Tornado-hit Bergen resident urges people to review their insurance policies

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Neran Persaud says neighbors and community were more reliable in responding to devastating storm

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY — One of the Bergen-area residents whose property suffered extensive damage from the July 7 tornado-producing storm says neighbors and the surrounding community have been more reliable in providing support than governments local or provincial.

Neran Persaud, who is an employee of the Red Deer Regional Airport and who for about five years has lived on the rural property in the Bergen area, was working when the extreme weather hit, leveling a wooded area along the way , leveling fences as well as damaging and destroying several outbuildings. Fortunately, despite the loss of a few shingles, his house was largely spared and he was not forced to find alternative accommodation.

“The house was saved, although the forest just behind the house was completely demolished,” he said.

The Bergen tornado was given an EF-2 rating – zero being the weakest and five the strongest – by Environment and Climate Change Canada, which can mean winds ranging from 180 to 220 kilometers per hour. Wind speeds from the Bergen tornado were estimated to be around 180 to 190 kilometers per hour.

“I had a forest on my property. All these trees fell and damaged my whole fence,” he said, adding that shingles had been cut on a substantial part of the roof of a Quonset.

In addition, a strong and well-constructed two-horse shelter as well as a three-horse shelter were both torn from the ground by the fierce winds, he said, adding that a new metal barn was also essentially written off.

“These shelters were buried four feet in the ground with six-by-six pressure-treated poles, and it sucked them completely out of the ground,” he told the Albertan on Thursday, August 25, adding that the structures had been thrown about 23 meters (75 feet).

silver linings

As fate would have it, the horses had been brought to a neighbor’s property a week prior to help mow the grass a bit, Persaud said.

“So it was pretty much luck,” he said.

And he also rents his land to a cattle rancher, but the cattle – who were present at the time – got away with it unscathed. Acknowledging how much worse things could have gotten, Persaud said, “Now I tell people that I am the luckiest man in Canada.

But he didn’t feel so lucky to deal not only with insurance but also with the government.

“I had farm insurance, but they told me none of my outbuildings were covered,” he said.

While the patch of shingles on the house will at some point be replaced, Persaud said he was still going back and forth with his belayer on the Quonset.

“It’s tough,” he said when asked how the pieces of the storm’s fallout were picked up. “I mean, I do a 10-hour work day, then I go home and do another two or three hours.”

However, thanks to the help of the community, the recovery has at least progressed. The downed trees have been largely removed and a barbed wire portion of a fence has been rebuilt, he said.

“Community support has been great,” he said. “I just can’t say enough good things about the neighbors I have. They are some of the best people in the world. »

Support escape

Immediately after the storm, people rushed to offer help, he said.

“People brought food, people brought tools,” he said. “That Saturday, between 30 and 50 people showed up with hoes, buckets, skid steer loaders, chainsaws and I pulled the trees out of the fence and started fixing the barbed wire where it was. was necessary to herd the cattle. .”

Yet, work remains to be done.

“I have a section in my front pasture that hasn’t been repaired yet. I would like the county to fix this because it was their trees that fell and broke it, ”he said, adding that he had asked about two years ago that the trees be removed from selectively to allow better drainage and to prevent his property from being flooded in the event of snow. bottom or heavy rain falls because there is no ditch on its side of the road.

“Water has no place to go,” he said. “And those trees were in the way.”

Persaud said he was told the trees would be removed and replaced by a ditch when Bergen Road was built, but added that this never happened.

“The trees were left standing, and it was those same trees that fell and broke the fence,” he said.

When asked what kind of help he would like, he replied, “First of all, I would like Mountain View County to rebuild my fence that their trees broke.”

What’s more, the stand of trees on the hillside not only acted as an air filter – his allergies have flared up since they were felled – but also helped reduce the natural progression of erosion, he said. -he declares.

“Now I understand it’s private property,” he said. “But at least some help with planting trees and moving fallen trees would be helpful.”

“Insurance companies must be taken to task”

Perhaps one of the biggest takeaways from the ordeal is to make sure you fully understand your insurance policy and specifically what it covers – and what it doesn’t.

“I would advise everyone – having dealt with the insurance company here now – to check your policy,” he warned. “We all know that insurance companies try to get away with paying as little as possible. They have no problem taking your money.

At $300 a month, Persaud pointed out that over time, that’s a big change.

“If I had taken that money and put it away over the past five years, I would have had $18,000 in the bank,” he said. “It’s something people should look into. I sincerely believe that insurance companies should be reprimanded for what they don’t do after a disaster like this.

Since Persaud had agricultural insurance, he says he felt his outbuildings and their contents were covered, which turned out not to be the case.

“Review your policy,” he said. “Call your broker.”

If need be, call regularly to ask about your coverage, he said.

“Make them work for that money,” he said. “Half the time we get these policies and they’re written in language we don’t understand, even though there is legislation requiring insurance companies to write policies in plain, layman’s terms.”

Community more trusted than government

While Persaud appreciated seeing Jason Nixon, MP for Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre, personally visit the site to talk to residents, he said no one from the federal government came to ask questions or offer his support.

“When disaster strikes around the world, Canada and our federal government are always there to help,” he said. “(But) not one of those guys on the feds side showed up.”

Persaud said Red Deer-Mountain View MP Earl Dreeshen should have come out to speak with people, as should his provincial counterpart Nixon.

“It’s as if we were left alone. And I’m not the only one feeling this. I know the neighbors felt that.

When asked if the community and its neighbors proved to be more reliable in times of need than government officials, he replied, “Absolutely. You know, they have to have a committee to study everything in meetings to discuss what to do and how to do it. It is the people who live in this region who must help each other.

“We can’t depend on the government because it’s just having fun,” he said. “Except, of course, when it comes to taking your tax money.”


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