Omaha antique mall owner frustrated with denied flood insurance

Published: Dec. 21, 2020 at 6:45 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A large and popular antique mall south of Omaha isn’t open for holiday shopping. The pandemic hurts but that’s not the reason for the doors to be closed.

Hit by floods before the owner of Finders Keepers found flood insurance before the last one hit in May 2019.

Alicia Chrastil antique store owner said, “With the insurance money we could repair the building so its sellable or we could open up.”

Alicia Chrastil paid $2,600 for an auto owners flood policy two months before floodwater broke into the antique mall.

Alicia Chrastil said, “We assumed that we had flood insurance.”

The policy dated May 2, 2019, and the flood didn’t hit until almost a month later.

But after buying that expensive flood insurance and submitting a claim she’s been riding a paperwork merry go round.

Now Auto Owners denied Alicia’s claim because coverage can’t start during a flood in progress.

Les robins, her brother said, “They have rules to protect themselves from what? People like Alicia who have catastrophic events with they have a flood. So instead of protecting themselves why don’t they protect the people they are serving?”

A FEMA email states although it receded from its record crest in March the Missouri River remained in a flooded condition through June that year. So even though Alicia paid for flood insurance her antique mall wasn’t covered.

“I hate seeing it like this, I’m embarrassed I take pride in ownership of this place,” said Alicia.

COVID concerns prevent a flood sale but the mortgage and other bills haven’t stopped so finding flood insurance may not help Alicia keep her business.

“The perfect Christmas would be for FEMA to realize we need to pay these people,” said Alicia.

The owner of Finders Keepers has filed a lawsuit against Auto Owners Insurance for denying her flood claim. A company spokesman says because of litigation he won’t comment.

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