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Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

After storm, family sees no quick fix

Unsafe’ home doesn’t qualify for insurance

July 12, 2006

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Flora Taylor and her family are caught between a broken wooden beam and the hard place they were put in by the March 12 microburst that hit Lawrence.

Her son's bedroom floor sags. Below that, splintered wood braced by two temporary supports holds up the ceiling of the living room in her split-level house in the 2600 block of Bonanza Street in southeast Law-rence.

Strong winds from the microburst shook the home and eventually caused the damage. Though a city inspector declared the house unsafe for habitation, the family has returned to it and is living there at its own risk.

"I heard something sound like a freight train. I ran upstairs to get the kids to come downstairs. By the time we got downstairs, it was over with and this was split in two," Taylor said, pointing to the broken beam.

American Family Insurance denied her claim to repair or replace the beam because an engineer said the beam was not large enough to properly support the weight of the nearly 30-year-old home.

The beam, a structural support, was part of the home's original construction. Taylor said now-retired builder Russell Jones constructed the home. They have yet to talk to him about their situation.

Although her home of nearly 30 years has been declared "unsafe" by city inspectors, Flora Taylor and several other family members continue to live there, including her cousin Cyrese Powell, back left. The home in the 2600 block of Bonanza Street was damaged in the March 12 microburst, but Taylor's insurance company says it was not properly built and will not pay to repair or replace the faulty support beam seen above Taylor and Powell.

Although her home of nearly 30 years has been declared "unsafe" by city inspectors, Flora Taylor and several other family members continue to live there, including her cousin Cyrese Powell, back left. The home in the 2600 block of Bonanza Street was damaged in the March 12 microburst, but Taylor's insurance company says it was not properly built and will not pay to repair or replace the faulty support beam seen above Taylor and Powell.

But Jones, who has been out of the business 20 years, told the Journal-World he had built many homes in Lawrence and had never heard of a similar problem.

Taylor's family moved into the new home in May 1977. City files show the home had no previous structural issues, said Barry Walthall, the city's building safety manager. Walthall said the city did building inspections in the 1970s, but the records weren't kept so it isn't clear what happened exactly with the initial inspections of the Taylor home.

The insurance company offered Taylor a $1,700 check to pay for cosmetic work, such as drywall repair, after the beam is fixed. One Lawrence remodeling company gave her a $10,350 estimate to jack up the floor, install a double 2- by 14-inch beam and perform other reconstruction.

"I just figured when you pay the insurance, then something like this happens, they automatically are supposed to be taking care of it," Taylor said.

Rough year

Without insurance reimbursement, Taylor said, the repair costs are too much for her to shoulder. She lives on $1,100 in monthly disability benefits she receives because she injured her back in 1997 while working at Hallmark Cards.

It's been a rough year for the family.

Taylor's cousin, Cyrese Powell, and Powell's granddaughter evacuated New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina last year, and are now living with Taylor in the unsafe house. Cyrese Powell found a night job at Holiday Inn Express.

Video

A tour of the home damaged by the microburst last March. Enlarge video

Also in the home are two of Taylor's children, ages 12 and 17, and her 24-year-old son Reuben Turner.

Taylor has four adult children and two adult foster children living in Lawrence but not in the damaged property.

After he declared the home unfit on March 27, a city inspector warned the family and placed a red "Unsafe" notice on the front door.

Until two weeks ago, Taylor and most of the family now in the house lived with Taylor's sister. But son Reuben Turner, a Johnson County Community College student, never left the damaged family home because he needed his computer and space to complete his homework, he said.

The rest of the family moved back into the home because Taylor could no longer afford to pay the bills for her empty house and help with her sister's bills.


The March 12 microburst that hit Lawrence damaged homes, vehicles and other property. The strong winds toppled many trees, including this one near Fifth and Indiana streets, and caused thousands of dollars of damage.

The March 12 microburst that hit Lawrence damaged homes, vehicles and other property. The strong winds toppled many trees, including this one near Fifth and Indiana streets, and caused thousands of dollars of damage.

Now, they are crammed into the home mostly unable to use the second floor because of the broken structural beam

Taylor, Powell and Powell's granddaughter share the king-size bed in the south bedroom. Taylor's two younger sons sleep on the floor in her bedroom. Turner sleeps upstairs on a sagging floor.

No help

The family complained to the Kansas Insurance Department about the situation but found no help. Instead, it received a letter May 15 that called the situation a dispute of facts with American Family Insurance that would need to be settled by a court.

The family can file a lawsuit or also try to pursue legal action against the builder, according to the letter to the family from M.J. Grover, of the insurance department.

A brick wall at the Clinton Place Apartments, 2125 Clinton Parkway, collapsed and damaged a car during the March 12 microburst. The storm caused damage to property throughout Lawrence.

A brick wall at the Clinton Place Apartments, 2125 Clinton Parkway, collapsed and damaged a car during the March 12 microburst. The storm caused damage to property throughout Lawrence.

Powell said they also were waiting to hear from the Consumer Protection Division of Kansas Atty. Gen. Phill Kline's office.

Kline spokesman Jan Lunsford said Tuesday the office did not acknowledge or comment on any possible ongoing investigations.

The storm damage is not evident from the outside of the home.

Most of the microburst damage was from trees blown onto homes and buildings. Kansas University buildings sustained about $6 million in mostly roof damage, and several are still under repair.

As Taylor and her family wait for their next move, she said dealings with her insurance company had frustrated her the most.

"I've been paying them all of these years, and I don't know nothing about the way people build houses," she said.

March 12, 2006, Storm

Related content for the storm

  • A year later, microburst's sudden fury still evident (03-11-07)
  • EMS chief stays positive after injuries (03-11-07)
  • Comments

    Godot 7 years, 9 months ago

    crazyks wrote: "Pundit, if no homeowner's insurance covers DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION DEFECTS, then the insurance companies should inspect each house to make sure it has no DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION DEFECTS before agreeing to insure the home. "

    If they did that, there is no doubt they would make the homeowner pay for the inspection. ouch.

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    amazed 7 years, 9 months ago

    "All you do gooders get out your check books and help out this 'two families of six', 'living under one roof off of $1100 a month'."

    What?

    No. People should invest in birth control if they have no financial means to take care of a large family. Unless of course the $1100 comes from welfare, in which case, the more the merrier. Off, solutions like yours contribute to the destruction of this country.

