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Calgary hailstorm victims ‘very, very frustrated’ by slow pace of damage repair

Click to play video 'Calgary hailstorm victims ‘very, very frustrated’ by slow pace of damage repair' Calgary hailstorm victims ‘very, very frustrated’ by slow pace of damage repair
WATCH: People hit hard by the big June hailstorm in northeast Calgary rallied Tuesday outside the premier’s office in the city’s downtown. They say the hail damage is leaving them vulnerable to the coming winter storms. As Gil Tucker reports, they want immediate help from the province.

People hit hard by the devastating June 13 hailstorm in northeast Calgary rallied outside the premier’s office at the McDougall Centre in downtown Calgary on Tuesday.

They say the hail damage is leaving them vulnerable to the coming winter storms, and they want immediate help from the province.

Almost two months after getting slammed by the biggest hailstorm in Canadian history, the damage is still widespread throughout several neighbourhoods.

Read more: Severe weather events worsening in Calgary: hail suppression expert

Windows are boarded up, waiting for glass to be replaced, and holes in siding and on roofs remain unrepaired.

About 70,000 insurance claims have been filed, totalling about $1.2-billion worth of damage to homes and vehicles.

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Many people at the rally said they’re disappointed in the response from their insurance companies.

“Nobody answers your phone calls, nobody replies to your emails,” Saima Jamal said. “You have no idea how much payout we’re getting, if it will be sufficient to even fix all the windows.”

Read more: Nenshi exploring disaster relief funding as Calgary cleans up after severe storm

Promila Sharma says she’s waiting for insurance money to cover extensive repairs to her roof and windows.

“[I’m] very, very frustrated,” Sharma said. “We need more support. They should do it ASAP, as early as possible, because the weather is changing.”

Gurmeet Nijjar says he’s concerned about the widespread damage to the siding on his house.

“[I’m] most worried now that winter is going to hit very soon and my house is vulnerable for further damage, because there’s no protection on my house left,” Nijjar said.
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The rally was organized by the Hailstorm Action Committee, a northeast community group that is asking the provincial government to provide interest-free loans of $5,000 to people hit by the storm.

“And we want to see if the premier can help us to make sure that our [insurance] premiums do not spike up just because we’ve had a natural disaster,” committee leader Khalil Karbani said.
“As it is, [the premiums] are quite high, anything higher than this — with the pandemic, with the economic climate — it’s going to hurt us more and more and more.”

Premier Jason Kenney was not at the McDougall Centre during the rally, but told reporters at an event in Camrose on Tuesday that his government is taking the concerns about hail damage seriously.

“We will be there to speak up for people if they have any evidence that insurance companies are not honouring their obligation to policyholders,” Kenney said. “We will read the riot act to those insurance companies.”

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Addressing the crowd at the rally, Karbani appealed to the premier.

“Please, come and help us. Hear us and just keep in mind that we are going to be here for a while,” Karbani said. “We are not going anywhere.”