Grinnell Mutual and JCM Mutual insurance denial, and our reply
JCM lists several reasons in their denial letter, and they’re an expert in making it appear as if it’s your fault. You didn’t provide us with the right information, they say, if you had we would never have accepted your insurance.
The core of their denial appeared to be about the fact that I answered one question wrong. On the question : “Any other residences owned, occupied or rented” I answered “no”. I understood this question to be whether I own another residence, and either occupy this myself, or rent it out. To which I answered no. They claimed that the question meant whether I either own, occupy or rent another residence. (so if you don’t own but do occupy you would answer wrong whether you answer “yes” or “no”
They then claim that since I didn’t live there (or didn’t intend to live there, according to them), I must have been living somewhere else and didn’t answer this question truthfully. They seem to feel that this is a valid reason for denying the claim.
The problem is, that on their declarations page that they sent with the insurance policy, it clearly states that the house was “under construction”, so they knew very well I could not have been living there, but accepted my insurance money anyway. They knew it, but still tried to make it look like it was my fault.
Another point is that we were insured for additional living expenses (the expenses to rent another place while the house is restored to its condition before the accident). According to the policy, these expenses should be calculated as fair rental value. However, we worded this wrongly in our claim as “loss of rental revenue”, from which they concluded that we were not intending to live there, and as such this was a commercial policy, and didn’t fall under a homeowners policy, so they deny my claim.
When we informed them that we just used the wrong words, they said that now we’re just changing our story, and that it was, in fact, our intention to rent it out.
Fortunately, we had an email from my adjuster to the Grinnell Mutual adjuster, sent 6 weeks before their denial where our adjuster clarified that by lost rental revenue we meant additional living expenses, (based on fair rental value). So we could prove that there was a simple misunderstanding.
The other reason for their denial, that I answered “no” to the fact whether I was building the house myself, was countered by the proof that it was in fact my company who was building it, not me personally.
When these points were all refuted, they simply come up with another one. That since I took this insurance in my personal name, while the building company is in fact owner of the house until it’s finished, I have no personal losses, and as such they can’t pay anything to me.
We showed them the email from the agent that represented them, Chris Gentry from Hollander Insurance, where it was clear that the agent was fully aware of the situation, and it was his suggestion to get the insurance in my personal name, and list the company as an additional insured. It was all his idea to do so.
Their reply? Then it’s your agent’s problem, not ours, go get your money with him.
So now they’re throwing the agent that represents them under the bus? Wow. They will really do anything.
Fortunately they don’t have a case here either. Our lawyer informed us that, according to the law, if I can prove I do have a personal loss from this, the insurance is valid, even if it’s in my personal name and the assets are part of the company. Since I’m the majority owner of the company the personal loss is not hard to prove.