Woman fights to rebuild home after storm - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Woman fights to rebuild home after storm


One woman has been struggling to rebuild her dream home since Superstorm Sandy.

The city said it's been destroyed, but her insurance said the damage was not caused by the storm.

Last October, Superstorm Sandy hit the Connecticut coastline.

Along the Milford shoreline, people can be heard working on their homes, but others are surrounded by nothing more than a sea breeze and plywood, standing largely untouched over the past 9 months.

"I have really tried to go at it from every angle and I just keep hitting dead ends," said Jackie Campbell about her home on East Broadway.

The home has not been touched. Eyewitness News met Campbell three days after Sandy's surge swept through her first floor. On Thursday, it stands as an empty shell.

"I had just had all these floors put down after (Hurricane) Irene," Campbell said.

The insurance company covered all of her belongings destroyed by flood waters on the first floor, but claims the house itself wasn't damaged.

"He even said there was no evidence of any high velocity waters or flooding in the neighborhood," Campbell said. "And as you can see it still looks like Armageddon down here."

According to the report, the engineer hired by Middlesex Mutual said the physical evidence at the property shows the building was not damaged by floodwaters associated with the flood event of Oct. 29th, 2012, which is the date Superstorm Sandy hit. It goes on to say the damage is instead a result of long-term movement.

Campbell said many of her neighbors have had similar reports.

"Their insurance companies, engineers reports all make it sound like these are just old houses that all fell apart Oct. 29, having nothing to do with the hurricane," Campbell said.

To set the record straight, Campbell said she brought in her own engineer, who wrote that he has seen her home several times over the past few years, and concluded the cracking and damage currently seen is the direct result of Superstorm Sandy.

The city of Milford has also weighed in and deemed Campbell's home 64 percent damaged, which is well over their 50 percent threshold for a substantially damaged building.

Eyewitness News went to Middlesex Mutual for some answers and though they're part of Middleoak Insurance in Middletown, the station was directed to a supervisor out of Florida. She couldn't speak to specifics on the case.

"Standard flood insurance policy covers direct physical damage. A community might deem a structure condemned, but the policy will pay only for the direct physical damage from the flood. It won't pay for the damage not caused by the flood," Middleoak Insurance told Eyewitness News. 

That means everything that was above the flood level wouldn't be covered, and that's leaving a lot of homeowners in a tough spot. Eyewitness News asked our state lawmakers about it when they came to speak to Milford residents about rebuilding.

"There are a lot of homeowners that are caught in a catch-22, the new standards require them to make changes that their insurance company won't pay for," said U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, (D-CT), on July 26. "A lot of the reason people haven't gotten back into their home is because the out of pocket after insurance costs are too much to be able to quickly rebuild. I think we have to take a look at that."

Murphy said he thinks congress should make some changes to the National Flood Insurance Program.

"This is all cracked from the house actually shifting," Campbell said.

Campbell said she did get some money from insurance but not enough to cover rebuilding the house to new Federal Emergency Management Agency storm guidelines.

She said she's already had one appeal denied by FEMA, and as long as she keeps appealing, she can't touch the house or start to rebuild, while still paying a mortgage. She and her kids have been living in a rental, but her FEMA assistance for that ends this month.

"I have to move on with my life," Campbell said. "I have two teenagers and college is around the corner."

So for now the sign is out  in front of her home and Campbell said she's ready to rebuild, using money from her own pocket.

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