Carrying out property insurance

File Photo Hail left a mark on a home near Burlington after the storms of 2019. Wind and hail account for the largest portion of homeowner’s insurance.

A months-long struggle with a faulty roof, hurricanes and inconsistent insurance came to an end last June for one Minot family, thanks to persistent research and determination.

Debbie Fugere Fauske of Minot, who has a history of insurance, said she finally went to war with her family member to settle what turned out to be a years-long process, but not all homeowners know what to do when faced with a crisis.

“If you have a problem with your insurance, call the insurance committee. That’s what they’re there for, and then you have someone to help you and help you,” he said.

Trying to resolve issues with an insurance company on your own can be frustrating, said North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread.

“These people work on these things every day. They know the topics so well that it’s hard to talk to them,” Godfred said. “However, we can step on the shoes of consumers. Our main goal is to protect consumers and inform consumers.”

There is no direct cost to the consumer of the service. The program is funded by taxes on insurance premiums and other costs.

Godfread said the North Dakota Department of Insurance’s efforts have resulted in the industry’s resistance to reimbursement. In some cases if this does not happen, the department will provide other options that can be considered to be fully developed, or consumers will have the satisfaction of understanding why their policies will not cover their losses and will be more informed when buying insurance in the future, he said.

Fauske said her family member’s problem began when a contractor completed the wrong construction and the roofer denied the claim, despite the money he paid to insure the roof. He was able to obtain information from the Secretary of State of North Dakota about an insurance policy handled by an out-of-state general contractor, Tollberg Homes. Although it took some convincing, the contractor’s insurers eventually paid the homeowner’s claim.

Tollberg Homes is no longer in business. City of Minot records show the building in its current state, meeting all building codes at the time.

The insurance department continues to look into the policy inconsistency, though, because Safeco, the homeowner’s insurer, accepted a roof wind risk in January 2021 — which wasn’t enough to go beyond a deductible — before denying a second claim for wind damage. in June 2021 due to operational issues. Liberty Mutual, of which Safeco is a subsidiary, said it does not comment on specific matters affecting policyholders.

Fauske said his experience also reinforced the importance of working with companies that have local connections to avoid having to deal with outside influencers. Not all insurance products sold locally have a North Dakota connection so it’s important to look at more than price when choosing a policy, he said.

Tina Hughes, personal lines manager with First Western Insurance in Minot, said there are so many variables to consider when buying home insurance that finding an expert is important. An agent can guide a person through many processes that the average person would not consider when buying insurance, Hughes said.

“Sit down with someone you trust to send you the insurance needs and don’t waste money. Create coverage,” he said.

Wind and hail are the biggest loss factors that insurers see, and homeowners need to understand their policies and the limits that companies may place on these types of factors, he said. They need to understand how a fire safety investment, such as a new furnace or furnace cleaning, can pay off.

“They don’t have to call 1-800. They don’t have to listen to ads that say you can choose what you want,” Hughes said. “You can’t base it on premium. You have to base it on ‘If I lose, how am I going to be protected?'”

Ensuring that consumers are educated is the biggest challenge the insurance department is working on now, Godfread said. The goal is to increase the opportunity for the consumer education director to advance in society, whether he speaks to high school students as they grow older or adults who are facing changing needs with insurance.

“There’s definitely a huge gap in insurance coverage,” Godfred said. “A good insurance agent can help a lot with this, but again, it depends on the individual responsibility.”

He said the department can be useful to consumers who are buying insurance by providing answers to questions and identifying questions to ask their agents when they are ready to buy.

“We have people who are ready, willing and able to help you and manage what is sometimes a difficult situation,” he said. “There are no dumb questions when it comes to insurance, whether it’s up front before you buy, as you buy, at the time of the rental, at the annual inspection.”

As the state’s licensing agency, the department reviews insurance companies’ advertising and reviews and evaluates agents every three years. However, consumer complaints do come in, and his office investigates them when they do, Godfread said.

“It all comes back to consumer protection and making sure that the insurance being sold in North Dakota is good, fair and that North Dakota consumers are getting what they’re paying for,” he said. he said.




– North Dakota Department of Insurance:

– National Association of Insurance Commissioners: go and click “buyer” at the top of the page. The homeowner’s guide can be found at /sites/default/files/publication-hoi-pp-consumer-homeowners.pdf.

– Insurance Information Institute:

Today’s top stories and more in your inbox