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    VoiceOfReason 7 years, 9 months ago

    The recent deck collapse was an even worse case of "automatically blame it on the insurance company." The woman's deck collapsed and the builder offered to build a new deck, up to code, for free (as he should have). But the owner was angry that insurance wouldn't pay for it because she didn't trust the builder. Why should insurance pay??? They are supposed to pay for your monetary damages. If you are offered a no-cost replacement for your losses then you have no monetary damages. Not liking the builder doesn't justify costing your insurance carrier (and all of their other customers) the $7,500, or whatever, the construction is worth. Insurance isn't a "catch all" for bad choices...it is a safety net to cover UNCOVERED losses.

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    VoiceOfReason 7 years, 9 months ago

    Just have to add my 2 cents. I feel sorry for the family, but that doesn't, necessarily, justify insurance proceeds. I live within 2 blocks of her address and I have a degree in meteorology. More specifically, I focused my studies on severe weather phenomena. I know storms can cause all kinds of weird things to happen, but they have the only house in the area with major structural damage from that storm. Almost everyone around here has gotten a new roof, some new siding, some odds and ends that were thrown from back yards. But no structural damage, at all. It would appear that there was a flaw in the design and/or construction of their house.

    I am not a fan of American Family. I've never had them, but I read an article in Reader's Digest several years ago about a family who suffered a residence fire and had to spend 2 years fighting Am. Fam. to get their losses paid for...which were fully covered. Am. Fam. made up some of the strangest excuses I've ever heard and lost in court...after financially draining their "customer", with court costs, to the point of bankruptcy. Am Fam has a poor reputation among many State Insurance Agencies, for similar problems.

    But, all of that said, insurance is to protect against catastrophic acts of nature...not faulty construction. An insurer has the right to assume that homes (or cars, or whatever...) have been built to minimum standards, and they insure based on that faith. If they weren't built structurally soundly, the builder is definitely at fault, the inspector who passed the property may be, as well, but the insurer isn't to blame. If they were, I've got some crummy windows and siding that I'd like replaced. But, in reality, that's my loss...I had a home inspection when I purchased my house. If they didn't find any problems, you can certainly argue they hold some responsibility, but how is an insurer responsible, in any moral sense, for a house built poorly?

    I think a reasonably "fair" solution would be for Am Fam to pay for the cost of a "comparable" replacement beam. That may not be structurally sound, but the family can take that money (which are the ACTUAL monetary damages they incurred) and apply it towards improvements and renovations. Or they can sell the house to someone capable of fixing it, if they are financially unable. It also isn't Am Fam's fault that the family can not afford structural improvements to their property.

    One final key to consider is what type of insurance does the family have. We were very careful to get the more expensive option of "replacement value" instead of "actual value". What that means is, if we had a 20 year old television damaged, for instance, we would be paid the value to replace it (the current cost of a new tv) and not the depreciated value of the old tv. That is not an automatic coverage and requires an additional expense. If you aren't aware if your coverage includes that, it is really worth checking in to.

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    plumberscrack 7 years, 9 months ago

    Apology excepted but not needed. Your point, well taken.

    Take care.

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    jasonthesane 7 years, 9 months ago

    Sorry, I was speaking in more general sense. I don't know if any corners were cut in this particular case or not. I do not know what the code was 30 years ago, but 7 lbs / sq ft of live loading sounds pretty light to me for a residential floor.

    If the member did not meet code at the time it was built the liable party should be the builder and possibly the city inspection unit. If this did in fact meet the code requirements at the time of construction then I would think that the insurance should cover it. Either way the homeowner needs a good lawyer who can figure out who to sue.

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    plumberscrack 7 years, 9 months ago

    Where has it been said that "the builder cut corners or the city failed to properly inspect the property as it was being built"? Because the insurance adjuster says so?? MUWAHAHAHAHAA

    Give me a break here. The house COULD have been built to code THEN but not meet TODAY'S codes. There is a difference! If it was built to code THEN, the insurance company SHOULD PAY UP!

    Like I said earlier, houses older than 10 yrs old DON'T MEET TODAY'S CODES. The code cycle changes every 3 yrs!

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    jasonthesane 7 years, 9 months ago

    Inspections of this kind necessary to detect design and construction problems would be quite expensive to perform. How do you go about examining structural members which are inside the walls and floors of your house? Sonar? X-Ray? I imagine at least part of the reason this type of claim is excluded is due to the difficulty of making this inspection.

    How much more are you willing to pay in premiums for this inspection service? How much would you pay up front for this in-depth structural inspection?

    Should the insurance company be liable because the builder cut corners or the city failed to properly inspect the property as it was being built?

    I find it interesting that they are paying for "ensuing damage created directly from the beams fracture"

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    Linda Endicott 7 years, 9 months ago

    Let's see if I can make this clearer...

    If you don't cover damage due to design and construction defects, then you shouldn't agree to insure homes that have them. What is the only way to make sure a home doesn't have any design or construction defects? Doing an inspection of the home. If you agree to insure a home that has design or construction defects, or if you agree to cover a home not even knowing whether it has either, then you should be liable for paying for repairs, regardless of the cause of the damage. Otherwise, you're just being plain stupid.

    And if you agree to cover a home without knowing whether it has problems like that, and accept premiums without knowing that information, then it seems you should be liable for damages anyway.

    Why is this such a difficult concept?

    Would you agree to co-sign a loan for someone that you didn't know, and had no information about his credit rating? And if he disappeared and the loan company came to you for payment, could you then just tell them, "No, I didn't research it first, and I knew nothing about him, but oh, I don't cover that."

    What kind of way is that to do business? At best, it's irresponsible. At worst, it's a way to scam poor people out of their money. I don't care if it's legal or not. If it is, it shouldn't be. And just because something is technically legal, doesn't make it RIGHT.

    A lot of people on the boards a few days ago were blasting that woman who didn't know that her lease would automatically renew in a year if she didn't tell the landlord in writing in time. They said she was irresponsible, and should have read her lease more closely, and that her ignorance of the situation was no excuse.

    Well, I say the insurance companies should be held to the same standard. If you accept premiums for coverage for a home, without doing an inspection, even knowing you don't cover certain things, that to me sounds irresponsible and more than a little shady. Ignorance of the problem is no excuse.

    If an insurance company doesn't cover design or construction defects, and they don't do inspections ahead of time to determine whether a home has them, then they legally shouldn't be allowed to insure the house. It just sets the homeowner up for lots of headaches and problems later.

    Be up front with people. Do your research ahead of time, and if a house seems to have these defects and you don't cover them in your policy, then don't insure it. That sounds like a more responsible way to do business.

    If banks did business the way insurance companies seem to, then ANYONE could get a loan.

