My house have fired on 11/21/2016 and it was a total lost, I am glad that I got a replacement policy with Allstate. I was totally shot at the moment when the event is happened. My husband was deployed oversee and serving the country, and I was taking care of 2 young children (5 y/o and 6 y/o) and also taken care of 2 non-English speaker senior (my father and mother in-law). A emergency company came right away and many other board up company came right away and try to get business from our tragedy event. A emergency company was recommended by a retired policeman who is also live in my community. A Emergency company is also a partnership of MLM.
The public adjustment company salesman from MLM, Sam Field, he was the one sweet talk to us and try to rush me into the contract. In additional, the retired policeman were also highly recommend MLM as an adjuster and builder. He told me that MLM was the one who handle the claim for the Chinatown museum and get the maximum claim (over 3 million reimbursement) getting many additional feature in to the museum with the reimburse they get from the insurance and there was no additional cost to the victim with decent upgrade of the property. According to the reference MLM has over 10 year public adjustment and constructor experience, and I assume this is not the first time dealing with this type of replacement policy from Allstate. We signed the contract at 11/22/2016 at 9:15am which is less than 24 hours from the accident happen.
According to the agreement, there are ten days window for us to cancel the contract. Sam Field continued to sweet talk to us and even bring turkey to the hotel on Thanksgiving Day (11/24/2016). He tried to show warm welcome and treated us like family. However, the ten day, the contact between MLM staff and us are decrease. I called a few time about every other week, and we just want to check on the progress. However, every time MLM staff told me they were working on it and getting estimate. The conversation between me and MLM are much shorter and colder.
They told me they are waiting for insurance for investigation. MLM did not clean all the debris and they said that still waiting for the insurance payment. I did not understand why MLM did not use their profession as adjuster and do investigation and get the estimate before the insurance company arrival. I think at lease they should take picture as supportive evidence. At the same time the city file a municipal case on my house due to the debris, but the city did not file a case against my townhouse neighbor who has fire the same time same date as mine. Because their contractor has cleaned the debris prior to the court case arises. MLM cleaned the debris around until Feb 2017 prior to the first court date.
When I got the court letter, and I past that to Mark Musik the CEO of MLM, and he told us, no worry and he would find an attorney to take care of the issue. We have a brief talk with the attorney Mr. Asher, and he said he represent the case for us because he have some relationship with Mark Musik. We did not have any engagement letter or any other agreement with Mr. Asher. So we assumed Mark had taken care of the payment or engagement agreement with Mr. Asher.
During the construction phase, it went in creditable snow. Our family have no idea about the construction, and they are keep saying that they are waiting for the permit or other city regulator to get approval of the house to be rebuild. We were still trusting of MLM at the time. I had a few meeting with MLM to go over the rebuild process and see what we like to rebuild our home with the budget the insurance give us around April and May 2017. I suggested to install an additional AC and furnace to the house the the second floor room. MLM agreed and there was no proposal on the additional cost. At the same time, someone break my other properties’ entrance door at 40th st., I was trying to find a contractor to get a quote and fix the entrance door at 40th st. I was asking if there is any person they know can do a small job like change the entrance door, and I was asking an estimate. MLM contractor replaced the new door for me at 40th st property without hesitation. They also did not inform me the cost of the job. At the moment, I thought MLM like to build relationship with our family as first job, so they are doing a favor to us for getting extra job done. I am still have impression that the insurance company has paid the MLM enough (about $274,882 payment for 1170 sq ft house) and we may even getting a little money back from the insurance claim, which was the initial intend for us to hire MLM as adjuster and get the maximum benefit from the fire claim.
