OKLAHOMA - Around 50 lawsuits arising after the May 2013 tornadoes in Oklahoma have now been settled.
All of those lawsuits were filed by attorney Jeff Marr on behalf of his clients who felt like their insurance companies were not paying enough to fix their tornado damaged homes.
These particular lawsuits were all against State Farm and Farmer’s Insurance but Marr still has several more pending against other insurance companies.
“They feel like they’ve gotten justice but they’ve still lost that time, you know, unnecessarily out of their lives,” said Marr.
Marr cannot reveal the exact amount of those settlements because of confidentiality agreements but he has won millions from insurance companies on behalf of his clients over the years.
“And the question that I always wonder and that the clients always ask, 'why didn’t they do it in the beginning? All I wanted in the beginning was to be taken care of and pay me what I was owed and I wouldn’t have had to come to you in the first place,'” said Marr.
He says the basic practices of many insurance companies have not changed and that he’s learned many things from his recent depositions that homeowners need to know.
One is to beware of your insurance company sending in a restoration service to try and restore some of your goods rather than replace them.
“We asked, 'you can’t get glass out of somebody’s sweater or somebody’s blanket?' And we’ve even seen stuffed animals, kids’ stuffed animals. 'Well, we restored it.' Ok, well it had fiberglass insulation and glass shards in it. Please, tell me how you restored it,” said Marr.
Also, watch out for the depreciation argument.
“Tell me what went into it and how you reached this amount of depreciation,” said Marr.
Another good idea is to hire your own structural engineer who can give you their opinion on the state of your damaged home.
“And then when they bring theirs out from most of the time out of state, you’ll have something to say no, no, I have this guy that I trust and he says I do have structural damage,” said Marr.
Farmer’s Insurance declined to comment on our story.
State Farm Insurance sent NewsChannel 4 this statement:
State Farm takes seriously our commitment to handling our customers’ claims, which is why more Oklahomans choose us over other homeowners insurers. The settlement you referenced was the final 16 cases from the more than 5,000 claims that State Farm handled from the May 2013 storms. We work diligently to resolve all disputes and are glad that we could conclude these cases for our customers.