Burin Peninsula residents have once again displayed their ability to rally around their ‘own’ (fellow residents) in a time of need.
Hurricane Igor dropped over 200 millimetres of rain on most areas of the peninsula in September, along with high winds, and caused millions of dollars in damage not only to highway and road infrastructure but also residents’ homes and properties.
Hardest hit areas were St. Bernard’s-Jacques Fontaine, Lawn-St. Lawrence, Beau Bois near Marystown, Fox Cove-Mortier, Petit Forte road and even Golden Sands Resort on the Winterland Road.
Church/service organizations and other family/community members have stepped up to the plate over and over again to help.
But there were homeowners who experienced terrible damage to their homes all over the peninsula, with flooded basements and more.
Most of these residents thought when they went to local insurance companies to insure their homes, they would be provided a policy that would cover external flooding damage.
But no. The term they’re hearing is ‘flood damage is not covered in your policy’.
It’s devastating to now think all the money needed to repair or replace this damage, not really of their own making, will have to come out of their own funds. It’s difficult enough when you’re still employed, but what about the elderly, retired or those on fixed incomes?
Homeowners are told by mortgage lenders they must have insurance protection on their homes and vehicles, or they won’t qualify for needed financing. Insurance companies, in turn, have a monopoly in providing the coverage homeowners think they are getting.
Most people are lucky enough to escape such damage over their lifetimes, but when the need is there these companies are failing their clients.
Perhaps homeowners were told about ‘flood insurance’ coverage when they purchased, but if the rates are excessive in their minds then how can owners buy this needed coverage.
The provincial and federal governments have to step up to the forefront in this, as was done when Chantal ravaged the Placentia-Argentia area in 2007.
Newfoundlanders are resilient people, that’s true. But to be resilient you need some support from the authorities, who have done a wonderful with highway infrastructure. However, they now must become the ‘last resort’ for affected homeowners.