Chief executive officer of Community Bridges, Ray Cancico, heads up a flood recovery information session Thursday at the Pajaro Village Community Room in Watsonville. —Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

WATSONVILLE—When filing an insurance claim for damage incurred during the recent storms, property owners are advised never to use the word “flood.” 

Insurance companies—driven by profit and therefore disinclined to part with their money—typically categorically deny claims for flood damage. That was among the advice dispensed at a public session in Watsonville Thursday afternoon sponsored by Community Bridges.

Amy Bach of United Policyholders—an advocacy group for the public—says that instead, storm victims should adjust their language to a cause that is covered by insurance. This can include describing a hole caused by a branch torn loose by heavy wind that let in water. Or say that wind-driven rain made entry into one’s house.

The session was one of two public meetings the organization held on Thursday. An additional one will be today at the Mountain Community Resource Center in Felton at 4pm at 6134 Highway 9.

The meetings were a way to tell the public that there are many resources available Countywide, and that knowing how to speak to insurance companies is crucial to recovery, says Community Bridges spokesman Tony Nuñez. 

This begins with reading and understanding one’s policy before calling their insurance company, and being polite but firm with agents and adjusters.

Renters and property owners who suffered damage during the recent storms and flooding—or who find themselves in such a situation in the future—should take photos and video of the damage, Bach said.

If a claim is denied, policyholders can turn to a private adjuster or find information at

“It’s always good to get your own opinion before you give up or decide what to do,” Bach says. 

Also at the informational session was La Manzana Community Resources—a program of Community Bridges—which is offering help with filing claims and case management as well as cleaning supplies for people whose residences were damaged. 

To see or hear video and audio recordings of the meetings, visit

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General assignment reporter, covering nearly every beat. I specialize in feature stories, but equally skilled in hard and spot news. Pajaronian/Good Times/Press Banner reporter honored by CSBA.


  1. Do these people think the insurance companies are stupid? Filing a false or misleading insurance claim is insurance fraud. Amy Bach you are providing misleading info to citizens epically seniors
    FEMA flood insurance is separate from homeowners insurance. The insurance companies know a mandatory evacuation orders were issued on the dates the claims were filed for flooding. Don’t commit insurance fraud!

  2. i was told i had to get flood insurance when i bought my home in Pajaro Village in 2015. I did. i have since changed carriers to get a less expensive rate. i pay $675 a year. the city mandates that any residential property you purchase must have flood insurance.
    I contacted 5 other homeowners to attend the meeting. The meeting was poorly run and was quite disorganized. but it at least had important information.
    I relayed the fact that our community college in Aptos will take in flood evacuees with small pets. the staging area is in parking lot K on Soquel . As a community college trustee, I am proud that our college is helping as a temporary shelter in this crisis.


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