Oregon wildfire victims face insurance issues

02 September 2021

Published by https://www.kptv.com/

SANTIAM CANYON, OR (KPTV) – An Oregon family says they were left hanging by their insurance company after the devastating wildfires last fall.

“The whole process was very confusing,” Jennie Peters said.

Peters and her family are victims of the Beachie Creek Fire, which swept through the Santiam Canyon Labor Day week last year.

She says her husband was on their property as the flames swept through, trying to save everything he could.

“He watched his shop burn down, he watched our well house burn down, and he thought the house was going to burn down,” Peters said.

Their house was damaged but salvageable. It needed repairs, a new paint job, and deep cleaning to get rid of the soot and chemical smells. They stayed on their property to take care of their animals.

“Living in an RV with three kids, one being two months when we were evacuated, was not fun by any means,” she said.

Peters says after the fire, she took on the task of working with the insurance companies.

That’s where things got tough.

She says FEMA didn’t give them any help, so they had to rely on their insurance.

Peters says she had a tough time getting a hold of her insurance agent, and when they came out to process the claim, she says they were lowballed.

“Our estimates were even from other contractors to fix the house was coming in at about 60,” she said. “With cleaning, about $70,000 and insurance initially offered us $4,000.”

Peters says that after three months of stress and threats to sue the company she finally got some relief.

“It wasn’t until two weeks ago that the insurance agent adjuster we had been working with got fired, and we got assigned someone else who was amazing,” she said. “He got it done in two weeks.

FOX 12 reached out to FEMA Tuesday and have not heard back yet.

A spokesman with the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation tells FOX 12 that people should expect things to take longer than normal because so many people were impacted. However, there are cases like this that may need some special attention.

They have a great resource for wildfire insurance resources on their website at dfr.oregon.gov.

You can also call them if you feel like you’re not getting fair service from your insurance company.

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