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Climing insurance rates

January 16, 2013
Pine Island Eagle

To the editor:

This letter is to warn your readers and the public against the insurance company of the last resort that we all know.

Starting back in February of last year (2012), I started receiving phone calls and written correspondence from the insurance company, on a weekly/bi-weekly basis, etc. As my premiums were all paid up and all, I didn't think much about them, but still they persisted! As I finally took one of their calls, a pleasant female voice asked me if she could send a rep to my house, only to update their policies in their files, etc. She claimed it was more or less a courtesy call on their part. I finally relented and a kid showed up that same week (in February 2012) as I asked him why he was here, and what he was looking for, he said very little. Looking back, these were his instructions from the insurance company.

Regressing to Aug. 13, 2004, my red brick house here in Bokeelia took Hurricane Charley's eye wall directly, with sustained 178 mph winds, along with a direct hit by one of nine tornados in that day. My house is fully cement block and red bricks with hurricane straps in the roof, etc. Even so, I sustained some $62,000 damage that day, as my roof lost all shingles and tar paper. Because of this damage, there was, of course, a domino effect, ceiling collapsed, furniture ruined, beds, carpets and most appliances, etc. I would like to, however ,point out that my roof, glass doors and windows stayed on and in. My damage was caused by the unrelenting rain running between the seams of the 4-foot x 8-foot plywood sheets.

As we all know, remember, the insurance company emptied out a lot of bars in Texas to fill the void down here after Charley. They assigned me a man who flat out offered me $18,000 for my damage, even though he knew it was clearly more. Because of him I had to take my daughter out of school and I send her and my wife to Ohio for a whole year. This while I fought him personally and the insurance company in particular over my storm damage. Finally had to hire out-of-town insurance adjusters from Miami to bring smoke on them, and got a fair settlement.

Well, fast forward to 2012, and the insurance company is still alive and well. I asked the kid they sent here in February what his training consisted of and he said he used to run a Ferris wheel for some years in Sarasota. To me, this wasn't very comforting at all. This kid picked apart and criticized my house in his report. He did that as surely as the vultures eat road kill along Stringfellow Road.

I should also mention that of the original $62,000 I received, I personally spent $22,000 to improve my house by putting on a completely new metal roof with 4-inch screws, etc., life-time warranted!

He/they said that doesn't matter and hiked my yearly insurance through the insurance company from $720 a year to $1,450 per year! As I am a totally disabled Vietnam Veteran, I certainly cannot afford this! If you liked the book, your gonna love the movie, as I refuse to pay a penny more than the $720 a year and have told them so. I'm a fighter, and will not give up til I win!

I truly have a fortress here now and am not afraid of any future storm, only an insurance company paperwork blizzard.

Thanks for letting me vent and rant. A very concerned neighbor.

Tom Pollock




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