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Moore Tornado Victims Still Experiencing Insurance Issues

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The Linger family says it's been headache after headache rebuilding after the tornadoes. And issues with their insurance, contractors, and mortgage company haven't made the process any easier. The Linger family says it's been headache after headache rebuilding after the tornadoes. And issues with their insurance, contractors, and mortgage company haven't made the process any easier.
MOORE, Oklahoma -

A breakthrough came for one Moore family faced with multiple challenges while rebuilding after the May tornadoes.

The family's insurance policy was set to expire Friday, but they say they got a call that changed everything. The Linger family says it's been headache after headache rebuilding after the tornadoes. And issues with their insurance, contractors, and mortgage company haven't made the process any easier

Stroke by stroke, Julia Linger is helping her son and daughter in law rebuild, after she says their contractor walked out on the job in October.

"It's more than six months since the May tornadoes, and we have no idea when, I unfortunately do not work at an extremely rapid pace. I pay attention to detail and can't guarantee when they're going to be in the house," Linger said.

Rain from the May 31 storm destroyed everything inside their home. Linger says their contractor cut corners on the doors and paint, then stopped showing up.

"They painted six of the 12 doors on both sides, and the other six, they only painted them on one side. We had asked for a bullnose corner, and they did a 90-degree corner. They only put one coat of paint on, and the insurance pays for two coats of paint," she said.

"The base molding was put up before the flooring was put in, so it was hung way too high , once the tile went on the floor there was a gap. So we had to tear all the base molding out and redo everything."

The Lingers have been doing all the work themselves and out of pocket since they've been in a battle getting their insurance company to help pay for the damage. It's a problem Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak says he handles every day.

"When you're dealing with someone's entire home and you start talking about the intricacies of a policy, each policy is unique and different, and that's our job to help them understand their policy and make sure they're getting paid," said Doak, whose office receives more than 30,000 calls and one million hits on their Web site each year.

"The further you get away from a major catastrophe, some of the harder to solve issues remain. We're just now finishing up helping Woodward with the 200 homes the year before with their disaster. So these things take time, and your insurance policy is a contract, and we want to make sure that companies are fulfilling that, so we serve as a buffer between the consumer and the company."

Doak said his office has held several town halls and meetings in the 16 counties that have been impacted by last year's storms and says about 100,000 Oklahomans have filed claims since.

So Linger said she called the Commissioner's Office and got results. Her canceled policy has been extended for three more months.

"The insurance company called and said that they reconsidered our request for the payment of the heat and air unit, which they originally were not going to pay for, and thanks to the insurance commissioner's office, Mr. Doak, I want to hug you, they are approving the $10,000 they're going to send that I spent," Linger said.

"This will help the kids get back in their house, the insurance commissioner's office really saved us."

In the meantime, the Linger family has been staying with relatives in Edmond.

"Nine people living in a 1,200 square foot house with six dogs," she said. "Then it's just horrible that they have to drive back and forth every day to bring their kids to school."

The family's contractor from Affordable Construction in Norman, said they have reached out to the family and plan to resolve the issue soon. Because of the dispute with the contractor, Linger says Wells Fargo Home Mortgage froze all their insurance claim money until court documentation is received stating both parties have reached an agreement.

If you're facing any issues with your insurance company, you can call the Insurance Commissioner's Consumer Line at: 1-800-522-0071, or its EAGLE Mediation line 405.521.2748 for any disputes. http://www.ok.gov/oid/

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