Wildfire survivors share insurance concerns at state forum

Feb. 16, 2017: More than 2,400 structures were damaged or destroyed in the Sevier County wildfire disaster. Most of those represented somebody's home. Months later, many people are still struggling to get firm answers about the final cost and the money th

SEVIER COUNTY - It’s been nearly three months since wildfires destroyed thousands of homes and businesses in Sevier County.

"There’s a lot of people wanting to move forward and I’m one of them,” said Jerry McCarter.

However, navigating the rebuilding process is complex. For many, it’s been months filled with phone calls and paperwork.

Which is why state lawmakers representing the affected areas and the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance came together Thursday night to host a forum to let victims voice their frustrations.

"We really want to serve as that mediator role,” explained TDIC Assistant Commissioner Michael Humphrey. “The consumer comes to us because they’ve had a hard time tracking down their insurance company or an agent hasn't returned their calls, we go directly to the company.”

For McCarter and his wife, they’ve already received the funds for their home, their burden lies with the payments for what was lost inside.

“We have to make an itemized contents list of everything we had in our home. After 12 hours of working, I can't find the time to sit down after supper to make a list of everything that was in that house,” McCarter said.

His insurance company will give him two years to finish the list.

"There’s a maximum amount of content insurance on that policy, why don’t they write that 'x' amount of dollars, hand me that check and no questions asked? I've paid for the policy? That’s what I’ve been paying for? Why can't they handle it like the structure insurance?” McCarter said.

A number of insurance carriers were available to meet with people one-on-one after the forum. Still, organizers will take what they heard back to Nashville with hopes to ease the burdens for these victims

"I appreciate everybody who showed up tonight and voiced their opinion, I think it’s really going to help,” said McCarter.

If you were not able to attend and have complaints or questions, you can submit those through the TDIC’S website.

(© 2017 WBIR)


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