Insurance company denies city couple’s claim for flood damage

Diane Crocker
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Fred Wall prepares to empty a bucket of water he bailed from the basement of his home at 252 O'Connell Dr. on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2013.

CORNER BROOK — Geraldine Wall was holding on to hope Thursday that the City of Corner Brook would do something to help her and her husband Fred clean up the basement of their home.

The basement of the Walls’ 252 O’Connell Dr. home was flooded Tuesday when the brook that runs between Woodman’s Road and Rivervale Road overflowed sending water and snow down over Woodman’s Road and towards the Walls’ home.

Their property borders on Woodman’s Road and the force of the water pushed the snow into their driveway on that side. The water rose halfway up their basement door, and before settling back, flooded their basement.

On Thursday afternoon Wall said she was “not very good.”

Earlier in the day she and her husband were informed by their insurance company that the flood was not covered.

Wall said they were told the water came from outside the home and that they should have had a drain in the basement.

“You could have had a hundred drains in the basement, it wouldn’t have made a bit of difference,” said Wall. “But they don’t buy that.”

Since the flooding Wall has also been in contact with the city.

“I’m just hoping the city will take some responsibility,” she said. “I’m not too optimistic, but who knows, maybe I’ll be surprised.”

She said the city dumps snow on the corner of O’Connell and Woodman’s all the time and that snow is what she believes prevented the water from running off.

“I don’t know if that will constitute liability or not.”

Mike Dolter, the chief administrative officer for the city, responded to an interview request by email to say that he was in the process of reviewing the details and circumstances and was not in a position to speak on the matter Thursday.

In the meantime, the Walls continue to clean up.

With two big industrial dehumidifiers going in the basement, Wall said “we’re getting it dried up pretty well, but you can imagine the smell from stale water.”

She said they had to throw out a lot things, and noted the water filled the bottom drawer of a filing cabinet and of a bureau.

“There’s water everywhere, it’s not a pretty picture.”

And she was still concerned for the fate of the furnace.

“It’s working now, but he told us that there’s no telling how long it will work because there was so much water in the firepot,” said Wall of the repairman’s assessment. She said they were told that the firepot is lined with bricks and when they get wet they disintegrate.

“We’re just hoping and praying that it doesn’t go until we get everything cleared up.”

Geographic location: Corner Brook, Rivervale Road

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Recent comments

  • Henry
    January 10, 2014 - 18:13

    Environment Agency Whistleblowers speaking out:

  • dave
    January 10, 2014 - 10:58

    typical insurance company. brutal

  • Lorraine
    January 10, 2014 - 10:02

    I'm so very sorry to hear about this. I hope things work out for you both. With the floods we had here in Calgary back in June 2013, I know so many people affected by the water. And insurances did not cover over land flooding. Such a shame you have to go through this. I hope things work out for you both. A big heart felt hug to you from me in Calgary. I may live here in Calgary, but my heart will always be home in Corner Brook.

  • bob
    January 10, 2014 - 08:54

    Wow, what insureance company was that so I know not to ever have a policy with them? Seriously, if the insurance company did not make having a drain in the basement a requirment before the home insurance policy was granted (like they make you verify you wood stove is CSA approved and installed properly), how can they now make it a condition for granting their claim?? Either they are covered for flood insurance or they are not. If the insurance company did not want to pay out a flooding claim, they should have checked for a drain in the house before they started taking the money from the Walls. Just another disgusting way for an insurance company to rob the customer of the coverage they have already paid for!!! Please let us know what insurance company this was??

  • rworried
    January 10, 2014 - 06:33

    If I were you I would certainly fight with your insurance for coverage and failing that, I would certainly change insurance companies, they want your money but don't want you to ever make a claim.