City of Portland Reverses Course on Homeowner Flood Damage
The purchase of a home is one of the most important investments a family can make. That’s one of the reasons that homeownership is a cornerstone of the American Dream, along with entrepreneurship.
Most home and business owners take extra special care to ensure that the investment they make are protected from avoidable risks. Homeowners insurance is a critical part of safeguarding the equity that families hope to earn through purchasing their own homes. Similarly, commercial insurance looks out for the equity that business owners put into their ventures.
Some home and business owners in Northeast Portland recently realized the need to protect their investments. In mid-March, a water main owned by the City of Portland failed. The result was that homes and businesses were inundated by millions of gallons of water. Businesses in the neighborhood lost revenue right away, because the incident caused them to be closed. Electrical shutoffs related to the flooding threatened the perishable food of restaurants in the area.
Those kinds of potential losses can be devastating for small business owners. Their businesses often times keep paying employees, even though they aren’t generating revenue because they are closed. In order to re-open, they have to pay for cleanup and restoration, which can also be a pretty significant cost. Restaurants in particular must be restored to a sterile environment, meaning that their remodel or remediation costs tend to be higher. On top of all that, the actual building that the business is located in can suffer water damage or loss.
Overall, some residents faced repairs of up to tens of thousands of dollars. That included flood and mold-related damages to their basements and garages.
One would assume that the City of Portland was willing to take responsibility for the damage resulting from its infrastructure malfunctioning. However, its risk management office initially told residents the city would not pay for it and was not at fault. Representatives of the city told affected property owners that they determined through research there was no negligence on its part.
To take that denial of responsibility one step further, the city sent letters to the homeowners advising them to file claims with their insurance companies. But because those properties were not located in flood plains, those homeowners did not have flood insurance.
Not surprisingly, some of those homeowners said that response prompted them to consider filing lawsuits against the city. An official admitted in a press interview that the city didn’t see the leak coming and that these kinds of incidents are unavoidable.
All of the bad publicity that resulted from the angry homeowners and business owners telling their stories resulted in a happy ending for them. They got a welcome bit of relief in mid-May, when the city announced that it was willing to pay for the damages that resulted from the flooding caused by its water line bursting.
Although those property and business owners got lucky, most would agree that it’s best not to rely on politicians and the press to secure their investments. That’s why it really matters what kind of insurance coverage, and provider, you have.
Located in Beaverton, ABI Insurance offers free, no obligation quotes for personal and home insurance. For more information, you can go to the ABI Insurance website, https://abipdx.com/, or call 503-292-1580.