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water damage and now black mold

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Junior Member
What is the name of your state? California
I have been trying for the last 9 to 10 weeks to recieve compensation to correct the water damage in my home, from my homeowners insurance company. I believe that a great deal of the mold is a direct result of my insurance company's complacentcy in resolving this issue. I have made numerous phone calls, sent faxes, and sent letters insisting that this claim be resolved imediately, and all that I continue to get is excuses. I'm wating for this report, or that paperwork, or nothing at all from these people. There seems to be no sence of ugentcy. There's alot more detail to this story, and I would love to talk to some that may be able to help. PLEASE! What are my options? Here is a letter that I sent.

February 8, 2005

Linda Arce
Claims Representative
Risk Enterprise Management
On behalf of Hawaiian Insurance and Guaranty Company, LTD
C.c. Shaver Insurance Co. (agent)

Dear Ms. Arce

I am writing this letter to demonstrate my frustration in our continued attempts to settle our claim. After several phone calls, faxes, and now this letter, you have yet to demonstrate any sense of urgency in settling this issue. This dialog began almost two months ago, at which point you were notified of the water damage that we had experienced. We now have mold in the walls. I believe that the mold can be directly attributed to the amount of time that it has taken so far to try to resolve our claim. So, beside the damages that you are already aware of, I will also expect to be compensated for the inspection, and removal of the mold.You may be wondering how that I know that there is mold in the walls. It’s growing through the dry wall. I believe that we have been patient with you, understanding that we are not your only account. However; the fact that we have yet to receive any correspondence from any representative in your organization in the last week, in spite of our phone messages, and faxes, causes us to question the good faith of your company. Along with this letter, I am including another copy of the contract that I faxed you. This is the contract that you had requested, reflecting water damage repairs only. I will further notify you as far as all issues involving mold.


James R. Bishop

Claim Number 57000190
Home Phone 909 980-9788
Email Rockbish@aol.com
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I can provide only a general response with such limited information.

What you have written sounds generally okay. You are moving in the right direction, generally. Their response however, is likely to be the following: Under Section 1 Conditions, Your Duties Following a Loss; you are required to: take all reasonable measures to protect the property from further damage; make temporary repairs and keep receipts associated therewith, mitigate further loss and damage to insured and insurer.

This means that unless you lack the financial capacity to fulfill the obligations above, you are responsible for the mold damage which is collateral to your loss. Meaning: the mold is due to a non-concurrent cause.

The other major issue is that in recent years, mold, particularly black mold, stachybotrus[sp?] have scared the hell out of insurers. Although there are very few real toxic house cases nationwide, the industry took notice. So...although you may have mold and it may be a good tool to get the insurer's attention and motivate the adjuster, the downside is that your just got their attention and motivated the adjuster. You also just motivated them to put the brakes on and go into defensive mode. Strategically, this was probably not the best move for one with limited property claim experience.

Any half-assed insurance defense attorney will do pretty well at stomping you with your own words.

You need to find an attorney that specializes in 1st party PROPERTY CLAIMS. Make them prove that they have handled more than 15 or 20. Check the "Insurance Bar" publication. Pay them by the hour to review the loss and edit your letters. Otherwise a competent Public Adjuster should be able to get you moving in the right direction. The top few companies are Alex Sill, Assura Claims, Bladwin Group. They will likely charge you 15-30% but will deliver bang for the buck.


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