Tuesday, May 25, 2010

David Slays Goliath....

Insurance companies are delighted to take our money against the promise that they will, in fact, insure us, but then when it comes time to actually live up to their end of the bargain, they have a knack for figuring out how to weasel out.

And frequently, when the little consumer David goes up against the insurance company Goliath, Goliath wins, or at least thinks it has won.

I am thinking about my friend Rhonda, who lives in Northern California who paid... and paid... and paid... one very well known insurance company for 20 years, and then when she went to file a claim that should have been covered, suddenly it wasn’t. She did not take this laying down...
But she didn’t win. And I think the insurance company didn’t win, either. The insurance company was rather shortsighted in refusing to pay. Think about it, because they obviously didn't: They had collected far more thousands of dollars from her and her husband during the 20 years that they had been customers than the company would have had to pay out by honoring the claim. And the company would have kept my friend as a customer and gone on to collect probably many more thousands of dollars.

So yeah, they skated on paying the $2600 bill to fix the car, but now another insurance company will be getting their money. 

Our church also went up against an insurance giant when it refused to honor a claim that we filed, but we fared quite a bit better, when the dust of the battle finally settled. About 15 years ago the company was happy to write a policy on the church building “as it was.”  Then, about 2 years ago, an ice storm came through this area that caused extensive damage to many buildings, including the interior structure of the church roof. The contractor we hired to give us an estimate said the entire roof structure would have to be taken off and replaced, and it was going to cost $30,000.

We presented the estimate to the insurance company, and they offered us $1500.

Nope. That wasn’t going to happen.

So things went back and forth for a while, and we were forced into an arbitration agreement with a court-appointed mediator.

In the meantime, the church had to borrow $30,000 to pay the contractor to make the repairs before the entire roof collapsed into the auditorium. For a while before the repairs could commence because of weather, steel cables were stretched across the auditorium to make sure the walls didn’t move.

And the arbitrator decided that, yes, the insurance company had to pay... but only $10,000.

Nope, that wasn’t going to happen either.

So, this little David got himself a good sling (a very good attorney), who wrote some letters (5 smooth stones), and about 2 weeks ago, the insurance company sent us a check for $29,000. And the attorney only charged the church about $500 for his services.

The church was out some money for sundry expenses, but we were able to pay off the loan, the building has a new roof, and story ended well. Will the insurance company continue to insure the building now that it has a spanking new roof on? One wonders....


Pudge450 said...

Having experienced dealing with insurance companies in the wake of hurricane Katrina, I can believe almost anything they attempt to put over on policy holders. However, I had one baffling experience with a claim on a travel trailer which was stolen from us (by the same thief who stole Crystal Gayle's motor home).

We submitted the claim and they paid us MORE than we had paid for the trailer about 6 months before. We didn't ask any questions.

Oklahoma Granny said...

I read a blog post not long ago about a home that was totally destroyed by a tornado several years ago. At one point the home owners were actually asked if they were SURE a tornado was the cause of the destruction. Well, DUH! What did the company think? The owners tore their house down only to have to rebuild. And they destroyed other homes too to make everything look good?