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Waldo Fire Victims Feel Bullied By Insurance Companies

Posted: 3:18 PM Jan 26, 2013
Reporter: KKTV

Homeowners affected by the Waldo Canyon Fire feel like they are in a tug-of-war battle with their insurance companies.

Over 100 residents filled the room at a heated and emotional call-to-action meeting Saturday with representatives from the Colorado Division of Insurance. (DORA).

Dozens stood up for their families and spoke their minds about mistreatment of their fire insurance settlement claims.

The fire victims say they feel abused, neglected and bullied by their insurance companies.

"I've been intimidated, I've been harassed, I’ve been ignored and in the meantime I just want my home back to the pre-loss condition that my policy states I should have,” said Mountain Shadows homeowner Judy Brinkman. “I’m not asking for anything, I don’t want any money from the insurance companies that I am not owed.”

The meeting addressed damage settlements, repairs, property replacement and customer service issues.

Families and homeowners were very emotional as they talked about health issues, improper damage evaluations, and unresponsive adjusters. Many said they are not being properly paid for their losses.

“Everyday you wipe off the dust, you wipe off the suit and ashes. And it got so hot inside the house, that our windows are separated from the house itself” said Peregrine homeowner Julie Pruitt.

“They've like we don't have to cover that, or the other comment is 'always prove that is from the fire.' We're just in circular arguments, frustration, anger, resentment; there's just nowhere to go. You just feel like such a victim,” said Brinkman.

The main issues brought up were: suit, ash and smoke damage, exterior house damage, insurance companies' failure to investigate properly, non-responsive insurance adjusters, no time extensions, family health issues caused by the fire, damage not evaluated properly, under insured, suffering from additional costs, not being paid for their losses. Many asked for DORA to investigate their insurance companies and how they are handling their claims.

“I’m a Vietnam veteran, I went over to Vietnam to protect the people of the United States, and I did my duty. That’s why DORA has to do their duty, and state representatives have to do their duty,” said Mountain Shadows homeowner Ron Haberkorn.

Families who just want to move on after the Waldo Canyon Fire say the insurance woes are taking a huge emotional toll.

"People just need to be made whole and let people move on, but it's hard to move on when you don't have closure on getting things fixed, and having to struggle through that every day,” said Pruitt.

The newly formed Catastrophic Insurance Complaints in Colorado (CICIC) Association held the meeting at the Colorado Springs Together Facility.

Residents had the chance to offer their issues in order to form some solutions in front of DORA, as well as local and state leaders and legislators.

If you need help with your Waldo insurance issues, contact CICIC at 719-660-8158.

Or submit a complaint to DORA at: http://www.dora.state.co.us/pls/real/Ins_Complaint.Submit_Form


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