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    jasonthesane 7 years, 9 months ago

    Posted by crazyks (anonymous) on July 13, 2006 at 2:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)

    Pundit, if no homeowner's insurance covers DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION DEFECTS, then the insurance companies should inspect each house to make sure it has no DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION DEFECTS before agreeing to insure the home. ...

    Why should they inspect for structural sufficiency if they don't cover it? If they exclude damage due to design and construction defects it doesn't matter (to them) if such defects are present or not. All they need to be able to do is make a determination after the fact of what caused the damage leading to a claim.

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    plumberscrack 7 years, 9 months ago

    Marion-

    If a permit is required for the remodeling, then the work HAS to be done up to TODAY'S CODES AND STANDARDS.

    If no permit is required, then yes, you are correct about not having to be brought up to today's codes and standards.

    Call Neighborhood Resources for more information as to whether this work requires a permit or not. (I have not called down there about this house.) There number is 832-3101. Barry Walthall would be able to tell you if this work requires a permit and if it has to meet today's codes or not.

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    Linda Endicott 7 years, 9 months ago

    Pundit, if no homeowner's insurance covers DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION DEFECTS, then the insurance companies should inspect each house to make sure it has no DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION DEFECTS before agreeing to insure the home. And if it has DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION DEFECTS, then I suggest any insurance company would be foolish to agree to insure it. If a house is found, upon inspection, to have DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION DEFECTS, the company knows it, and they insure it anyway, then they're idiots.

    Can I make the statement any clearer?

    Although my uncle once owned a home with a garage, and the insurance company agreed to insure the garage, but not the roof of the garage. Now, how stupid is that? Admittedly, the roof was in bad shape at the time. But if it hadn't been replaced, and the roof leaking caused damage to the rest of the garage, the insurance company would have paid to repair the rest of the garage, but not the roof. The insurance company said so itself. Even knowing that not paying to replace the roof would only result in more damage later. That sounds really stupid to me.

    I personally think a lot of these companies are three (or more) bricks shy of a full load.

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    offtotheright 7 years, 9 months ago

    All you do gooders get out your check books and help out this 'two families of six', 'living under one roof off of $1100 a month'.

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    Marion Lynn 7 years, 9 months ago

    Godot:

    I agree with you on both posts but please remember that the addtioinal stresses imposed by the shock of a microburst could very easily snap an already overstressed beam and then we get into the "Chicken OR The Egg" thing.

    What I am referring to the abililty of a sudden shock to impose enough momentary additional stress on a defective or already overstressed structural componenet to cause failure.

    I have remodeled several houses and built a couple as well and have always used steel beams for the main support and have NEVER understood the use of built-up wooden beams, especially considering that modern lumber is crap.

    I likes them Bethlehem Steel beams, I does!

    Thanks.

    Marion.

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    Godot 7 years, 9 months ago

    And, Marion, please, an earthquake is not the same as a microburst.

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    Godot 7 years, 9 months ago

    Jay-z, and Marion, I doubt, very much, that it was the microburst that caused the beam to crack. Drought, settling, weight...those are more likely causes.

    from the article:

    "Now, they are crammed into the home mostly unable to use the second floor because of the broken structural beam

    Taylor, Powell and Powell's granddaughter share the king-size bed in the south bedroom. Taylor's two younger sons sleep on the floor in her bedroom. Turner sleeps upstairs on a sagging floor."

    This, in a home tagged as uninhabitable.

    When the first floor collapses on the people staying in the basement of this house, who will be blamed for the deaths and injuries?

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    Marion Lynn 7 years, 9 months ago

    Plumberscrack:

    I find no requirement in City Code to bring a thirty year old house "into code" if repairs are bing performed.

    Yes, it IS possible for the shock of a microburst or tornado to do damage to a structure which is not readily apparent and I will give you an example:

    I was responsible for a property located about 100 yards from the edge of the damge path of the 2003 tornado in Kansas City.

    In 2006 the structure began to leak in several places but there was no apparent damge to the shingles on the roof.

    Wht had happened was that the tornado had actually lifted the entire roof structure enough to pull nails and raise it about 2-4" before setting it back down in almost the precise original location!

    Intersetingly enough, it was the insurance adjuster who spotted the damage and determined the cause, saying that he had seen this kind of damage before.

    Admittedly, the beam in question should not only be repaired but reinforced to handle the load and it IS quite possible and indeed, likely that the microburst caused the failure.

    The shock of the microburst can impose very heavy loads in weird ways which may very well not show up immediately and may not do any other damage to the structure.

    My Mother's house, built in 1957 experienced a cracked foundation as the result of a VERY minor earthquake in the mid-sixties which was felt througout the Kansas City area, as did several other houses in the neighbourhood and all of the houses were built to beyond spec.

    There was no other damge in the house and nothing even fell off the walls but two cracks appeared in the foundation as the result of the temblor.

    Odd s+++ does happen.

    Thanks.

    Marion.

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    plumberscrack 7 years, 9 months ago

    I question the insurance to be the judge and jury here. The insurance company says it wasn't built to code. Since when did the insurance company get into the business of whether a house is built to code or not? The city building inspections determines what is code and what is not. NOT THE INSURANCE COMPANIES!!

    Secondly, houses built more than 10 yrs ago (Let alone 30 yrs ago) DO NOT meet current codes! Codes change every 3 yrs. The standards change during this code cycle. In most codes they allow for building construction built lawfully at the time, can remain, even if it DOESN'T MEET TODAY'S CODES. UNLESS THERE IS A SAFETY ISSUE would a house HAVE to be brought up to today's standards. Because every 3 yrs the codes change! so, does this mean the insurance companies can deny any and all claims to houses older than 3 yrs?? With AMERICAN FAMILY INSURANCE decision on this house, it could!

    Plain and simple here folks, this could apply to all of us in the near future if we allow insurance companies like American Family get away with this! Other insurance companies will see that American Family insurance is doing this, so why can't we. Remember, their in this business to make $$, nothing else.

    Guaranteed any houses older than 10 yrs old DON'T MEET TODAY'S CODES!

    Oh, and by the way, this house, when and if it gets fixed, WILL have to be brought up to today's codes and standards! So, can't be rebuilt the same way, IF, this isn't code today!

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    Jay_Z 7 years, 9 months ago

    This is crap. What a poorly written article by the LJW. Where is the comment from American Family? Did the LJW try to contact them? Let's get both sides of the story. Not sticking up for the insurance company, but it seems like an awfully slanted article.

