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Owner charged for flood bill when covered by insurance

Seven On Your Side
December 9, 2011 8:23:58 PM PST
More misery left over from Hurricane Irene. This time - a homeowner stuck with a $14,000 insurance bill. Just one problem, he should've been covered.

In fact he's been paying for flood insurance for the past 12 years. It was time for 7 On Your Side to throw this submerged homeowner a life line.

Barricades versus Bay in East Rockaway, the Bay prevailed.

Hurricane Irene turned Adams Street into a river, complete with rapids to paddle.

"If you saw the water when it was really coming through it was really scary," said John Leban.

It would get scarier when the Leban family found out the flood insurance they had been paying for was no good.

"I said he must be wrong, so we looked at the coverage and it said the number, I knew it was the house next door. So right then we knew it was a problem,"

John and Diane Leban own the house next to theirs.

Since both are in a flood zone they're required by law to buy flood insurance - to cover damage like this.

The problem is here - their flood insurance policy has the wrong address listed. It reads "16" Adams Street instead of "18."

"The damage is worth $14,000 and um now the insurance company doesn't wanna pay because the address was the wrong address," adds Leban.

Travelers Insurance Company has been billing the Leban's for two separate policies covering the same house since 1999.

John says Travelers offered to reimburse him 6 years of back premiums, about $5,000. But that wouldn't pay for all the flood damage.

Attempts to get anyone to help made them even sicker.

"$14,000 worth of damage and they don't wanna pay that they're saying we had no insurances. If they didn't make a mistake in the address our policy would've been enforced and it would have been fine," he adds.

We appealed to Travelers, but the insurance wouldn't budge from their original offer.

Next we tried the Leban's mortgage lender - HSBC. As part of their mortgage arrangement, it's the bank's job to pay his flood insurance.

The bank didn't let all that money go down the drain, thanking us for bringing it to their attention and agreeing to cover all the damages to their property.

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