After surviving flash floods, residents of B.C. community now battling insurers

Click to play video: 'Savona residents having insurance problems after flash flood'
Savona residents having insurance problems after flash flood
Some homeowners in the community of Savona, B.C. say they're being told by their insurance companies they're not fully covered for all damages caused by last week's flash flood. Rumina Daya reports.

Some residents of a B.C. community hit by damaging flash floods a week ago say their insurance companies will only partially cover them or won’t cover them at all.

It remains unclear if the owners of about 20 homes in Savona, B.C., will have access to government support.

Emmett Anderson had just started a planned rebuild of his Savona home after a fire caused by a lightning strike two years ago.

Click to play video: 'Flash flooding hits Savona, B.C.'
Flash flooding hits Savona, B.C.

He was about to install footings for the new home when the flood swept through, inundating the site with mud.

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Now, he said his insurance policy won’t cover thousands of dollars in damage to the under-construction property.

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“I’m kind of confused, and I don’t really know what I’m paying for anymore,” he said.

“I’ve had to hire legal counsel just to get me through it because I don’t know how to deal with these people, I’m a blue-collar guy.”

The community of just over 500 people was hit by flash floods on June 30.

The powerful storm shut down part of Highway 1 and the rail corridor, and regional district officials estimate the flooding damaged as many as 10 per cent of homes.

Lindsay Armitage said she was stunned to learn her family was not fully covered by her insurance policy. The company, Westland, told Global News it was confident its adviser followed all internal policies.

“I went to them to protect my home. I trusted them. I paid them thousands and thousands of dollars. More than they are giving me for this,” she said.

The regional district, meanwhile, is anxiously waiting to see if the province will contribute disaster assistance funds. Electoral Area J Director Mike Grenier said it submitted an application the day after Canada Day.

Click to play video: 'Canada’s extreme weather events costing billions, but what can be done?'
Canada’s extreme weather events costing billions, but what can be done?

“Something like this flash flood event, people are hoping the government can come and wrap around whatever limited insurance they have — people’s basements were filled up with mud four or five feet,” he said.

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B.C. Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness Bowinn Ma was not available for an on-camera interview. In a statement, her ministry said Disaster Financial Assistance is intended for “large-scale unforeseen disasters which are not insurable.”

Grenier said he feels like the Savona flood should qualify.

“To the folks who live in Savona … this is a disaster,” he said.

“And I would hope that our province would recognize that disasters happen in big communities and in little communities, and we need help.”

Meanwhile, the financial hole is growing each day for Anderson.

His insurance company, Intact Financial Corporation, tells Global News its teams are actively working on the file.

— with files from Rumina Daya

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