    That said, it sure seems to me that this family is getting screwed over! The "defective" beam wasn't "defective" until the storm hit the house!! Sure seems like a hail mary attempt by the insurance company to get out of paying the claim.

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    Sigmund 7 years, 9 months ago

    Ummmmm, beer!

    I didn't see anywhere in the article where this house had a hidden defective beam, not built to code, or allowed to deteriorate. In fact, exactly the opposite. It met code when built, passed inspection and never had any problems for 30 years, until it got hit by a storm. It's saying I'll cover you as long as all is fine, but if you get damaged in a storm, well thats a different matter isn't it!

    AF: "Well theres your problem! That storm broke your beam, I'd get that fixed if I were you."

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    Tony Kisner 7 years, 9 months ago

    Godot,

    The company determines the premium based on the assumed risk. No one would tear their house down to determine how well it is built. But if you can point out that you have less risk than others it would be to your benefit. Look at the bet yourself. You can insure one of two houses; same other than one is 1 year old construction the other 30. Both are willing to pay you the same premium which do you chose? I'll take my chances with the new one.

    Insurance companies should be experts in determining risk. They determined the premium, based on the risk simple stuff. In this case they determined the risk of this person suing them for non-performance.

    PS. Not sure on the facts on the fire and water damage, but what caused the water the fire? No fire, no water, no damage. It's not people going after insurance companies, its people being held accountable for the contractual agreements they enter into willingly. Take it to the end of the logic, no casualty is covered by insurance companies no mortgages are written nobody builds houses no-one gets to make money to buy beer.

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    Godot 7 years, 9 months ago

    EDI, I agree, the story is less than clear. It does say they were offered a sum (around $1700?) to fix the cosmetic damage done to the interior of the house as a result of the broken beam. It doesn't say anything about paying for damage to the outside of the house. Perhaps the JW could clarify this for us?

    And, you said, "Cleary the article states that the claim was denied because of a sub-code beam, not because the storm struck else where."

    Maybe they denied the claim precisely because there was no evidence the storm struck the house. and they are not paying for the floor joist because that is a construction issue. Just guessing.

    My reference to katrina is in regard to the buildings that were set on fire after their owners realized their insurance would not pay for flood damage. I was speaking to the comments that say insurance should pay just because there was a storm.

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    pundit 7 years, 9 months ago

    I said it before, and I'll say it again....

    It is this simple:

    The typical contract (insurance policy) for homeowners insurance simply does not include coverage for DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION DEFECTS. Never was intended to. Never has been. Nor is this a big secret or a sinister plot by the insurance industry.

    Please read your policies folks....

    Without responding at length to misstatments by crazyks, easy-does-it, plumbers-crack ......it is really just that simple.

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    dizzy_from_your_spin 7 years, 9 months ago

    Instead of whipping yourselves into a frenzy by misguided theorizations, pull out your homeowners policy and thoroughly read it.

    Pay particular attention things like "property not covered" and "exclusions".

    Your insurance policy is a year-to-year contact that you agreed to. Have you ever read it?

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    Tony Kisner 7 years, 9 months ago

    No,

    if the fact don't support the damage then no. The article doesn't indicate that there was no other damage to the structure, maybe the windows were damaged, maybe the roof shingles came off maybe not. From the facts stated in the article a wind storm struck the area, and damage was done to structures, why not this structure also? Cleary the article states that the claim was denied because of a sub-code beam, not because the storm struck else where.

    If insurance companies pay fraudulent claims my and your premiums would rise; who would be for that? Are you saying that once I enter a contract with an insurance company I can then pay them with 100 pesos rather than 100 dollars, it's still 100 of something, right? no they assumed risk for consideration freely.

    Assuming that your reference to Katrina is in regard to flood vs. wind damage.

    Again in this case the home owner does not appear to be claiming flood damage but wind damage which clearly occurred in the area. If there is no other structural damage you may be speculating correctly. But the article doesn't read that way.

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    ruby2 7 years, 9 months ago

    Godot, you are one voice of reason among these idiots. People seem to always want to blame the insurance company. It seems that the LJW is fond of "blaming the insurance company" without even THINKING to get their side of the story. This story is reminiscint of the piece the LJW did on the people who had their basement flooded when there was the Boardwalk Fire. That was surface water which is strictly excluded in homeowner's policies. People, wake up and stop blaming the insurance company. Demand that the LJW does a better job of investigating BOTH sides of the story, before it publishes this ridiculous piece of "news." It's more like editorial CRAP.

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    Godot 7 years, 9 months ago

    Easy_does_it, you have a point, but I still wonder how it was ONLY the floor beam that suffered damage.

    Are you saying that insurance companies should pay, without question, for damage to any house, for any reason, that occurs on or around the day the city has a major storm?

    Shades of Katrina.

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    i_have_only_valid_opinions 7 years, 9 months ago

    No inspection would have shown this, unless there were cracks in the walls or ceilings from previous sagging.

    1. If the house was not built up to current codes at the time, go after the builder and the city.

    2. If the house was built to the codes at that time, but the code has changed since, the insurance company is responsible. That is assuming they didn't include a clause that says "you are insured unless your house was built 30 years ago and the codes were different". They should have to pay to rebuild up to current code. The age of the house is built into every rate quote. They have been paying premiums on that 30 year old house for exactly this reason. Take the insurance company to the cleaners (oops, they don't have money to get an attorney). Not sure what to tell you then. Just get all up in their grill and don't stop until you get what you need.

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    Tony Kisner 7 years, 9 months ago

    P - My policy indicates that I have coverage against wind damage.

    My insurance agent came and looked at my house, and he inquired of the age, location of fire stand pipes etc. They have had every opportunity to determine their risk and have rated my premium based on that risk and market forces (others willing to assume same risk for more or less consideration).

    If a wind storm passes through the community to the extent that several like kind structures are damaged in the same single event and my dwelling receives like kind damage from same event, I believe that I have entered into a binding contract that would oblige the insurance company to reimburse me in within the terms of our agreement.

    If my one year old house is completely made of concrete with a fire station next door my premium would be much lower that a 30 year old wood structure. The company is reimbursed for the risk they assume. If they did not inspect the dwelling prior to entering into a contract they were at fault not the home owner.

    This structure has been standing for 30 years; a large recorded wind storm occurred in the same community, it is a big stretch for me to believe that a sub-code beam was primary cause.

    Again looks like an adjuster banking on a poor person not having access to the same legal resource and taking the calculated risk that they can under perform on the contract.

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    Sigmund 7 years, 9 months ago

    Taylor's family moved into the new home in May 1977. City files show the home had no previous structural issues, said Barry Walthall, the city's building safety manager. Walthall said the city did building inspections in the 1970s ...

