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Family seeks relief from hurricane damages

By Dawn Burleigh

LITTLE CYPRESS — When one buys a home, they do not anticipate a tree falling on the house just two years later and turning their world upside down.

For Jacob and Heather Loiacano, Hurricane Laura left them with an unending nightmare of red tape and insurance runarounds.

With two young daughters, ages 4 and 6, the family evacuated in August and returned to discover trees had fallen on the wrought iron fence.

“It took us two hours to cut through the pine trees to get to our house,” Jacob Loiacano said. “Then we saw the oak tree on the house.”

The damage from the tree caused rain waters to pour through the second floor to the first floor underneath. The kitchen flooring buckled and had to be removed. A moisture barrier has been placed to cover the floor as the family awaits the insurance company to settle.

The rooms damaged on the second floor were the children’s rooms. The girls have since had to relocate to a dining room area converted to a bedroom while the battle with the insurance company continues.

The heat from outside and now the cold weather this weekend are just some of the discomforts the family has had to deal with while asking the insurance s=company to pay to return the house to the state it was in the day before the storm.

Emoree, 4, was stung by a wasp while on the family’s couch.

“We had wasps in the house,” Heather said. “We never had wasps in the house before and there were so many. We never found the hive.”

“I was stung on my toe,” Emoree said.

Three months after the storm, UPC Insurance offered the family $10,000.

A public adjuster was hired and estimated the damages at $60,000.

“The is cracked and broken framing,” Attorney Shaun W. Hodge said. “We have an engineer report showing there is $240,000 estimated for repairs. We gave the insurance company 60 day notice and have had no response at this time. They have about two weeks to go.”

In 2018, the family purchased the home and was essentially a brand new home.

“In August of 2018 we bought the house,” Heather said. “They had redone everything after Hurricane Harvey.”

The situation has been stressful for her.

“This has been going on for six months and we can’t touch any of it because it is still in litigation,” Heather said.

“The insurance company is trying to get us to do patchwork,” Jacob said. “We just want to get back to the day we bought it.”

The family continues to live on the first floor of their home as Orange County faces the coldest weekend of the winter.

Jacob is also feeling the stress of the living conditions as he wants to work on the house but cannot.

“You come home to a house you are proud of and now it’s a mudhole,” Jacob said.

He also added that in purchasing the house, he went with the insurance company that gave him the lowest price.

“I went with the best price and got the cheapest service,” Jacob said. “If more held insurance companies accountable, maybe others would not have to go through this.”