The City of Windsor has turned down most of the sewage backup claims it has received from residents.
Claims submitted for over 1,600 homes, whose basements were waterlogged by the torrential rains and flooding last August, were denied by the city.
Of the claims, only six were made by individual homeowners, Windsor Star reported. The rest were filed by nine insurers and insurance adjusters who paid settlements to 1,615 of their clients and then sought reimbursements from the city.
The financial impact of paying each and every sewer backup claim could be staggering for Windsor. Anecdotal reports say basement damages in the area could average $20,000 per home or more, which could work out to more than $32 million in total.
Windsor’s annual budget for sewer backup claims is set at $3 million.
City officials do not believe they will have to pay out taxpayer money for the claims.
“We just don’t feel that’s the case, because we don’t see any evidence of negligence on our part,” said city manager of risk and insurance Dana Palandino.
“We’ve already responded and we’ve denied them all,” Palandino added, noting that there were a few exceptions made for those with special circumstances.
“For the vast majority, if not all of them, it’s the city’s position that our system was working as intended and it just was overwhelmed with water,” said Palandino.
More than 6,000 homes were damaged from the rainfall-induced flooding last year, which ran from August 28 to 29. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, Windsor saw $124 million in insured damage resulting from the rain.