    What evidence does American Family have that this property was allowed to deterioate? This home didnt become unsafe until American Family failed to fix the damage from the storm. The more I hear of this the more outraged I become.

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    Sigmund 7 years, 9 months ago

    How, prey tell, did the homeowners let the structural beams in this house deterioate? How about the structural beams in your house, what have you done to keep them from deterioating?

    Insurance Agent: You know Ms Homeowner, your need to replace your structural beams every five years.

    This is not the roof that every seven years needs to be replaced. It is a structural beam and if it was holding the house for 30 years without a problem until this storm, what evidence wasn't being maintained?

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    Godot 7 years, 9 months ago

    Just a question, but, how would an insurance company inspection reveal a defect in a hidden beam that did not show stress until 30 years later?

    I, for one, would not want an insurance inspector coming into my home and tearing out the ceilings and walls to make sure the house was built correctly. It is the city's job to inspect the construction of a house before the walls are finished.

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    i_have_only_valid_opinions 7 years, 9 months ago

    Another good option for insurance providers is Allstate. I have had Allstate policies on everything (home, cars, miscellaneous riders to home policy). They have always paid my claims without arguing. My premiums have actually gone down over the years.

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    Godot 7 years, 9 months ago

    The article links the incidence of the microburst with the breaking of the beam.

    How could the microburst have caused that joist to break if there was no other structural damage to the house? Did the wind come in through a window and then land straight down on the floor? Or was there a sudden change in air pressure that built up in the house? If so, why didn't the windows break out? Why didn't the roof pop off? Why didn't the residents' ear drums burst, their noses bleed? It would take pressure of that magnitude to cause a sudden crack in a floor joist.

    Perhaps it was a slow and gradual weakening of the beam due to weight and stress; a weakening that might not have occurred had the beam been the proper size.

    There is more to this story. I hope the JW does a follow up. No, I hope another paper that engages in investigative journalism does a follow up.

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    ruby2 7 years, 9 months ago

    the homeowner is responsible for making regular and necessary repairs to their home. if you let the condition of your home deteriorate, that's not your insurance company's fault, no matter HOW long you paid your premium.

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    Sigmund 7 years, 9 months ago

    I do agree, I wish the LJW would have contacted the Insurance Company for comment. Bad slanted journalism is SOP for the LJW, and maybe there is a side of this that is not being reported.

    That being said, I cant get past the fact that this house stood without a problem for 30 years, it was inspected by American Family, met the underwritting requirements, the premiums were paid, they knew the age of the home, and they knew the city codes for houses in the area when it was built. Now that they have a claim they want to back out of their obligations by claiming the beam doesn't meet todays requirements for new construction. Under that rule they could deny claims for any house not up to current new construction codes which changed last year.

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    emgraves 7 years, 9 months ago

    Kinda off the subject of houses- 2 years ago I started having stomach pains and went to the hospital. They told me that it could be appendicitis, gave me pain medicine, then sent me home. 2 days later I went to a different ER where my mom worked. She called the Dr and he ordered a CAT scan, which showed that it was my appendix, and I had emergency surgery. A few months later, we got our bill and it showed that our health insurance covered none of it because I had a CAT scan before the Dr. did an actual evaluation of me. Insurance companies are outrageous.

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    Sigmund 7 years, 9 months ago

    Q:When do you fix a beam that is working fine for 30 years until it is damaged by a storm? A:When its damaged by a storm. Q:Who pays to fix a beam damaged by a storm? A:If you have paid your premiums, your insurance company.

    If the beam met code when it was built and if American Family inspected and insured it, they need to live up to their obligation. If they don't want to accept the liability of doing the work, they can get an estimate and write a check.

    If American Family doesn't want to write policies on older homes not built to todays codes, fine. However, its a little to late to make that decision now and in this case, especially after they have accepted premiums for years and not after the homeowners have relied, to their detriment, on that policy. Again, doesn't pass the laugh or the smell test.

    If the homeowners are reading this, go get a top notch plaintiffs law firm, a big one in Topeka or Lawrence, that regularly sues Insurance Companies. Get them to take your case on contigency basis. If you win your Law firm may even convince the court to have the Insurance Company pay your attorney legal fees.

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    kujeeper 7 years, 9 months ago

    Plus where in the article did the Journal-World ask for American Family's side of the events. Slanted, liberal journalism at it's best!

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    kujeeper 7 years, 9 months ago

    Do you realize the liablity of putting a beam back in but the house still not being correctly fixed. You can drive by a see a lot of those homes with saging roofs because the city lets poor builders get by with such poor minimums on building standards. American Family inspects every home before they cover it, once by the agent and once by the company. The roof probably looked good at the time coverage was given, others in her situation would have fixed this as the problem occured before the storm, but that is hard to do when you are milking disability I am sure. All policies say that the homeowner is responsible for maintaining a house correctly to be covered. Every company's policies say that.

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    Sigmund 7 years, 9 months ago

    The insurance company should pay up to the limits of the policy to put the house back in the same condition it was prior to the covered incident, no better but no worse. If beam was damaged by the storm that beam needs to be replaced. They don't have to put in a better beam, not a beam that would meet todays building codes, but I think they are obligated to put in a beam like it had.

    Afterall, how inferior could it have been? It was fine for 30 years of storms! This microburst hits and now they want to back out, doesn't pass the smell or laugh test.

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    Linda Endicott 7 years, 9 months ago

    Pundit, I still say it's pretty stupid to insure a house if you haven't even looked at it and don't know if it has any structural defects. If you're going to insure it, you should look at it first. Do you buy a car without looking at it? Would you buy a computer without knowing all the facts first?

    Well, bully for their being a cost to the insurance companies for inspections. Seems to me that with the millions they rake in from premiums, a lot of it without anyone ever making a claim, that they could damn well afford to do inspections on property they intend to insure.

    And if structural problems are not covered by a homeowner's policy, and they can't be bothered to come and do their own inspection, then it damn well better say so in the policy, or the company should expect to get sued.

    Oh, yeah, ruby, I read my car insurance policy carefully when it comes. I have discovered that I'm not covered if a nuclear warhead should ever come ripping through my car, even if I'm driving it at the time, especially if said nuclear warhead was in my glove compartment at the time.

    Gee, now where did I put that nuclear warhead?? Oh, yeah! It's in my glove compartment! Good thing I remembered where it was! I might need it someday.

    Perfectly silly...but if they can spell this out in common, easily understood language in a car insurance policy, then they can do the same thing for homeowner's insurance.

