Three contractors refused to fix the roof on Brad Thomas' West Palm Beach home after Hurricane Wilma.
The damage was too extensive, he said he was told. The roof tiles aren't made any more and others won't fit, Thomas recalled the contractors saying.
His insurer, Fidelity National Property and Casualty Insurance, insisted that the roof could be repaired, he said. In a 2006 letter, the company said the damage was minor, according to Thomas' adjuster Paul Handerhahn.
Thomas, who owns an electronic payment processing company, hired a client to fix the roof enough to stop the leaks.
Then he and his brother gutted and rebuilt the walls on one side of the house. The damp walls had become musty and triggered his wife's allergies.
For those repairs, plus fixes to a broken fence, Fidelity paid almost $13,000, Thomas said. He had spent $25,000 on the roof alone.
So in late 2006, Thomas hired public adjuster Mordecai Claim Service in Lake Worth to contest Fidelity's settlement. In January, he filed a lawsuit.
A Fidelity spokesman said the insurer does not comment on pending litigation.
Thomas' roof doesn't leak now. But he knows that could change in one storm.
"This happened in 2005 and we're now in the middle of 2009, and I'm still having to take time away from earning a living and time with my family to do depositions and following up," he said. "It's non-stop, and I worry about it all the time."
-- Julie Patel
Brad Thomas: "I worry about (the damage) all of the time."
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