Minneapolis Storm Damage Claims

Severe Hail and Wind Damage Define the Summer of 2011

Minneapolis Storm Damage Claims – Summer 2011

Minneapolis Storm Damage Claims – Summer 2011

The Quades vs. Big Insurance – A First Hand Account of Life After the Hail Storm

A new roof was installed on Ross and Marlene Quade’s home in March, just weeks before a severe hailstorm battered their southwest Minneapolis neighborhood.

The Quades moved to Minneapolis after Hurricane Katrina left 7 feet of water in their Baton Rouge, La., home, but their prior experience with a natural disaster hasn’t erased the frustration of wrestling over their latest insurance claim.

Ross Quade said State Farm’s initial damage estimate for their home in Minneapolis was $10,418 and that the company said there wasn’t enough damage on the front half of the roof to warrant replacing it.

Quade said the insurer also refused to compensate them for damage to the home’s brickwork.

A general contractor and roofer the family worked with said it would cost $21,304 to repair the home, not counting the damaged brick. Marlene Quade said a second State Farm adjuster came to the house at one point, but has not yet provided an updated estimate.

“We felt like we were between a rock and a hard place here,” Ross Quade said.

A series of severe storms brought tornadoes, hail and violent thunderstorms to the Twin Cities, weather events unprecedented and usual for the ferocity.

Farm Bureau estimated its claims at $100 million across Minnesota, and State Farm, the largest insurer of homes and autos in Minnesota, was forced to add temporary inspection facilities across the state to handle the high number of auto claims from the storms.

It’s been several months since spring storms left damaged roofs, dented cars and downed trees across a wide swath of the Minneapolis and Saint Paul metropolitan area, but repair work is still going on in many places. And while the storm has boosted the business of many contractors and home-repair specialists, it has left some homeowners frustrated over disputes with their insurance company.

Jen Smith has a rental home in South Saint Paul that was damaged by the storm, and said she was happy because Allstate initially responded very quickly. The problem came when she brought in a contractor for the rental home, who told her there wasn’t enough money to address all of the damage.

Smith said that eventually she was told by an Allstate representative that they don’t pay profit and overhead costs to general contractors hired to manage a variety of different issues, unless it’s a particularly complex claim. Roth said she lost the contractor over the dispute, and was left with the feeling that the insurer must not be paying enough.

“My take is, look, I don’t know if this is reasonable, I don’t know what this should cost, it’s not what I do,” she said. “I do what I do so I can pay the premiums every six months.”

Insurance companies, of course, have been inundated with claims in the wake of the storms, and State Farm spokesman Meher Sekhon said the company works hard to ensure policy holders get what they’re owed.

Sekhon said he couldn’t comment about the Quades’ claim specifically, but said that in general “we handle each claim on its own merits.” In addition, he said that because State Farm is a mutual company, it isn’t looking out for the bottom line or its stock price.

The Quades have turned to a local contractor to press their case, a Minneapolis company called Bayport Roofing and Siding. The firm’s president and CEO Tom Svendson, is an ex-insurance adjuster with years of experience in disaster relief, and he indicated homeowners often don’t know how to pursue money that they’re entitled to receive.

Insurance companies, he said, “don’t really have the authority to not pay many of these things that they should be paying. And they will if they’re forced to but they won’t if they’re not.”

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