162805
Canada  

Calgarians raise stink over flood claims

Some homeowners are banding together in an attempt to name and shame insurance companies that have rejected their claims for sewer backup damage following recent floods.

Residents of the Elbow Park neighbourhood in Calgary say some insurance companies are approving claims while others are not - despite similar policy wording.

That just doesn't make sense to Tom Carter, who is exhausted after spending the last week gutting his finished basement of contents that were ruined by two metres of smelly sewer water.

"It is disappointing. I was sick to my stomach. You think you are covered and then you find out that you are not," Carter said Tuesday after his claim was rejected by AMA Insurance.

"The houses on either side of us are covered through other companies."

Carter, his wife Julia and two sons now must manage without their living room, spare bedroom, furnace, washer and dryer, TV and the children's toys. The basement also needs structural and electrical repairs.

The inconsistency in insurance assessments is making people angry and frustrated, he said.

They wonder why an insurance adjuster from one company approves a claim for sewer backup in one home, while another adjuster from another company says no in a house next door, blaming the sewer backup on flooding?

Some people whose claims have been rejected have put up signs on their property chiding their insurance companies for not stepping up to help them.

Two that have been singled out for denying claims include AMA Insurance and RBC Insurance.

Troy Bourassa, director of claims for AMA Insurance, said it all comes down to the precise wording of a policy.

"Each insurer has different language that responds to sewer backup and our particular language is very clear," he said.

"Ours excludes damage caused by flood and excludes sewer backup damage when that sewer backup was caused directly or indirectly by flood."

Bourassa said the quick ruling by the adjuster will help Carter, because it will provide him with paperwork he will need to file a disaster recovery claim with the Alberta government.

RBC Insurance did not address why some claims were being denied.

"During this very difficult time for Albertans we have increased the number of teams on the ground to review each homeowner's situation individually and process claim payments quickly," the company said in an email to The Canadian Press late Tuesday afternoon.

"We are reviewing each case individually to look for ways to help our clients. We are also assisting in other ways including deferring payments for auto and home insurance."

Steve Kee, a spokesman for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, said such disputes are strictly between policyholders and their insurance companies.

He said every policy and house is different. It's up to trained professionals to make the call.

"These are sewer backup situations. Adjusters are going to determine what the situation is," Kee said.

Paul Smith, Carter's neighbour, said the insurance industry is going to suffer a public-relations black eye if it doesn't sort the mess out.

 

 



More Canada News

Canada
164189
162393
Recent Trending
164189
Castanet Proud Member of RTNDA Canada
164258





154831
163836