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Sandy victims slighted by flood insurance loophole

An exclusion in some flood insurance policies is causing big problems for Superstorm Sandy victims who are still struggling to rebuild. Claims are being denied because of a provision in many policies

News 12 Staff

Jul 22, 2013, 11:40 PM

Updated 3,964 days ago

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Sandy victims slighted by flood insurance loophole

An exclusion in some flood insurance policies is causing big problems for Superstorm Sandy victims who are still struggling to rebuild.

Claims are being denied because of a provision in many policies that doesn't cover damages caused by "earth movement," even when that movement was caused by flooding.

Stephen Parke is a Sandy victim who's dealing with the problem. His Freeport home was wrecked when 8 feet of water rushed in during the storm, warping floors, damaging walls and destroying thousands of dollars in personal possessions.

He was shocked when he got a letter from his insurance company that insisted the damage was caused not by flooding, but by earth movement. Adjustors told Parke that the waters seeped through flaws in his sidewalk, a scenario not covered by his policy.

"A 50-foot dock came over those piles, came across, hit the house, spun around, hit the garage, wiped out my art studio, wiped out everything, and they take a picture of this sidewalk and say it was pre-existing," an exasperated Parke told News 12.

Parke appealed to FEMA for help, but was told the same thing. In a statement, FEMA said, "The Standard Flood Insurance Policy only covers direct physical loss to buildings by floods. By law, the SFIP does not cover earth moment including destabilization caused by nearby flooding."

Parke's home is set to be demolished tomorrow. He says he will fight through appeals until he gets the money to rebuild, because he and his family want to stay in Freeport.


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