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    mom_of_three 7 years, 9 months ago

    Pundit - I agree with you that a home owner's policy doesn't cover everything. But it's not like the house started to deconstruct on it's own.
    No one had any idea of the possible defect (the home inspector, the owner or the insurance company), but the poor home owner is left to hold the bag after paying home owner's insurance all these years. It's not right.

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    mom_of_three 7 years, 9 months ago

    Most people assume that if a storm damages your house, then the insurance company would pay the damage.
    My question is why would an insurance company insure a house if it had structural defects? I don't believe my insurance company looked at my house when I purchased it, but they can decide not to pay a claim because of defects they find after the fact? Doesn't seem right.
    If a storm hadn't blown through the area, her house would be fine, defects or no.

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    ruby2 7 years, 9 months ago

    Finally a few intelligent people posting. Insurance companies simply cannot be responsible for everything that goes wrong. You must just read the policy.

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    pundit 7 years, 9 months ago

    Stated another way:

    Assume I buy a house, and soon thereafter discover a major defect.... According to others here, all I have to do is go out and buy insurance and turn around and file a claim.

    Nope. Doesn't work that way.

    Others have noted that inspection process does not catch many defects, and that codes chase over time.

    Reality bites.

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    pundit 7 years, 9 months ago

    crazyks, Easy-does-it: Just read your policies.

    It is not a perfect world. I'm looking for car insurance to cover design defects in my car (and $3/gal gas) but it doesn't exist downtown.... Maybe at Lloyds, but not downtown.

    Inspections issue is a red-herring. Insurance companies insure all sorts of things they haven't seen or cant judge. If they want to view they can, but there is a cost, so I am not surprised that inspections do not occur. If the actuarial risk is lower than inspection costs, they shouldn't inspect.

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    pundit 7 years, 9 months ago

    All:

    I'm absolutely no apologist for insurance companies, I do not sell insurance. I hate these companies too.

    I am just simply saying this is not a risk which is covered by homeowners policies....no more than discovering that there are holes in your concrete foundation or driveway, plumbing which is sub-standard, or a buried body under the porch. Or a nuclear war. Or a flood (as most know, without specific additional insurance). They don't even need an exemption.... Because it is simply not included.

    Privity for suing for such defects run back the the seller-builder......and if the buyer has had adequate opportunity for inspection and discovery of these defects, then those opportunities too would be limited.

    Sorry, that is simply the case. Homeowners insurance simply doesn't cover design/construction defects.... Same thing in standard commerical policies too, for what it is worth.

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    jasonthesane 7 years, 9 months ago

    Why should the insurance company pay for an inspection when they can simply put an exclusion in the policy? I would think that their mortgage company would be their biggest ally, but I noticed that they've been in the house since 1977. If the house is nearly or completely paid off there is probably no help there either.

    I think I'm going to go home and re-read my insurance policy....

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    Tony Kisner 7 years, 9 months ago

    Pundit, If the Ins. Co contracts to insure the dwelling and receives consideration they have accepted the risk.

    I'm sure the cost to insure a 30 year old home is much higher than a 1 year old home, because standards have risen just in the wiring alone. More risk = higher premiums. House stood for 30 years then a wind storm that caused considerable damage thought same area damages same home. I would say that the adjuster looked at this family and said I'll fight it out in court.

    Sandy is running for election this year. What is her office function if not to deal with these situations? I as a tax payer I say eliminate the function if this is not under her umbrella.

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    Sigmund 7 years, 9 months ago

    Not satisfied with a no growth agenda, merrill proposes a negative growth agenda by bulldozing any and all properties that do not meet current code, no matter when the structure was built even if it met code for new construction when it was built.

    How much of your precious historic downtown do you think would meet code for current construction? Hobbs-Taylor Lofts and Borders would be left standing and little else.

    How much of east Lawrence, the older area around downtown, and the student ghetto would be left standing if we bulldoze every residence that doesn't meet building standards for new construction? About the only area left untouched would be the new construction out West that everyone complains about, you know the stuff that everyone claims is not as well built as the older stuff!

    After removing all these structures what do you think the monthly rent or price of a home would be, choose one: A. Much more affordable, because the City Kommission will ban the operation of the laws of supply and demand. B. Higher because of greedy developers.

    You want more affordable housing? Allow new construction. In fact, the only way prices are ever going to get more afforable here in Lawrence is if the City Kommission reduces taxes on properties, not likely; or we have a inbalance in the market with more supply of homes than there is demand for homes.

    As for American Family, I've never had a problem collecting a claim, but they should cover this families loss by putting the structure back to pre-storm condition, no better and no worse. They then can cancel her coverage and merrill can come by and bulldoze her place. That should win him lots of votes come election time.

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    Linda Endicott 7 years, 9 months ago

    Pundit, if you owned an insurance company, would you agree to insure property, sight unseen? Seems like a pretty poor way to do business, unless you go into it intending to rip people off.

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    quitbitchin 7 years, 9 months ago

    so you all are going to switch from american family to who???? all insurance companies screw you. that's what they do!!!

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    Christine Pennewell Davis 7 years, 9 months ago

    I am with momofthree had not even thought of my insurance We have not had any damage so no worry but now well I will be looking into switching my company also. This kinda of stuff is why every thing keeps going up because you just have to go thru legal process to get what is due you and then your premium goes up or you get dropped such a big joke that they should all be sued for the principal of the matter.

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    Linda Endicott 7 years, 9 months ago

    Any insurance company that does not inspect the property before agreeing to insure it should have to pay for damages. If they had bothered to have an inspection done, and structural problems were found, would they have agreed to insure it anyway?

    No? Then why didn't they do their own inspection?

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    plumberscrack 7 years, 9 months ago

    What is that supposed to mean? That an insurance company can take your premiums all these years and ten yrs later say "we're not paying because it was poorly built"?

    You must work for the insurance companies with that kind of thinking. A good lawyer should eat this up, let alone the public outcry!

    TO ALL THOSE USING AMERICAN FAMILY.....DON'T!

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    pundit 7 years, 9 months ago

    Folks, hate to tell you, but the risks you insure for when you buy homeowners insurance simply do not include bad design or bad construction.

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    quitbitchin 7 years, 9 months ago

    i have american family and have never had problems with them. (knock on wood) i find it interesting the number of people here claiming they will drop american family due to this story. yeah right.

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    Pywacket 7 years, 9 months ago

    How many such cases do we (everyone in this country) have to hear about before we get mad enough to do something?! I've been saying for years (and I know I'm not alone) that insurance is simply organized crime made legal.

