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Light Rain,67°
Sunday, September 21, 2014
Ask the Architect
The insurance company runaround
Monte Leeper

Q. I’m getting the runaround from all ends trying to repair my storm damage. My insurance company hasn’t been realistic. Its adjuster and engineer are downplaying my claim, saying the damage is “pre-existing.” They even rejected my architect’s letter, saying I need an engineer. Is there someone I can turn to who knows how to get through this mess? It has really taken a toll on me and my family, health-wise and emotionally.

A. There doesn’t seem to be one individual with all the answers. I’ve discovered, from talking with officials and homeowners during this recovery, that many of my clients are equally frustrated, but persisting has made them amazing at finding answers to the kinds of problems you described, from many resources. There have been legislative forums to share results, and these will hopefully be ongoing.

I’ve reached some conclusions, but have many unanswered questions as well. For example, where did the donated money go that was intended for hurricane victims? Fundraising organizers said “every dime would go to victims of the storm.” Since very few people donated dimes, the money apparently went only to a few neighborhood religious organizations, and not the universal relief fund we thought would be helping the masses. Also, why is it that when you place a bet in a licensed casino and win, “the house” has to pay up or lose its license, but when you faithfully pay an insurance company, betting that you’ll have flood damage while the insurance company bets you won’t, the insurance company gets to decide when and what to pay out? Should the state that allows it to operate within its boundaries force it to pay up, and why isn’t this happening? Is there an obligation by the state to protect consumers?

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