No repairs in sight for damaged home - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Fanna Haile-Selassie

No repairs in sight for damaged home


Rochester, MN (KTTC-DT) --

Now, more than a month since an EF1 tornado touched down in Rochester, homes in the northwest part of town remain almost untouched. One homeowner we talked to says she's in a battle with her insurance agency to pay for the damages.

There's a large, faded X on this garage door, after the Rochester fire department deemed this house to be unsuited to live in. But the Hennessy family is still in here. They have no place to go after their insurance agency said it wouldn't pay for a hotel.

"The insurance company told me to hold off on everything. They told me not to do nothing on this job," says contractor Matthew McMahan.

To do nothing on a home with shattered windows, broken nails scattered on the floor, and broken tresses in the roof. The Hennessy family should not be living in the home, but they have no where else to go.

"It's unsafe for the children. I wish I could move to the hotel and live in the hotel until the house is fixed. If I can hear verbally or a written letter from State Farm... they cover, I would," explains frustrated homeowner Lan Hennessy.

One week after the tornado ripped through this part of Rochester, a State Farm insurance adjuster came to look at the Hennessy's house. Contractor Matthew McMahan was with him that day.

"When he was here, I just didn't think he was giving it the proper attention. But I just kind of let that go, thinking that he does this for a living, he knows what he's doing."

So, McMahan wrote up his estimate to repair the damage that both he and the adjuster said was needed. Somehow McMahan's estimate was a whole lot higher, by almost $20,000.

"It's all kinds of things that he missed," exclaims McMahan. "I mean, he was here for 45 minutes and gone. And then it took him 3 or 4 days to just get his estimate together to get the damage. And once we got his estimate, you know, we thought the reason why it was taking so long is because of how much damage. Well, once we got his estimate, he had about half the damage he should have had."

The Hennessys say they've been on the phone with State Farm everyday and the stress is wearing them down. They say they just want their insurance company to do the right thing.

"It's terrible. It's unbelievable. It's really unsafe for us to live in this house and State Farm really neglected... whatever you call, it's irresponsible," says Hennessy.

We could not reach a State Farm representative this afternoon for comment. Contractor Matthew McMahan says he has two other clients in the area dealing with the same insurance adjuster, and they are going through similar problems. But the company did tell the Hennessy family it would send out another adjuster on August 3rd, more than a month and a half after the tornado.

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