Local man says insurance claim denied, city won't help after flo - KPTV - FOX 12

Local man says insurance claim denied, city won't help after flooding damages home

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(Photo: Jeff Akin) (Photo: Jeff Akin)
WEST LINN, OR (KPTV) -

This time of year, Portland can be a stormy place and that's why so many people pay for homeowners insurance to protect them in case a tree falls on their house, or water suddenly appears at their front door.

But as the FOX 12 investigators found sometimes when disaster hits, your insurance company or even your city will lift a finger to help, and there may be nothing you can do about it.

"There were literally thousands of gallons of water pouring down the streets with nowhere to go but into our garage."

When a powerful storm hit on October 17, flooding was bad across the area, but perhaps nowhere worse than at Jeff Akin's West Linn home.

"I just saw this waterfall pouring down my yard, it was unbelievable. I had no idea what to do."

What Akin did was call the fire department which arrived in five minutes, but they didn't have the equipment to help.

The city showed up about 15 minutes later and within a half hour were able to clear away a clogged storm drain uphill from Akin's house.

Damage from the flooding was extensive. Pictures, momentos, a washer and dryer, even the family car, were ruined.

Akin said he thinks the damage is about $100,000.

"We had 13 dumpsters of stuff get carted off. Memories, dreams, drywall, fun, and appliances as well."

The next day, Akin called his insurance company. He had a good homeowners policy and paid his premiums, but he quickly learned his claim was denied because Akin said the agent told him, it was the city's fault.

"What am I supposed to do, get flood insurance? I live on a hill. Why would I get flood insurance? And they actually even said if we'd had it, this event wouldn't have been covered under this."

Akin then contacted the City of West Linn.

West Linn's argument sent to Akin in an email said they had appropriate staffing and weren't negligent in any way. 

But no matter who's fault it is, Akin and his family are out memories that can't be replaced and a home they can't even use.

"My family doesn't have hot water, we don't have a place where we can eat. I've had to take time off work. When a city can't take care of the residents that live there, when an insurance can't step up, where is someone supposed to turn?"

Akin has now been in contact with the mayor of West Linn and is hoping the city will eventually come around, but if both the city and his insurance company continue to deny his claim, Akin said his only option may be to hire a lawyer.

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