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"Send Lawyers, Guns & Money"

Posted by The Tartan Thistle 
Just found this site.

Here is our story that Farmers does not want to pay.

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Dear Farmers Insurance Group Adjuster

We have received your fax dated July 20, 2008, and thank you for this request for an update on the progress being made regarding the repair of our home damaged by fire on May 1, 2006. Belfor Construction Services, a Farmers preferred contractor, and recommended highly by our public adjuster David L Griffith, and also the company Farmers hired to assist in determining the Scope of Loss, performed a significant amount of the interior demolition of the fire damage, and were still gathering up their sani-can and we were dealing with debris they should have dumped but failed to remove from the premises.

David Griffith brought the repair check over to expedite the payment of Belfor. However, on November 30, 2006 Belfor rejected this ACV check which Farmers paid out in August 2006 and we endorced in the presence of our public adjuster, David L Griffith of Sound Loss & Claims and which he turned over to them. In about February 2007, we received a telephone call from the Belfor Legal Dept. stating that it was their understanding that our the public adjuster of Sound Loss & Claims was having the check revised. As stated previously, this was because Belfor Construction Services wanted it revised, and had to go through the proper authority. This revision of the check complicated things, as Farmers then issued Belfor a revised check which omitted our banks name as first lien holder and placed the Belfor Construction Services in this position. When Belfor called us to endorce this revised check we stated that we believed this was illegal as our mortgage bank wanted the pay outs to come through their office and for them to oversee construction process.

Our attorney Richard Sindell of Sindell & Associates in Seattle, Wa took time to review the case and it's many complicated issues. He stated that this revised check would require a stop payment, which was done. Then the public adjuster needed to endorce the new check. The check lay around his office for several weeks before signing. Finally we were able in June 2007 to pick it up and we deposited it immediately in at the Wells Fargo Property Loss Dept. Then the Wells Fargo Home Mortgage bank studied our case. We complained to the Washington State Insurance Commission that Belfor Construction coerced us into signing a Waiver of Lien absolving them forever of the tremendous intimidation to our family of the biological threat of black mold and other dangerous mold substances created using their skill as water damage specialists.

My family assumed this to be deliberate as they did not tarp the roof of our home as promised in the bid, and they initiated procedures which flooring specialists told us were guaranteed to destroy the homes original flooring rather than protect them or facilitate repairs. This amounted to using OSB, a layer of plastic and brown Kraft paper so the mold would have something to feed upon. It worked like a dream for them! When we removed the OSB the floors had been subjected to additional moisture. We told WOIC we believed the techniques were a scam called "House Cooking" utilized by construction companies and adjusters to increase property damage and make home repairs more extensive. Then Belfor "bowed out" leaving us with a good deal of mold remediation, an insurance company that rejected even a $5000 pittance to assist in removing the mold, and a settlement that did not allow for the upwards of $65,000 remediation bill for a mold remediation companies bid. All this cost us a sizable amount of "out-of-pocket expence for professional advise, as well as services to the home that as you state has sat so badly neglected by those hired to "protect our investment" and to help to indemnify us, and to "Put Us Back Where We Belong."

My husband, already exhausted from fire loss responsibilities, working overtime to pay two rents, and I set about the task of redeeming the home from destruction, as the Property Loss Dept. with held Belfor's money and Belfor's Legal Dept. drew up the paper work for us to sign to "let them off the hook forever," all under the threat of biological warfare to my family. We had a clever public adjuster that appeared to be working with our attorney and ourselves on the content claim. He'd told us that of 300 cardboard boxes of our house contents, there were just 40 with salvagable goods. We went through them, and this was not the case. On one hand we had Farmers saying: You can't sue us after one year. The public adjuster was abusive from the first week of his billing, writing letters for the insurance file to slander us as clients, stating we didn't intend to pay his bill given to us at the end of August 2006.

The bill was paid to date by October 11, 2006. We did not pay Sound Loss & Claims fee on the depreciated amount as this was not paid out by Farmers yet and the attorney stated the fee was owed as Farmers paid the settlement out. While we felt that we were making progress in complying with the content claim portion of the loss, the Sound Loss & Claims wrote that they wanted the balance paid on our account. Farmers paid this out, plus an attorney balance though our attorney told us he was willing to wait till repairs were complete enough for us to refinance the Sound Loss & Claims, and other fire expenses which have cost us $100,000 or more. Farmers stating to us they were unable to pay us for damaged house content, as there was now an over-payment. When this talk stopped, you said our content had been restored. This is certainly contrary to testimony by Kathy of ServiceMasters who stated they'd primarily just moved the content.

