Thursday, May 18, 2006

Katrina Insurance Victim Fights Back Against Allstate

Back in September 2005 we filed a claim with Allstate that Hurricane Katrina racked our house. Eight months later, they denied that part of the claim based on a fraudulent engineer's report by Haag Engineering Co. that both ignored the most obvious evidence and even claimed that the hurricane wasn't windy enough to cause structural damage. Now it's time to fight back.

First I filed a detailed complaint with James Donelan, the Commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Insurance. I carefully documented in writing and pictures how every part of the the engineer's report was either mistaken or fraudulent, and I also submitted a detailed timeline of our interactions with Allstate. I've been told that we are an incredible example of an insurance company acting in bad faith, though unfortunately, I am realizing that we are just one of thousands of examples.

Second, I've spoken to several attorneys and public adjustors about taking Allstate to court. Also I've contacted several people through this blog. Paige Rosato, an attorney in Mandeville, is one of the people leading the fight against the insurance industry. It seems that our state legislature has been in the pockets of the insurance lobby. So on May 31st I will be going to Baton Rouge to testify to the House on Bill 620. This legislation, put forward by Senator Murray, would increase the penalty if insurance companies don't pay claims in a timely manner. By law insurance companies are supposed to respond to claims within 30 days. As it now stands with Allstate, it would cost about $100,000 to fix the structural damage of my house. Since they denied my claim, I'll have to take them to court. If we won in court, which I'm confident we would, my attorney fees would be approximately 25-35 percent of the settlement. So I would still have to come up with the funds to finish the work. It doesn't sound fair to me, and of course the insurance agency is fighting this and other similar bills ferociously. They claim that it would drive insurers away from Louisiana. The insurance industry had record proffits last year, even with the hurricanes, so to me it seems this is purely greed driven. And the entire country had better be scared about what is happening down here, because if your city floods, burns, or is hit by a tornado or whatever, many of you will have to deal with this corrupt industry.

I would encourage anyone else in a similar situation to come to Baton Rouge that day as well. At the very least, let your state and federal elected leaders know about what is happening to their constituents.

I'm also going to make my case as public as possible to inform people about the fraud taking place down here. So Allstate, I'm down, but not broken, and I've got a score to settle with you.

Later note: I just recorded my story on the Allstate Insurance Sucks website. I also wrote detailed letters to each of the state senators and representatives who serve on Insurance Committees. I'll testify before the House for SB 620 on May 31st.


Tim Bulkeley said...

Baton Rouge is a bit far from here, but I am following this saga, and praying for you!

Bob At Large said...

Makes me pissed and feeling guilty about worrying about paying for my brand new house with a two-year warranty. I'm sure it's a situation you'd rather be in than to fight an insurance company. I'm spreading the word on this. This is baloney...

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike,
Way to go...glad to hear that you are taking them to task!
For what it is worth I tell people up here of the situation down there any time I can.

Anonymous said...


I have been talking to friends about your insurance situation. We are all in the same boat, blast it if I can figure out why we don't all act like it, but I know we are.

I'm glad you are fighting back.

Anonymous said...

I'd like some update? As a contractor who is being asked to first, estimate, then fix these kinds of problems. We are constantly fighting against the insurance companies because they see no damage, pay for no damage. But the home owners still expect me to do magic with nothing. We need help too!


Anonymous said...

I am amazed at the number of similar cases with AllState and Haag Engineering co. I am in the same situation, having waited for Allstate games for two years. AllState finally hired Haag Engineering company. They came up with bunch of erroneous made up observations. We have had such a difficult time to even get them to talk to us. This has been helpful to pursue my case against them in courts. IF anyone knows of attorneys (in TX preferred) who have had good success against these 2 companies please post your recommendations.