3 years after Camp Fire, owners fight against insurance companies

It’s been three years since the most destructive wildfire in California history ripped through the town of Paradise, and some of those who survived the campfire are still struggling with their insurance companies. The home of Randy Hendrix and his wife Corrie was charred in the fire but not destroyed. Randy Hendrix said he fought tooth and nail with his insurance company to get the money he needed to finish fixing his house. “All I went through with the insurance company was a fight from day one, and I’m still fighting with them to this day,” he said. “It would have been much easier if the house had just burned down – could have rebuilt it. I could have rebuilt it faster than trying to fix it. My mum had her money after taking pictures and checking that her house had It was three weeks later that she had all her money.” According to Hendrix, the battle began when an expert inspected the damage and did not approve the additional living expenses.” no water, no gas, no electricity and ash flying through the house, and it’s habitable?” Hendrix asked sarcastically. He said he had a new roof fitted shortly before it was damaged by fire. His insurance company paid for some of the repairs, but the roof began to leak in several places during the winter, according to Hendrix. He and his wife noticed a dripping ceiling and the hardwood floors were starting to warp from the hum identity. Foremost Insurance, a subsidiary of Farmers Insurance, refused to give Hendrix extra money to fix the leaks. He went on to say “there is no coverage” for Hendrix’s claim. “They didn’t believe the leak was from the heat of the fire,” he said. “This is after they replaced five feet of my shingles that had been melted onto the house siding and then put new runners on the ridge.” Farmers Insurance emailed Brittany Johnson of KCRA 3 the following statement: “We have continuously worked with our client to resolve his various claims. We have paid him for covered damages in accordance with the terms of his policy and remain available to review any additional information he may have to back up his claims feels like he is in a lose-lose situation he fears the situation will get worse come winter if his roof continues to Hendrix isn’t the only one having trouble with his insurance company. Several people have reached out to KCRA 3 Investigates to tell us about a variety of issues ranging from lenders not making insurance payments to insurance companies that don’t pay enough to cover the damage. After they started looking into a case, the insurance company settled with the owner but made them sign a non-disclosure agreement, which meant they could no longer speak with KCRA 3. “Even if we don’t see any problems, when you come to the Department of Insurance, there may be things you didn’t know in the police who can help you, and then if you have a problem, we are definitely there to help fix it,” said Michael Soller, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Insurance. Some advance payments for additional living expenses from insurance companies. A grace period to pay insurance bills. A mandatory one-year moratorium on insurance companies canceling or not renewing policies in or near a major wildfire. “What about people who suffered damage before these policies were put in place?” Brittany Johnson of KCRA 3 asked. “We know people are rebuilding, but there are also people who are still having issues. They should contact our department because at this point, a few years later, the laws may have changed,” Soller said. Although Randy has said he sometimes feels like giving up, he knows that packing up and leaving everything behind isn’t an option at this point in his life. “I can’t go anywhere until I retire,” Randy said. “I’m invested, so I just can’t get up and move.” 4357 or by emailing them through the website at insurance.ca.gov. If you are having trouble with your insurance company, KCRA 3 wants to hear from you. Complete this form on our website and our investigations team will contact you.

It’s been three years since the most destructive wildfire in California history ripped through the town of Paradise, and some of those who survived the campfire are still struggling with their insurance companies.

The home of Randy Hendrix and his wife Corrie was charred in the fire but not destroyed.

Randy Hendrix said he fought tooth and nail with his insurance company to get the money he needed to finish fixing his house.

“All I went through with the insurance company was a fight from day one, and I’m still fighting with them to this day,” he said. “It would have been much easier if the house had just burned down – could have rebuilt it. I could have rebuilt it faster than trying to fix it. My mum had her money after taking pictures and checking that her house had burned down. It was three weeks later that she got all her money.

According to Hendrix, the uphill battle began when an expert inspected the damage and did not approve additional living expenses.

“You have no water, no gas, no electricity and flying ashes in the house, and is it habitable?” Hendrix asked sarcastically.

He said he had a new roof fitted shortly before it was damaged by the fire.

Her insurance company paid for some of the repairs, but the roof began to leak in several places during the winter, according to Hendrix. He and his wife noticed a dripping ceiling and the hardwood floors were starting to warp from the humidity.

Foremost Insurance, a subsidiary of Farmers Insurance, refused to give Hendrix extra money to fix the leaks.

A report by Foremost Insurance stated that “interior water damage is due to wind-driven rain/rain leakage.” He went on to say “there is no coverage” for Hendrix’s claim.

“They didn’t believe the leak was from the heat of the fire,” he said. “This is after they replaced five feet of my shingles that had been melted onto the house siding and then put new runners on the ridge.”

Farmers Insurance emailed Brittany Johnson of KCRA 3 the following statement: “We have continuously worked with our client to resolve his various claims. We have paid him for covered damages in accordance with the terms of his policy and remain available to review any additional information it may have to support its claims.”

Without additional insurance money, Hendrix said he felt like he was in a lose-lose situation. He fears that the situation will get worse when winter comes if his roof continues to leak.

Hendrix isn’t the only one having trouble with his insurance company. Several people have contacted KCRA 3 Investigates to tell us about a variety of issues ranging from lenders not paying insurance to insurance companies not paying enough to cover damages.

After we started looking into a case, the insurance company resolved the issue with the owner but made him sign a non-disclosure agreement which meant he could no longer speak with KCRA 3.

Despite complaints, the California Department of Insurance hasn’t said there’s been an increase in people having difficulty dealing with insurance companies.

“Even if we don’t see any problems, when you come to the Department of Insurance there may be things you didn’t know about the policy that can help you, and then if you have a problem, we are definitely here to help. fix it,” said Michael Soller, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Insurance.

Soller said following the devastating fires of 2017 and 2018, additional protections were created for wildfire survivors, including:

  • Additional living expenses for residents under mandatory evacuation.
  • Some advance payments for additional living expenses from insurance companies.
  • A grace period to pay insurance bills.
  • A mandatory one-year moratorium on insurance companies canceling or not renewing policies in or near a major wildfire.

“What about people who suffered harm before these policies were put in place?” asked Brittany Johnson of KCRA 3.

“We know people are rebuilding, but there are also people who are still having issues. They should contact our department because at this point, a few years later, the laws may have changed,” Soller said.

Although Randy has said he sometimes feels like giving up, he knows that packing up and leaving everything behind isn’t an option at this point in his life.

“I can’t go anywhere until I retire,” Randy said. “I’m invested so I just can’t get up and move.”

Any homeowner or business that has suffered a fire and is not receiving payment for their claim can contact the California Department of Insurance for assistance by calling (800) 927-4357 or emailing them via the website at assurance.ca.gov.


If you are having trouble with your insurance company, KCRA 3 wants to hear from you. Complete this form on our website and our investigations team will contact you.

Kristan F. Talley