Insurance, Contractor Headaches Haunt Minneapolis Tornado Victims

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The owner of this home says insurance companies are giving Northside residents the short shrift. Click image to watch his story

Eric Reichwald lives at 1330 Washburn Ave North in Minneapolis. The May 22nd tornado caused extensive damage to his home. His garage was destroyed. His roof had to be totally re-done as water was running through the walls of his house. Many windows also had to be replaced. His car was totaled and the foundation on his home shifted.

It was a nightmare. Add to that the headaches due to contractors and the insurance company.

“To this day, I cannot tell you who my insurance agent is,” says Reichwald.

His adjuster came straight from Joplin, Mo., 10 days later. Reichwald says that many adjusters came from out of state, and therefore weren’t familiar with city codes. He says that is a deliberate choice on the part of the insurance company.

He was not able to start work on his house until October because the insurance company did not agree to fix the chimney. As a result, he lived in the house all summer as it was falling apart. He recalls the stench of mold due to water leaking in from the roof.

Meanwhile, Allstate Insurance claims it promptly dealt with Eric’s claim. The company say the main issue Eric has is with his contractor. Shaundra Turner, a media representative says Allstate tries to warn its customers against unscrupulous contractors.

She also says it’s not unusual that Eric dealt with so many Allstate representative. Allstate needed to properly assess the damage since his home was older — and that required several people being involved in his case.

Reichwald claims that Allstate did not pay his extra living expenses while his house was in repair — Allstate counters that it did.

Eric has a bigger dispute with his contractor. The roof, which has been repaired twice, is still leaking. He says the foundation has shifted. He had to hire his own structural engineer to prove so. Eric’s contractor refuses to give him the name of the roofer who repaired his house, their insurance information or an itemized receipt.

He says this ordeal has been an enormous headache. But, he acknowledges that at least he has the time and resources to make sure the work on his home is done correctly. Many of his neighbors do not.

Allison Herrera

Allison Herrera, originally from San Luis Obispo, Calif.,  studied media and Spanish at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., where she earned her bachelor s. Since moving to the Twin Cities, she has been a news producer for KFAI Fresh Air Community Radio, communications coordinator for Twin Cities Public Television's arts series MN Original, and producer for the Association of Minnesota Public and Educational Radios Stations for the series MN90: Minnesota History in 90 Seconds.

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