A Tale of Three Engineering Reports

By Joseph Rhee

Aug 25, 2006 12:52pm

Mississippi Gulf Coast resident Minh Nguyen was devastated to learn that State Farm would not pay her claim after her home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.  An engineering report commissioned by the company had found the damage was caused by water, which was not covered by her insurance policy.   

Nguyen was shocked when, along with her denial letter, State Farm mistakenly sent her three engineering reports in the mail.  The first two reports had concluded the damage to her home was caused by wind, which is covered in her policy; the third report was the only one that said water damage was to blame.  According to Nguyen, "They tried to cheat me.  They tried to cheat me right here."

An attorney hired by State Farm, Wayne Drinkwater, said the company looked into Nguyen’s case and was prepared to offer her more money. "We were calling her and wanting to talk to her because we did think that more was indicated," he said. 

However, Drinkwater said State Farm discontinued its attempts after it discovered Nguyen had hired an attorney.  She is now suing State Farm, along with hundreds of other homeowners who allege that the company deliberately defrauded them in order to avoid paying claims. 

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