Storm Leads to Dispute Over Emergency Tree Removal

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Storm Leads to Dispute Over Emergency Tree Removal

Unread postby RatPak11 » Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:08 pm ... ah/03/2011

Storm Leads to Dispute Over Emergency Tree Removal in Ooltewah

Submitted by Nordia Epps on March 1, 2011 - 8:16pm. News | Environment | Hamilton County News
It's a question of profit over principle for an Ooltewah man in a conflict with his insurance company.

Monday's storms nearly toppled a tree onto Tony Slagle's house.

He says Allstate told him to fix the problem but now refuses to pay up.

Allstate disputes his account.

You can decide for yourself.

Tony Slagle, "We were absolutely distraught."

When Tony Slagle checked out his property after the storm he saw a tree perched in a precarious position.

Slagle, "Leaning at about 30 degree angle directly over the south side of the house here."

He tells me he called his insurance company Allstate to find out what to do.

After a bit of runaround he says he got an answer.

Slagle, "He said 'Well do what you gotta do.' He gave me a claim number and said 'Do what you gotta do to protect your property and we'll talk to you in the morning.' You know, 'We'll take care of you.'"

That's where Darrell Whitener's tree removal company comes in.

Darrell Whitener, "I let him know my opinion is it's going to fall. We need to get it down now."

Whitener recalls the tree moving in the wind and fresh roots bursting out of the ground.

Whitener, "I believe it would have tore the house half in two. That's why we acted like we did in darkness as dangerous as it was, we took the risk. This is our job and we took the risk for this man his home and of course for the money because this is how I feed my children."

But the daylight brought unwelcome news from Allstate.

The company won't cover the claim because the house didn't get damaged.

Slagle,"What it boils down to is you're in good hands with Allstate until you try to collect ,you know, until you need their help. Then they run for cover."

I spoke with the claims adjustor Rachel Renshaw.

She emailed me the part of the policy covering tree damage.

It says "...the fallen tree must have caused damage to property..."

She told me she's the one who would make all coverage decisions and she had no notes on Slagle's file indicating someone told him the company would pay for the removal.

Slagle, "I'm outraged and shocked."

Slagle's hoping Allstate has a change of heart but he's not holding his breath.

Slagle, "I've seen enough of the world to know that a lot of times profit comes before principle and that's what we have here."

The bill came to nearly $3200.

Slagle wants everyone to take a lesson from his experience...know your policy and procedures ahead of time.


no bonus
Submitted by Rocky (not verified) on March 2, 2011 - 10:41am.
Well looks like another person who cant seem to understand the concept of reading something before u sign it! Ms. Renshaw was absolutely correct because she deals with these douchebags everyday and this incident is just like a car warranty if u dont change ur oil ur engine will lock up and is not warranty nor is it insurance so take some responsibility for yourself and take care of your tress like a real man.By the way there is no bonus for them at all ya idiot they deal with people who apparently are too stupid to read their policies everyday!

Submitted by Guest (not verified) on March 2, 2011 - 9:19am.
A few years ago a dead pine tree fell on an out building we had and totally destroyed it. The tree had been dead for a while and I knew it but didn't have the money to have it cut down. My insurance co. (Cenral Insurance) sent an adjuster out and I admitted that I knew the tree was dead and couldn't afford to have it cut down. They paid for everything with no problems. Central Insurance is a wonderful insurance company. Instead of trying to find a way out of paying for something, they go out of their way to help their customers.

Submitted by GuestJohn Tippit (not verified) on March 2, 2011 - 8:43am.
I had severe wind damage to a storage building. I called my Allstate agent 30 minutes after it happened,around 3PM on2/28/11.I called and left voice mails 4 more times over the next 16 hours without a return call.Finally I called a national phone line and got the claim reported.Yeah, I'm in great hands!

Insurance companys
Submitted by Steven Churchhill (not verified) on March 2, 2011 - 3:20am.
They are trained to first look for every way to deny a claim. It is how they amass billions in proffits at the end of every year. The best employees are the ones that deny the most claims not the ones who issue the most checks.
It is just the way Insurance companys are trained to make money.
Sorry for your loss.

