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Appeals process begins for man fighting for insurance money

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WALKER - A man who tore his house down is battling with FEMA and his insurance company for the money he says he deserves.

Paul Ortego told 2 On Your Side Friday he'd soon be filing an appeal with FEMA. He's been staring at a pile of dirt on his two-acre property for months since he doesn't have the money to rebuild the flood-damaged home he tore down.

"If I could pay two mortgages I'd be building right now," said Ortego.

About a year ago Ortego received a letter in the mail from Livingston Parish Floodplain Administrator Chuck Vincent. It says, after his dwelling received substantial damage of more than 50 percent of the value of the home and was determined as irreparable, uninhabitable and should be condemned and demolished.

"You got one option, that's bulldoze," said Ortego.

Monday morning, a FEMA representative stopped by his property for his monthly criteria check and handed over some paperwork including a 90-day reminder notice. If he's not out of his Manufactured Housing Unit in a "timely manner" he'll owe $1,056 a month.

Ortego says his flood insurance didn't offer him an appropriate amount to tear down his home and rebuild. For months, he's been fighting for what he says is his.

He's working to organize a list of documentation to file an appeal with FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program. It's his last hope.

"And if the answer is no, what do you do then?" he said.

Ortego is not yet ready to part with his property he's worked for and paid off.

The Proof of Loss for NFIP claims has been extended until December 31, 2017 for damages incurred from the August 2016 floods



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