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Flood season brings headaches for homeowners and insurers alike

This year, there have been floods and water damage in many parts of Latvia, causing headaches to building owners. Insurers have indicated that the consequences for real estate will be estimated over coming weeks, but not everyone will receive compensation.

Gatis bought a property by the Ogre River two years ago and experienced his first flood at the end of last year. In December, several residential houses were flooded in Ogre, including his.

"It's interesting, because when we bought, of course, no one advertised or told us about it, but the neighbor was quite surprised that someone bought the property at all," the man revealed.

The ground floor of the house was flooded, the boiler and household appliances were damaged.

The property is insured, so he applied to the insurer for flood damage, but still has not received compensation.  

"Now we have all kinds of debates. At the moment, they have denied us the first claim, which we will challenge further. They say they cannot insure if there have been floods in the region more than three times in the last 20 years," Gatis said.

Jānis Abāšins, the president of the Latvian Insurers 'Association, said: "The first thing is to read what you really bought and take into account in which areas floods may occur, to see in which areas flood risk is covered or not covered." 

Parts of Ogre district are well know to be susceptible to flooding, he pointed out, a problem compounded by the construction of properties that sometimes are not in keeping with building and zoning regulations.

The president of the Latvian Insurers' Association said: "It is clear that insurers are aware that if a person comes to them from the city or settlement X and wants to insure a property on Flood Street 1 where the property floods every two years, the insurer will most likely tell him: "We won't insure against the risk of floods."

The association emphasized that the flood season in Latvia has only just begun, and estimates of the damage will be available only in a few weeks.

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