Residents learn the insurance ropes

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After the presentation, Houghtaling and Jeff Major, one of the nation’s leading forensic building estimators and a claims consultant, answered questions from the audience. The line for the podium stretched to the back of the room, and the two took questions for over an hour.

One woman drew big laughs with her story about her insurance follies. First she explained that she has a flood insurance policy stating that she has coverage on contents in her “basement and above.” “When I presented that to the [agent], he said, ‘Well, that’s just an error. We’d never give you contents in the basement,’” she said.

As if that wasn’t enough, when her adjuster was assessing the wind damage to her three-story home, she pointed out sea foam on the roof. The adjuster said that it was due to flooding. “I said, ‘Excuse me, but it’s not on record that the water was that high,’” she recounted. “‘That’s got to be from wind.’”

Other residents said that insurance companies said they would not cover things such as the damage caused by sewage-tinged floodwater. They said they hoped Houghtaling’s advice would help them in their insurance battles. “There is so much information that’s out there, and forums like these are needed,” said resident and local real estate agent Joe Sinnona.

Some said that the information would have been helpful months ago. “This was the most help out of all of the meetings and City Council meetings I’ve been too,” said Long Beach resident Laura DeVito. “I wish they would’ve done this before.”

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