What you would think would be a simple water damage insurance claim took three years to get properly settled. This semi retired couple had water damage from a broken pipe to their home. They promptly reported their insurance claim to St Johns Insurance Company. Then their problems started. St Johns sent out an independent adjuster who had a know it all attitude, but little experience in handling insurance claims. They offered a very low amount of thirteen thousand dollars to repair the damaged laundry room, kitchen, hall bathroom, living room, den, master bathroom, and master bedroom.
The cards were stacked against my clients from the start, because Saint Johns Insurance Company removed the policyholders right to go appraisal. Appraisal is a form of Dispute Resolution that is binding on all the parties. Appraisal is relatively inexpensive and fast means of getting insurance claims settled. But since appraisal was not in the insurance policy, the long road of fighting St Johns had to take a different route.
The journey began with Florida State sponsored mediation which proved to be a total waste of time. Even though the damages exceeded fifty thousand dollars at mediation Saint Johns only offered a few thousand more than their original low ball offer. The next step was to lawyer up!
After the initial trading of files and much legal wrangling which took another one and half years, the judge ordered all parties to go court appointed mediation. Again, St Johns Insurance Company made another low ball offer, but this time thru their attorneys. Meanwhile, my clients borrowed money from their own 401K to repair their water damaged, mold damaged home. Hoping one day they might recover their life savings.
Finally, after depositions were taken from all the parties involved and more legal wrangling Saint Johns Insurance Company made an acceptable offer to my clients. This process took three years and much patience by the nice central Florida couple. So what is the moral of the story? That insurance companies have no morals!