Elizabeth Fraser · CBC News 

At the beginning of May, blustery winds lifted Richard and Judy Ingram’s cottage right off its substructure — slamming the building into the waters of Masquapit Lake.

The incident damaged everything inside the building, which has been in the family for three generations.

“We couldn’t get into the door, the water was still too deep around it,” said Judy Ingram.

Within a week, the couple filed an insurance claim, in which they said wind was the main cause of the damage.

But an insurance adjuster told them their claim probably wouldn’t be covered because they didn’t have flood insurance.

“He was talking water, I was talking wind … I know I don’t have any flood insurance,” said Richard Ingram.

“My issue was not flood, my issue was strictly wind.”

It’s been several weeks and they still haven’t heard back from their insurance company.

“We certainly can’t afford to repair everything,” said Judy Ingram.

“We’re both pensioners and we have what we have. There’s no chance we’re going to get a big bonus at the end of the year to cover these costs.”

The couple said repairs inside the cottage could cost them at least $40,000. The estimate includes rebuilding walls, putting in new doors and flooring — but not lifting the cottage back onto its substructure.

He said most of the damage happened in PC ridings, and figured many of the people living in those areas would contact their MLAs.

“In order for us to get the message out, we want to talk to Blaine Higgs and say, ‘Can you help us get in touch with these people?'” he said.

“We don’t have a big following, we have no following right now. If I posted something on Facebook that said ‘But For the Wind task force,’ nobody would know.”

Wind claims denied

Over the past few weeks, he’s seen 23 wind claims that have been denied by different insurance companies.

“Some people have cottages with mortgages on them and their cottages are completely destroyed, so they’re looking for help,” Burns said.

“They don’t know where to turn to and that’s why we’re trying to help, to give them some guidance.”

The group wants to bring these claims back to insurance companies so they can have another look.

Mac Burns is a retired insurance agent who has gathered a group of retired insurance professionals to help people like the Ingrams. (CBC)

“We do think there’s strength in numbers that the more vocal we are, the more support we have, that the insurance companies will look more favourably on it,” Burns said.

“We want to go to head office and say, ‘Here’s your policy holders, here’s their situation let’s look at it again.'”

A public meeting will take place Friday at 7 p.m. at Douglas Harbor Community Centre and in Jemseg on Sunday at 2 p.m. for cottage and homeowners interested in getting a second opinion.

Burns said he has faced some pushback from the Insurance Bureau of Canada, which  represents insurance companies.

He said the organization has concerns about what his group is doing in reaching out to help the public.

But he’s not willing to give up.

“If we didn’t think we had an opportunity to get claims paid, we wouldn’t be volunteering our time,” he said.

“Getting it jacked up is going to be the biggest cost and if they can do that without destroying the roof maybe we can move ahead but if it cracks in two we’ll just have to have a bonfire,” said Judy.

Although they haven’t heard back from their insurance company, they may get some help combing through their policy from a group of retired insurance professionals calling themselves “But for the Wind.”

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