Insurance Inquiries

There's a new road block for residents affected by last week's tornado: settling insurance claims.

Stories of success and frustration are circling around the area.

And as the residents try to file claims, they're trying to reclaim their lives.

"I'm going through all of my belongings trying to figure out what I'm missing," says Wendy Regan as she shows us her long list of belongings, "I have to itemize each individual thing, each pair of shoes, pair of socks, pair of underwear, bras, everything."

Half of the first floor is all that's left of Regan's home. And now she's being asked to remember everything so she can get fully reimbursed.

"Initially we'll only get reimbursed for what it's worth now," explains Regan, "Even if we bought it many years ago for $1,000 and they say it's worth $50, that's what we're getting. We have to rebuy it and prove what it cost to get the rest."

"They're actually making them [the Regan's] take carpet swatches off the floor so they can get the carpet analyzed," says neighbor Chad Troy, "Now that gets to be a little extreme in my opinion as far as settling a claim when you've got a catastrophic loss like this."

Troy has a different insurance company and has had much better luck.

"Mine came in, wrote me a check for contents, called it a total loss and we had it settled in a couple hours," says Troy, "People are comparing companies and there's apples and there's oranges, and it's all over the place."

And that's legal.

According to a statement released Wednesday by the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, "Insurers can have different procedures for documenting insurance claims. The procedures should be reasonable, but may include asking the policyholder to prepare a list of damaged or destroyed items."

It's a hard lesson many have had to learn.

"I vented to them and they said, 'Yep, that's the way it is, I'm sorry.'" says Regan about her insurance agents, "As you buy stuff, write it down. Make sure you know what's in your home."

If you're having trouble getting claims resolved:
1. Contact your agent to find out what is needed to document your loss.
2. Try to work with them to complete proof of loss.
3. Call the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance for help resolving insurance claims at 266-0103 or toll free at 1-800-236-8517.

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