sandy is an appropriate time for New York and its residents to reevaluate how we prepare for and respond to disasters. The New York Insurance Association (NYIA) has released a white paper with 35 potential action items for consideration by the state and others involved in responding to a disaster.

"Sandy was unlike any storm New York has seen in recent years," Ellen Melchionni, president of the New York Insurance Association said. "Given the extreme circumstances the response by all involved was exemplary, but Sandy did teach us a variety of lessons that can be employed when responding to catastrophes in the future."

NYIA's Lessons Learned After Sandy and Possible Ways to Strengthen New York white paper is available on the association's website.

Key findings include:

  • All those involved in disaster response should participate in tabletop exercises simulating a disaster event.
  • Encourage New Yorkers to engage in a thorough evaluation of their risks and make certain they have the proper insurance for their homes, automobiles and businesses.
  • Remove barriers for those responding to disasters such as affected areas not being accessible, highway restrictions, inability to obtain fuel, lack of phone and data connections and limited housing.
  • Amend the New York Highway Law to authorize municipalities to act quickly to eliminate a source of flooding that is on private property as well as make other statutory changes to ensure municipalities can most effectively and expediently respond to disasters.
  • Establish a process to examine New York's building codes (with an emphasis on New York City's codes) with an eye toward proposals for rendering properties more resistant to flood and other catastrophes.
  • Discourage development in high risk areas of the state where flooding is most prevalent and damage would be especially severe.

The white paper was created based on information presented at the Strengthen New York Disaster Preparedness and Flood Readiness Summit that NYIA hosted last month in two locations. The first was held on September 16 in Syracuse. The second was held on September 18 in New York City. A broad-based group of stakeholders participated in both events, offering suggestions on how New York could be better prepared for crisis situations.

"Disasters by their very nature are extraordinarily challenging," Melchionni said. "It is often not easy to find solutions to the problems presented. The key is that all those involved in disaster preparedness, response and recovery work together to ensure that New York is in a better place next time."

The New York Insurance Association (NYIA®) is a state trade association that has represented the property and casualty insurance industry for more than 130 years.  For more information about NYIA, visit

SOURCE New York Insurance Association