I am sorry to miss your workshop on “Flood Damage and Insurance” in Boulder yesterday, but I had a conflict. I was impacted by the flood when a drainage ditch behind my house overflowed. The original ditch was put in to keep our lot out of the 100 year flood plain from a small stream about a 1000 ft south. After our house and neighboring houses were built, the neighbors installed a culvert to fill in the ditch. The entrance to the culvert is just behind our property and has a grate at the entrance. This was approved by the city. When the flood occurred some of the water from the stream was diverted to the ditch and backed up at the culvert due to debris clogging the grate. The water knocked down our fence flowing into our backyard and then into our house causing about $75,000 of damage. At the time we assumed we were not covered by our homeowners insurance. This is what our insurance company told FEMA when we applied to FEMA. Then I received an e-mail from a lawyer saying that the case "Heller vs. Fire Insurance Exchange, a Division of Farmers Insurance Group” decided by the Colorado Supreme Court might change whether our homeowners insurance might apply to our situation. From the write up – “The court accepted the insurer’s definition of “surface water,” saying it is unambiguous. It is defined as melted snow, falling rain, rising springs or other forms of water that flows naturally on the Earth’s surface that does not follow any defined course or channel. But when man-made channels are constructed that direct water or divert the water’s natural path, the Court said, the water ceases to meet the definition of “surface water.” Thus the Heller’s property was not damaged by “surface water,” as the insurer had maintained”. Here are some references – (1) http://www.leagle.com/decision/19901806800P2d1006_11799 (2) http://annelandmanblog.com/2013/12/10/insurers-take-advantage-of-co-flood-victims-ignorance-of-key-court-case/ My question is do you think it would be worth while pursuing this with my insurance company and if nothing happens then go to the lawyer in the reference? Thank you very much. Neal Zaun

About The Expert

Amy Bach

Amy Bach has been a professional advocate for insurance policyholders since 1984 and an attorney since 1989. She co-founded United Policyholders in 1991 and serves as the organization's Executive Director and primary spokesperson; shaping and overseeing the Roadmap to Recovery™, Roadmap to Preparedness, and Advocacy and Action programs. She is a nationally recognized expert on insurance claim and legal matters; frequently interviewed in print and broadcast media, and the author of numerous publications including "The Disaster Recovery Handbook", "WISE UP: The Savvy Consumer's Guide to Buying Insurance" and consumer tips and guides in the UP Claim Help Library.  Recognized by Money Magazine as a Money Hero, Bach is in her eighth consecutive term as an official consumer representative to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and is a member of the Federal Advisory Committee on Insurance.