When Sound Loss & Claims came on the scene Mr Griffith fired them for conduct he considered "dishonest." This left storage sheds filled with moldy, sooty, fire suppressant damaged content which we were fore-warned by the mgr of the storage facility that when the insurance ran out, we'd have the burden of all this. It was only there for that long because our attorney instructed us to do an inventory for the purpose of a content claim which he was discussing with David Griffith of Sound Loss & Claims. It was unsanitary as well, with molding carpets, mold damaged books from our theological library, broken picture frames with broken glass, houseplants that absorbed smoke and spider mites in Servicemasters care. Stolen items from when the shed was broken into at end of May 2006, and we'd reported to police turned up at Servicemasters. But we were afraid to come and get them, for fear of jeopardizing the claim you'd paid out on, and we'd filed in "good faith." Items at the cleaner still appeared "soiled," or smelled of smoke. In addition to this, we'd requested not to have them professionally dry cleaned, but they were anyway and the check for a portion of this was given to David Griffith.

Finally about a year from the time Belfor performed the demolition of the interior, removing over $100,000 in plaster, though they'd promised to open just one wall, the Property Loss paid Belfor for their demolition work of the venetian plaster walls of the home. They'd quit in Spring 2007, stating that they were nevert paid. My family, already victimized by the fire loss, felt totally manipulated by the process instituted by the repair professionals. The public adjuster asked if we wanted to sell the home, and we said: Of course not! It's the home in which we've lived and raised our children for nearly 20 years. In fact we stated that if forced to demolish the entire home, we'd retain possession of the property. We believe that much of the stalling around and preventing repairs was being manipulated in a multi-pronged effort to apply financial pressure to drive the house toward foreclosure when paying for two residences became difficult. My family also believed many of the procedures to be "punitive" because we'd both suffered a total loss fire loss and hired a public adjuster to represent us. The public adjuster also makes reference to this in one of his letters to Farmers Insurance Group.

Our family has submitted the necessary paperwork to the Wells Fargo Property Loss in Springfield, Ohio. At the time of the fire loss we were contacted by our mortgage company who stated that they reserved the right to oversee the construction process. As you can guess they have had more than their share to "oversee." It took until July 2007 or later to obtain the ACV check through our attorney and to deposit it in the restricted escrow account. In December 2007 when Belfor released the lien, the char and water damaged roof could be demo-ed. This desire of Wells Fargo to control dispersion of repair funds and monitor the repair process, has of course, lengthened the process in numerous ways, since like you, they process claims for wildfires, hurricanes and more recently, the floods in Iowa. In our case, the contractors required documents have also been submitted and approved and as well as an exception which was approved by the Property Loss board on July 11, 2008 to get the funds to these contractors who are eager to complete the home repairs as soon as possible.

As of this date, we hope to have the fire loss repair project completed by January 2008, and deeply appreciate your patience in this matter. Wells Fargo Property Loss Dept. has been in communication with us, and indicates that the paperwork is in order now so that they can release funds to pay contractor deposits. For the first time since the loss, we feel the environment has been treated sufficiently for dangerous mold and fungus and when the roof goes on, will receive more attention prior to walls go in. From what we understand about Farmers fire damage repairs, walls that are still damp are coated with bin sealer. This would have not been sufficient. The public adjuster told us mold grows quite effectively through sealer. He stated black mold can grow through iron. So as you can see, although the process has been lengthened out, we could not have been comfortable with the more rapid procedures, which in no way guarantee peace of mind to a family that's experienced a fire loss. We have a little girl we adopted as an infant and were very concerned for her safety as well as out grandsons ages 4 and 6 monthes. This letter hits the highlights and is not intended to be all inclusive. But outlines some of the serious issues that have prolonged the repair progress. It's been a long and difficult process. We appreciate your kind understanding. Enclosing photo of Zani who is not getting any younger. At date of loss she was six and is now nine years old.

Alana M. Campbell

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