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6 months since tornado: Stilwell homeowners face shortages in materials, delays with insurance

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Posted at 8:03 AM, Sep 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-06 09:03:58-04

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Brian MacGee hasn’t lived in his home since an EF-0 tornado tore through his Stilwell, Kansas, neighborhood on March 15.

He says the last six months have been filled with arguments with his insurance carrier, which hasn’t yet decided whether to repair or rebuild his home near 193rd Street and Antioch Road.

MacGee allowed KSHB 41 News to see the damage at his home.

Many walls are cracked. He said the home twisted on its foundation, pointing to areas where the carpet was pulled from the baseboard. He has a hole in his roof, is missing siding and insulation covers the master bedroom and its closet.

“It is an eyesore and constant reminder of poor service and inefficiency by the carrier to say the least,” MacGee wrote in an email to his insurance carrier, USAA.

He said no one from USAA has visited his home because of COVID-19 protocols. While sub-contractors and contractors of his choosing have visited the house, MacGee doesn’t believe USAA is using the information the contractors provide to make sound decisions.

A USAA spokesperson sent a statement to KSHB 41 News which read, “USAA is well known for our outstanding claims service. While we cannot speak to the specifics of this claim, we continue to work with our member to resolve the matter.”

In times of an argument like this, the Kansas Insurance Department can step in.

“We get to help people in usually in a place in their life where things aren't going too well. Whether that's a car accident, or a natural disaster, or a life event,” said Vicki Schmidt, the Kansas insurance commissioner. “I think our people in consumer assistance are very empathetic and they also want to get an answer. I can tell you that you don't always get the answer that we want, but we will always get you an answer and that helps with closure, no matter the situation.”

Kansans can file a complaint with the insurance department (Missouri has a similar program) and will look into the matter for free to make sure insurance companies are following all state laws and regulations. This applies to all kinds of insurance - from homeowners to medical and life.

“We deal with insurance companies every day and so we might have a little bit of an advantage,” Schmidt pointed out.

MacGee has not yet filed a complaint with the Kansas Insurance Department.

Down the block, one of MacGee’s neighbors said a shortage in materials like sheet metal and roofing delayed repairs to his home and garage by about four months.

A shortage of labor meant a piece of sheet metal from his old garage was stuck in a tree for four months before someone was able to remove it.

To file a complaint against an insurance company in Kansas, visit this website or call 1-800-432-2484

In Missouri, you can enter a complaint online or by calling 1-800-726-7390