Constance Bay family battles floods and dementia, searching for answers
OTTAWA -- Some days are better for Melissa Lepage and her family, and other days not so much.
Lepage and her family have been forced out of their house in Constance Bay since April 2019, when flooding destroyed their home.
"It has to be condemned, the house," says Lepage. "The foundation is all damaged and cracked."
All she says her family has left is a kitchen table, a few chairs, and some dishes.
Lepage went to her insurance provider, Intact Insurance, following the disaster thinking her home was covered. Lepage says it was not until 10 months after the floods that she found out it was not the entire house.
"When I did speak to them the first time, I remember I was in Rona, and I was really crying because they turned around and said I was fully covered, and I’m not."
The family’s policy with Intact did not cover the specific damage suffered by the home’s foundation. Intact has offered roughly $121,000 to cover damage inside the home, damage to their belongings, storage costs, and accommodations. However, Lepage says none of that matters; what their insurance is offering is not enough. They need the money that would have covered the ruined foundation to tear down and rebuild their home first.
A full statement by Intact Insurance regarding the Lepage family’s situation can be found at the end of this article.
Around the same time the 2019 flooding hit Constance Bay, Lepage’s husband, Sylvain, was diagnosed with a progressive, life threatening form of dementia. At the same time, Lepage cares for her two sons, both of whom live with cognitive disabilities. Lepage is also the only person working to support the family, as a pet groomer.
"Some days, I don’t know where I’m going or what I’m doing, but I have to keep on thinking positive because they look up to me. If mom’s not doing okay then something’s wrong," says Lepage.
Her family’s story has spread through the community, with a GoFundMe page started to help alleviate the financial burden. The goal is to raise $100,000.
"Every little bit helps that they do," says Lepage, who despite all the struggles only wants her family to return to a home that they can call theirs. "And I haven’t lost faith that one day we’re going to have a home."
Statement provided by Intact Insurance:
“We have been working closely with our customer through this claim and will continue to do so. We understand this is a difficult time and we want to offer as much support as we are able.
Intact has offered a full cash settlement for items that are covered under their policy. This includes contents, building and additional living expenses. We have offered to issue the remainder of the settlement funds to alleviate financial hardship, while we continue the claims process. Additionally, given the current situation that our customer faces, we have extended additional support by continuing to provide living expenses.
Intact is providing coverage for all items that are covered under the customer’s policy resulting from the 2019 flooding. Intact was provided an engineering report from the customer, which confirmed that damage to the foundation existed prior to the flood. This type of pre-existing damage is not covered under the customer’s policy or other property insurance policies in the marketplace. In addition, the customer’s policy also specifically excludes damage to foundations resulting from ground water.
We have been in touch with our customer to explain this in a more fulsome way and discuss next steps and will continue to work with her.”