Allstate is right
Submitted by Jim Edwards (not verified) on March 2, 2011 - 12:12am.
Many times we struggle with situations where "the right thing" should have been done, but wasn't. This is not one of those situations. Although I completely sympathize with Mr. Slagle's position and his claim that an agent allegedly told him to do what needed to be done, I know firsthand that phone calls like this are carefully documented by insurance companies so I tend to believe their side of the story. Even if Mr. Slagle were told that the tree removal would be covered, it is still his responsibility to read and understand his policy, and the policy states that the tree must have caused damage before restitution can be made.

I completely understand that if the tree falls, Allstate would have been better off to have just paid for removal than to have to pay for rebuilding the home, but that's just not the way insurance works. You can't just demand that your insurance company pay for brake jobs on your car because it would cost more for them to repair the damage to the car when your brakes eventually fail. In the eyes of this policy, this tree was no different than one that might have fallen in the middle of the yard .

It's also Mr. Slagle's responsibility to realize that if there are tall trees around his house that there is always the possibility that a storm could blow them onto the house. If he didn't want to take that chance, then he should have removed the tree prior to this storm.

An insurance policy is a contract and it's there to help when a loss is incurred, not before. If people just start ignoring contracts then we quickly run the risk of falling into sort of a societal chaos. It would have been nice if Allstate would have come through and helped pay for the tree removal but they were by no means obligated to do so. If Mr. Slagle believes he was misled, then he's absolutely free to contact the BBB and report it, as well as take his business to another insurance company. But I promise you, no other company would write a policy to cover a situation like this.

In my opinion, WDEF's coverage of this story was more of an attack on Allstate than unbiased journalism. When Allstate provided a copy of the policy, WDEF should have read it, called off the attack on Allstate, and done the community a service by showing that homeowner's policies do not cover the cost of removing fallen trees.

Working for Allstate
Submitted by Guest (not verified) on March 2, 2011 - 10:53am.
By you complete and through knowledge, it is apparent that you work for either Allstate or another insurance company.
Go ahead and talk about how this story is unbiased journalism and you sit perched on your side of the fence.

Submitted by Guest (not verified) on March 2, 2011 - 11:16am.
We pay for insurance in the event that if something bad happens they are there to help you. We don't pay for insurance for them to take out precautionary measures. That's how it is. Yes, if someone on the phone told you they would cover it, then I believe it's on the insurance company for telling you that. Otherwise, it is not their responsibility to cut down your trees. If that was the case, they would be much more than INSURANCE.

It's Allstate's
Submitted by Guest (not verified) on March 2, 2011 - 10:13am.
It's Allstate's responsibility to provide Mr Slagle with the facts about what is covered when he calls them. It sounds like they failed to do that.

Mr Slagle should have gotten the name of the agent he talked to.

You're exactly right, with
Submitted by Guest (not verified) on March 2, 2011 - 12:00am.
You're exactly right, with Allstate and any other insurance you are in good hands until you decide to file a claim, than you're on your own. For the insurance companies profit will always come first and unfortunately customers will always come in last

Ms. Renshaw : How much bonus
Submitted by Guest (not verified) on March 1, 2011 - 9:52pm.
Ms. Renshaw : How much bonus will you get for declining to cover this claim ??

This is just another case of an insurance co. screwing over its policyholder.

Mr. Slagle : There are no principles when insurance companies are involved.

My insurance would get out
Submitted by Guest (not verified) on March 1, 2011 - 9:08pm.
My insurance would get out of payin by the dead tree syndrome,you knew the tree was dead and could fall on your house and you did not remove it so we will not pay your damages.If the owner knew the tree was leeaning because of the storm damage and did not remove it alstate would probally say sorry but you did not remove the tree so we cannot pay

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I think the insurance is
Submitted by Guest (not verified) on March 1, 2011 - 8:57pm.
I think the insurance is wrong but you had the wrong person remove the tree and his price is ridiculous
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