    I'm emailing this story--along with some choice comments of my own--to every legislator I can think of and urge all of you to do the same. Then send it to our friends and have them send it to their legislators. And we should do the same whenever we read about insurance screwing people over--whatever state it's happening in and whether it is a home, auto, or health insurer.

    What we really need is a Ralph Nader type to raise public awareness and go to bat against the insurance industry. Ralph ralphed as a pres. candidate but years ago he was unbelievably effective as a consumer advocate, and was largely responsible for many safety measures being implemented and for big auto having to clean up their act.

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    Marion Lynn 7 years, 9 months ago

    crzyks:

    Like I said......................................

    Thanks.

    Marion.

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    Linda Endicott 7 years, 9 months ago

    If the insurance company didn't do an inspection at the time the house was purchased, I'm surprised that the loan company didn't. Most loan companies do inspections of any property considered for purchase. Maybe that's something that she should look into. If the loan company had an inspection done, and they didn't find anything wrong at the time, then I don't think American Family has a leg to stand on.

    I used to have American Family Ins. on my car. After an accident, they paid all my medical bills, including surgery, without any argument. But they also raised my rates afterward, which was totally unfair, considering I was not at fault in the accident. Are we all supposed to be clairvoyant now, and know we should avoid certain intersections on certain dates because we should know a nut behind the wheel of another car will hit us??

    As for the insurance companies not wanting to cover homes damaged by Katrina, I think that's an outrage as well. All insurance companies aren't exactly up front about not having flood coverage in homeowner's insurance, and a lot of people don't know it's not included in the policy. What idiot got this accomplished in the first place? Why shouldn't flooding be covered by insurance?

    As for that flooding, it didn't just happen randomly. The flooding was caused by what? The HURRICANE, duh. No hurricane, no flooding, right?

    Reminds me of the severe hail storm we had here in Ottawa a few years back. The first one. At that time, roof damage from hail was routinely covered by insurance. When the first hail storm hit, there were so many insurance claims, and the insurance companies had to pay out so much money, that someone decided that homeowner's insurance would no longer cover it. Now it requires a special rider to obtain hail damage coverage.

    When the second hail storm hit and created lots of damage, there were lots of folks who were surprised to find out that their insurance didn't cover it anymore.

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    OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 9 months ago

    I work in auto finance, I'll tell you something about consumer behavior: when people don't like the thing they financed, they don't pay the finance company. My point? LOTS of people would respond to this situation by walking away from the house and letting the home go into foreclosure. If they financed 100% on the house last year when rates were good, then that leaves the mortgage co. with a house that is fully maxed out AND needing $10K in repairs!

    If she hasn't talked to her mortgage company about this, she should. The mortgage company is at risk of ending up with a damaged foreclosure if this doesn't get resolved.

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    OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 9 months ago

    "The insurance company did not ask for an engineer to review the house construction before taking their monthly premiums. So, why wouldn't they have to pay for the repairs that were caused by the storm?"

    An excellent point. And, this is yet another story about the city's failure to protect consumers from shoddy building standards. They inspected homes, but failed to maintain records?! What?! So... how do we even know that they WERE inspected? For all we know, the inspector spent his day at The Flamingo, then at 4:00 slapped together some paperwork and told his boss "everything looked good". No paper trail means no proof it was done. If it's important enough to do the inspections, then it's important enough to maintain records.

    Someone could have died, and not just because of the storm. If this was structurally unsound, then this broken beam was going to happen someday, regardless.

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    Marion Lynn 7 years, 9 months ago

    TOB, yes, I misunderstood your post.

    Follwoing is a description of the most favourite scam of the highly touted "Independent Agent":

    You go to Shelly's Insurance; and independent agent for homeowner's or business insurance.

    Knowing that losses really do not happen all that often, Shelley or one of his/her associate agents takes your down payment check and hands you a "binder" which indicates that coverage is in place.

    What Shelley has REALLY done with your money is to have gone to Vegas for the weekend knowing that you are soert of OK as you have a binder.

    Shelly has NOT forwarded your money to Bigggest Insurance Company On The Planet and you really have NO coverage.

    Several months pass and you recieve bills from Shelley wich you promptly pay but you never get your policy...

    Hmmmmmm.................................

    Then it happens!

    The neighbour kids bust out three windows and you call up Shelley who immediately sends (Or DELIVERS!) a check to you.

    Shelley has paid this calim out of his/her own pocket!

    You are happy right up until the tornado (Remember the tornado and Poughkipsie?) removes your home and all your stuff.

    Well, the loss check is slow in coming but it does show up after Shelley him or herself has shown up to inspect the damage.

    Then some more guys show up from a company that you've never heard of.

    Then you get the story of how there was a secretary who didn't do her job and Shelley had to turn over your claim to the Errors And Omissions Company because there really was no insurance policy ecause the now-fired secretary never sent the check.

    You're paid, so you're happy, Shelley's E&O premiums go up a little and the scam continues, multiplied many times by large numbers of equally scammed "insureds".

    If Shelley loses his/her licence, he/she ust sets up a new agency with some new and eager faces whith Shelley having nothing to do with it on paper.

    Neat, huh?

    Happens all the time and it actually happened to me!

    Thanks.

    Marion.

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    armyguy 7 years, 9 months ago

    I have American Family insurance, they have paid me almost $10,000.00 because of the miroburst and damage to my house. Sounds like there are other issues here. My neighobor had 3 local bids to fix her house due to the mirocburst, the price ran from $600.00 to over $10,000.00

    "One Lawrence remodeling company gave her a $10,350 estimate to jack up the floor, install a double 2- by 14-inch beam and perform other reconstruction." Makes me wonder what the other reconstuction is.

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    The_Original_Bob 7 years, 9 months ago

    Marion -

    That's why I said Mississippi and Alabama where wind damage (strong winds and tornados) blew houses over on the coast. NO, as you said, was mostly flood damage which is not covered.

    But you are right on this.... insurance companies are scum.

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    offtotheright 7 years, 9 months ago

    Seems the Insurance Company should pay to have this fixed. Not sure how they can insure someone, and years later say 'sorry the house wasn't built properly'.

    How does a family of six live on $1,100 a month?

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    Marion Lynn 7 years, 9 months ago

    TOB:

    You are 100% correct about the ethics of failing to pay for storm damage in the wake of Katrina but most homes in NO were damaged or destoryed by FLOODING, not the hurricane itself and if those folks did not have separate flood insurance, they have no coverage.

