Homeowner affected by East Oahu storms 'fed up' with flood insurance policies

(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)

NIU VALLEY, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For many Hawaii families, surviving last weekend's historic storm was only the first battle.

Head of the Hawaii Public Housing Authority, Hakim Ouansafi, believes some companies are taking advantage of flood victims and wants the public to be aware.

"If you don't have family here or friends that can give you shelter, you'll be applying for housing...you start discovering what 'covered' means," Ouansafi said. "Covered' means that we're gonna give you a little bit of money. It's up to you to come up with the rest."

At the storm's peak, he said 21 inches of water gushed through Ouansafi's Niu Valley home.

He said he was left disappointed and frustrated after seeking help from his insurance company.

"I spoke to their examiner, Liberty Mutual, and absolutely no care. They don't care," Ouansafi said.

Ouansafi said he's finding out that the maximum coverage for flood insurance doesn't cover much.

"The coverage is only $250,000 for a large home… [that] doesn't go anywhere," he said.

He said some cleanup companies quoted him up to $90,000 and he said dumpster bin rentals ran up to $1,500.

He's already filled his third bin.

"Just to clean up. This is not construction," Ouansafi said. "Then your insurance company says that's too much, we're not gonna pay for that."

Ouansafi and his wife are also learning that their flood insurance does not cover mold, counter tops, or anything damaged outside of the home.

"They said they cover from the wall to the wall. Anything from outside whether it's your yard, even a covered lanai, it has to have a solid wall," said his wife, Michele.

The Ouansafis said they are grateful for their safety and the help of their many friends and family members. However, they believe policies need to be changed because they know that other homeowners are facing the same problem.

"The federal government and other entities really need to look at the situation here in Hawaii...$250,000 does not rebuild you a home. And do not expect, if it's gonna cost $600,000 to rebuild, don't expect that people have $400,000 sitting."

Ouansafi also said that the fact that his insurance provider doesn't cover temporary living arrangements is a big problem — he says that his family will be displaced for at least another six months.

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