Ghosted by the insurance company? Homeowner claims insurer stopped responding to his emails and calls

Reporter: Andryanna Sheppard
Published: Updated:

Cape Coral homeowner Ryan Kren said not only did his homeowner’s insurance company, Slide Insurance, write him a check worth less than 10% of the estimated damages, the company initially ignored his calls and emails too. Eventually, the case was resolved but only after Kren complained to WINK News and the state.

The hurricane shutters at Kren’s home are still hard at work months after Hurricane Ian. Not protecting the windows. They’re make shift gutters now.

“We’ll use the shutters kind of like a drainage system, so it doesn’t affect the integrity of the structure there,” Kren said, pointing to the shutters on the ground outside his home.

The damage doesn’t stop there.

“This bag right here that I tape up, you can see the hole that’s behind it,” Kren pointed to the plastic bag covering a hole in the wall next to the entrance to his house. “It goes all the way to the rebar, and water was just going in there nonstop for a couple of hours.”

Cracks, crevices, and holes are all around his home because he said his insurer is ignoring him, his public adjuster, and now his lawyer.

“No one returns calls. Our case is basically at the back of the line. I don’t even know if there is a line anymore,” added Kren.

His homeowner’s insurance policy is with Slide Insurance. The two-year-old company took over the policies of other companies that were declared insolvent, according to their website. In 2022, it took over St. John’s Insurance Company policies, and in 2023, some of United Property & Casualty Insurance Company (UPC) policies.

“A lot of people got it a lot worse off than we did,” Kren said.

Kren filed a claim with Slide the day Hurricane Ian barreled across Southwest Florida. A couple of days later, he checked out the damage with a certified inspector.

“We did a full inspection,” said Kren. “He went up in the attic. He checked everything, checked for water damage, stuff like that inside the walls.”

Kren gave WINK Consumer Investigator Andryanna Sheppard a copy of the 37-page inspection report, full of pictures documenting roof damage, water damage in the walls, the attic, the gutters, and other parts of the home that need fixing. A couple of weeks after that, Slide’s field adjuster did the same.

“I told him that I was going to send him the inspector’s report that I had received independently, and I did that. I emailed it to him, and he had said that he was going to forward that report to my desk adjuster at Slide,” Kren recalled. “Either he never did that, or they received it, and just kind of discounted it all together.”

He later got an email from the claims adjuster saying Kren would get a check for about $11,000. An estimate he got on his own to fix the roof and solar panels is more than $73,000.

“It just didn’t add up at all. We’re looking at a minimum $130,000 in damage,” added Kren. “So I called back and they closed my claim after that conversation I had and just totally pushed my file away.”

Copies of Kren’s emails show him attempting to reach out to his assigned desk adjuster over and over again, but in silence. So he hired a public adjuster.

“They were completely unresponsive to him,” Kren said. “He didn’t hear back at all. So I decided to hire an attorney.”

And that worked…for a while.

“We went to mediation at that point. This was like a month later. And they offered us, I don’t know. I can’t remember the exact number. I think it was like $30,000 or $40,000, but it still was a drop in the bucket. And we just said, ‘you know what, we’ll take this even further,'” Kren remembered.

After that, crickets. Many Southwest Floridians have emailed WINK News with the same problem with different insurance companies. So WINK Consumer Investigator Andryanna Sheppard spoke with Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate, Tasha Carter. She’s also been tasked with streamlining Ian claims to get them handled in a timely fashion and fairly.

“What advice do you have for people stuck in the same situation?” Sheppard asked.

“They should first reach out to the Florida Department of Financial Services Division of Consumer Services to file a complaint against their insurance company,” Carter said. “That allows the department to be able to establish trends and patterns of practice as it relates to insurance companies. With that information, it can then be shared with the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, who would investigate and review those practices and allegations against insurance companies and then take regulatory action against them.”

Kren said he did file a complaint with the state. They sent him an email in response, in part, saying:

“Based on the impending lawsuit, this became a ‘legal issue’ and unfortunately all I can do is advise you to continue to follow up with your attorney. While insurance companies do fall under our purview, because the claim is going or went to litigation, it became a legal matter and our department is not permitted to intervene at that point.”

Like many Southwest Floridians, Kren just wants his house back to what it looked like before Ian.

“If you’re going to get into the insurance business, you have to be ready to take risks and lose money and just to push customers aside just to protect your own pocket, it’s not right,” Kren added.

Sheppard sent an email to Slide Insurance about Kren’s case to get answers. She received a response from Slide’s PR company who said “Slide is unable to comment due to open litigation in this matter.”

Days later, Kren told me he and Slide reached a settlement, and the PR company sent another statement:

“In all claims, Slide adheres to the statutes and proper protocols in our claim and litigation processes. That includes communicating thoroughly and frequently with policyholders’ representation.”

Kren told Sheppard he is now happy with the outcome.

If you’d like to submit a complaint to the state, click here. Have your policy and claim numbers ready.

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