    This is true of ALL insurance companies, not just State Farm.

    Thanks.

    Marion.

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    Marion Lynn 7 years, 9 months ago

    The insurance industry in this country is one of the most fraudulent and powerful conglomerates in the nation.

    EXEMPT BY LAW from Federal Trade Commission regulation, the insurance industry is a true loose cannon, regulated by over fifty different state, territorial and possession laws, few of which have anything in common.

    It might interest you to know that there has NEVER been an insurance company in the USA which failed due to losses.

    Losses in individual underwriting departments have occured but those losses have simply led to no further writing in that area for the company in question.

    Insurance companies seek only to insure against the least likely loss and will do everything within their or their lawyer's power to avoid paying outside of those loss areas.

    Insurance companies have the best of two worlds; they have control most of the money in this country and sell a product which the law, mortagge companies and lenders say that you must have.

    Two examples come to mind:

    (1) Cousin BillyBob comes over to help you clean your gutters, falls off the ladder and breaks his back.

    Think you're covered?

    Nope!

    Cousin Billy Bob is considered to be a workman or tradesman and should have his own workman's comp.

    You have NO coverage in this scenario.

    (2) A tornado barrells through and quite efficently moves your home and all your stuff to Poughkipsie but you're not worried as you have "replacement" insurance.

    Do you?

    Maybe.

    You may only have insurance which will pay you the value of the stuff at the time the loss occured, not the TRUE CURRENT REPLACEMENT COST!

    AS far as your house goes, if the ins co decides that the house is totalled(Which they can do!) your policy may not be large enough to pay current construction costs which can leave you with a very high mortgage payment on an empty lot!

    Two very good books come to mind which deal with the insurance situation in theis country and although both are fairly old, little has cahnged.

    "So You Think You're Covered!"

    Excellent!

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0684147920/104-3411160-1423919?v=glance&n=283155

    "The Invisible Bankers: Everything The Insurance Industry Never Wanted You To Know"

    This book will SHOCK YOU!

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0671228498/104-3411160-1423919?v=glance&n=283155

    Thanks.

    Marion.

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    gontek 7 years, 9 months ago

    Did the engineer who disqualified the structure represent the insurance company, and is he a licensed Structural PE in the state of Kansas? This information is very important.

    Just a basic question, but it could mean everything in court, especially if someone with those qualifications to take a look at the house and represent the owner, and find otherwise.

    It would not be unheard of for an insurance company to send out claims inspectors to deny claims based on guidelines meant to protect the insurance company.

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    mom_of_three 7 years, 9 months ago

    We have American Family insurance on our house, and live in the same area. No one from the insurance company inspected our house when we purchased it 9 years ago. Luckily, we didn't have any damage from the microburst.
    I think we will be checking into new home owners' insurance.

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    The_Original_Bob 7 years, 9 months ago

    I have State Farm as well (for 17 years). I'm seriously considering dropping them because of their cowardly inaction and ignorance to those on the Mississippi and Alabama coasts. State Farm's refusal to pay for Hurricane damage is sickening.

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    ljreader 7 years, 9 months ago

    That comment was worth repeating.

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    craigers 7 years, 9 months ago

    Who knows maybe thirty years ago, that structure was all that was required. The deck that we just recently heard about was up to snuff at the time it was made, so this wouldn't surprise me in the least. Unless they are doing a complete check of the building structure like others have mentioned above, then they have no right to deny the claim based on that now. I know they have to protect themselves, but honestly this isn't somebody just making up a story. Pay the damages or later when a judge or jury has sympathy on this woman, it could be a lot more.

    CEK does my insurance and I haven't had one problem, but if I heard they did this then I would be checking around too.

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    neopolss 7 years, 9 months ago

    I have state farm insurance, and have been very satisfied by them. The rates are good, and I have never had problems filing a claim.

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    Richard Heckler 7 years, 9 months ago

    If American Insurance can deny due to a structural flaw after the fact why do they not do a complete inspection prior to accepting clients?

    Perhaps they should be inspecting homes throughout Lawrence as they are under construction so they can eliminate those houses which do NOT meet their criteria.

    How many "affordable" homes did this person build in SE Lawrence?

    How did this structural error get overlooked by the City of Lawrence? Since no records were kept it seems the city may have some liability here as well. Take it to court and bulldoze the home. How many other structural flaws may exist?

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    Richard Heckler 7 years, 9 months ago

    If American Insurance can deny due to a structural flaw after the fact why do they not do a complete inspection prior to accepting clients?

    Perhaps they should be inspecting homes throughout Lawrence as they are under construction so they can eliminate those houses which do meet their criteria.

    How many "affordable" homes did this person build in SE Lawrence?

    How did this structural error get overlooked by the City of Lawrence? Since no records were kept it seems the city may have some liability here as well. Take it to court and bulldoze the home. How many other structural flaws may exist?

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    HDcustom 7 years, 9 months ago

    I know the feeling with American Family ins. I had a royal hose job from them and swithced to STATE FARM and love them. I would hire a lawyer and sue American Family. I would take you case to a federal leval and bypass the state in your situation. last i heard American Family was under an investigation on possible rip offs in our state.

    I say everyone look into dropping American Family and look at other insurance companies.
    
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    commensense 7 years, 9 months ago

    I have American Family insurance and pay them quite a bit, when they decide to take our money for years then not pay claims later this should be known up front. Since they decide to hurt us then we should hurt them, I will immediately check other insurance companies to see if they can get close on the rate, if they can I will switch, we all need to do this, this is our only contol, and we should use this for gas, find out who is making the most profit and stay away from them until they make there prices reasonable or go down the tubes.

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    Defender 7 years, 9 months ago

    I am a customer of American Family, and they WILL be hearing about this, as well as possibly lose my 15+ years of business. Disgusting, absolutely disgusting.

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    plumberscrack 7 years, 9 months ago

    The insurance commissioner should resign immediately. Do your job!

    The insurance company did not ask for an engineer to review the house construction before taking their monthly premiums. So, why wouldn't they have to pay for the repairs that were caused by the storm?

    People, I can tell you that we ALL should be concerned about this trend from the insurance Companies who deny claims do to 'how the house was constructed'. There are ALOT of homes here in Lawrence that aren't constructed properly! This will be only the beginning for insurance companies, to deny a claim due to faulty workmanship. Russ Jones built MANY HOMES here in Lawrence!

    REMEMBER THIS INSURANCE COMMISSIONERS DENIAL COME NEXT ELECTIONS! Just a career polictician in a 'cushy' job! We still expect the insurance commissioner to earn her pay!

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