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Question
Hi Kevin - I just received what looks like a form letter with our names & address cut and pasted at the top from a district underwriter at American Family informing us that our homeowners policy will not be renewed effective our anniversary date in early August due to the following claims listed below:
3/5/2012   Freeze/Water     $1,285
1/2/2012   Wind          zero
8/8/2010   Wind          $3,337
7/15/2009  Wind          $21,844

1) The 2009 claim was not wind but hailstones (coding error?) that were the size of apples which damaged 16 sections of vinyl siding and ruined the roof as determined by Am Fam's appraiser. It was not classified as catastrophic because the damage was limited to my suburb. Everybody in my neighborhood received new siding and/or roofs.
2) The 2010 claim appears on my CLUE report as catastrophic, which it was, wind driven rain that got in through by bedroom window and ran down the wall into the two rooms below.  Also wind-driven rain through a gable vent into window frame of bedroom below. Both window & gable were properly repaired to prevent this from ever happening again & insurance repaired the water damage.
3) The 1/2/12 was a non-event that I never should have called in. A section of my siding was laying in the yard after a winter blizzard. Turned out to be a leftover piece from original installation that was wedged up there somewhere and the high wind dislodged and blew down. Should never have called it in and no payment made.
4) The 3/5/12 claim is coded wrong. It was a garbage disposal back-up that went undetected and ruined a finished basement bathroom cabinet & laminate counter top. At the time, my mother and youngest son had been simultaneously been diagnosed with cancer; we were overwhelmed and called it in to AmFam without thinking.

Kevin, I have a customer of AmFam's for over 24 years with a good claim record prior to above. The house has no mortgage, high FICO and insurance score, on-time payments & no risk or liability issues. Do I dispute with underwriter, my agent, or the state insurance commissioner and what about coding errors? If not, how do I seek another insurer without my premiums going up astronomically and my insurability taking a major hit? My naivete about homeowners showed in two of the above claims and in my way-too-low deductible of $250. Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

Answer
Jim,

I am sorry to hear about your problems here.

Every carrier has different underwriting guidelines. As a general rule, weather-related claims are not supposed to be assessed against a policy for "excessive claims" as these are considered "acts of God" and not something under which you have any control whatsoever. Claims for which no coverage exists or for which no payment is made are also classified differently (generally) as these have not affected the company's loss ratio.They also usually look at 3-year periods and see how many happened within that time frame.

Your best bet is to involve your agent in this dispute as he will have the most pull with the Carrier. (It cuts into his profits when he looses policies.)

They may decide to re-new but on a different policy and at a higher deductible. (The $250 is very rare these days.)

Hope this helps and best of luck.

Kevin Hromas
JD, EGA, RPA, PLCS, HCRI-R/C, CPIU, WIND® Umpire
Kevin Hromas & Associates
... A Division of US Insurance Information LLC
www.KevinHromas.com

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Kevin Hromas - JD, EGA, RPA, PLCS, WIND Umpire

Expertise

Insurance related issues for both commercial and residential property coverage. I am a licensed, executive general adjuster currently holding a Texas resident P&C license (614250), New Mexico non-resident all lines license (248774), Oklahoma non-resident P/F/M license (A299561), Florida non-resident P&C license (E117051) and a National Flood Insurance Program certification (06040100). My areas of expertise involve property and casualty issues in both residential and commercial policies with regards to claims practices and issues. I deal extensively with Lloyd's of London commercial policies and various domestic carriers for residential policies.

Experience

I am a licensed, executive general adjuster currently holding a Texas resident P&C license (614250), New Mexico non-resident all lines license (248774), Oklahoma non-resident P/F/M license (A299561), Florida non-resident P&C license (E117051) and a National Flood Insurance Program certification (06040100). My areas of expertise involve property and casualty issues in both residential and commercial policies with regards to claims practices and issues. I deal extensively with Lloyd's of London commercial policies and various domestic carriers for residential policies. After a 20 year career as a General Contractor, I was employed by Allstate Insurance as an adjuster in Texas, holding various postitions within the property claims department. After leaving Allstate, I specialized in handling losses associated with major catastrophes through-out the country. (Hurricanes Isabel, Charlie, Wilma, Katrina, Ike, etc., hail storms, floods.) I am currently retained as an expert by multiple insurance defense firms in Texas for issues in litigation in regards to claims issues and practices. I am also a certified Umpire for formal appraisals.

Organizations
Member - Society of Registered Professional Adjusters Fellow - Council on Litigation Management Member - Property and Casualty Association Member - Texas Independent Insurances Adjusters Association Member - National Association of Independent Insurance Adjusters Member - Houston Claims Association Member – Windstorm Insurance Network Member – Association of Property & Casualty Claims Professionals

Publications
Claims Magazine (www.ClaimsMag.com and then search 'Kevin Hromas' for a full listing of articles and quotes.) www.ClaimsPages.com, www.ProAdjuster.org, www.KevinHromas.com

Education/Credentials
JD - University of Houston Law Center - 1992 BA - Southwest Texas State University - 1980 AA - South Plains College - 1977 PLCS - Personal Lines Coverage Specialist

Past/Present Clients
Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's of London, Fulbright & Jaworski (Law Firm) Bracket & Ellis (Law Firm) Thamm & O'Briant (Law Firm) Sheehy, Ware & Pappas (Law Firm) Walker, Wilcox and Matousek (Law Firm) Financial Guarantee Underwriters

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