After August 2017, my husband return home from his oversea deployment, he was the one use to take care of the house and he has little more experience than me to deal with contractor. The house is still not complete yet, and he requested MLM to provide the rebuild estimate, but the MLM’s response was “according to the insurance proceed”. We never get any rebuild estimate as of today from MLM. We only get a rebuild estimate from Allstate. We start to regret hire the MLM as adjuster I assume whatever MLM are fighting for with the insurance company, it is for their own profit margin. The MLM adjuster company does not care how to make my house better. During the material selection period, MLM construction team keep saying the insurance are bad on reimbursement to their client, and MLM convince us to pick cheaper material at Home Depot or Menard, and still try to tell us that we may upgrade other area of the home. We were thinking to install solar energy to the house if there the reimbursement are enough to cover. On 08/04/2017, we got a quote back of $20,000.00 additional, and we do get the first estimate from MLM since the fired was happen. We denied the upgrade because we do not like to spend such money on the house. On 08/29/2017, MLM sent me a reminding bill for $10,600 (date 07/27/2017) for both the additional furnace and AC as well as the replacement door. I respond the email right away to clarify the issue. I never received the initial bill or initial estimate for the job. I was confused and ask MLM how they bill me without sending me an estimate and I agree upon the price before getting the job done. My husband told them that MLM can removed the additional AC and furnace, however, they say if they removed the AC and furnace, need to go thru the city of Chicago again for different permit, and it will take longer for us to get back to our home. A few weeks later, they tried to sweet talk to me again and send me a reduce bill for $4500 for the furnace and AC and ductwork. MLM also knew that we have urgency to move back home. My husband told MLM to send us the replacement cost for the house and want to see what is actually build to the house is actually according to the insurance process. We also offer to pay for 50% of the addition AC unit and furnace unit due to their misinformation. We will not pay for the ductwork because the insurance, which was replacement policy, should have pay for the ductwork already for the whole house, why MLM want to get additional money from us and received double payment of the ductwork. There is no response from MLM after we make that request.
In October, Mr. Asher told us the city court case has been resolved, and he demand us for $2400 plus $276 court fee. I then forward the bill to Mark right away, because the lawsuit from the city was due to the mistake from the construction company not clean up the house in time. In addition, I did not sign any engagement letter with Mr. Asher, and we assume Mark was agree to pay Mr. Asher at the beginning. Mark did not pay Mr. Asher, and we received the second bill from Mr. Asher, MLM asked me to call the insurance to pay Mr. Asher. MLM told me that the insurance should pay for the additional expense. I have no idea how this work, but I am sure the legal fee should not be my responsibility. For the following reason, 1. I hired MLM to as an adjuster, and MLM should be have duty to spoke to my insurance company on my behalf; 2. We were the victim due to the fire, we hired MLM to rebuild the house, and MLM should know the regulation and rule better than us. If any mistake they make, why should a victim pay for their mistake. 3. Mr. Asher was recommend by MLM, and we did not sign and engagement letter with Mr. Asher, and we thought Mr. Asher was hired by MLM to fix their mistake.
In December 15th 2017, we finally move back in to our house, because our insurance only allow 12 month of rental benefit, and MLM have not finished some cabinet in the basement. The following list was not completed: the wood fence, the wood storage space, as well as the metal gate, the broken driveway floor.
I told MLM the punch list to MLM on December 2017, and as of today April 8, 2018, they only complete the wood fence in the back and the wood storage space after I showed MLM the picture from the insurance company. I need to have the metal gate to be completed, and they claim that the insurance payment are too small, and they are trying to go back to the insurance to ask for more money. I wonder what are the adjuster was doing at the initial of the negotiation with the insurance in November 2016.
Metal gate and metal fence were still pending to fix. My neighbor has use their money to fix their side already 10 weeks after the fire for their security reason. MLM was asking me picture of the gate now which is 16 months later. We actually saw the metal fence picture from the insurance photo. I was surprised that as adjuster company, they did not have picture for the properties when they are initial encounter, when the metal fence are still there at the time. They need to ask client for the old picture. We lost every memorable items including picture during the fire. They should got all the evident for us to file the claim. I am so concern about their credibility as adjuster as well.
In December 2017, I feel the house has major seal problem, many window/door has frozen ice along the corner inside of my house. MLM saw the frozen spot for all window and they said it is normal, and their house has the same problem. MLM denied it is their fault, they pushed the problem to the manufacture. After the manufacture investigation in January 2018, there is no fault, and MLM agree to put more caulking around the window. I am hoping it does not happen again this coming winter.
I used to have concrete ground under my deck and concrete path to the storage room. MLM dig up of the floor to install the underground electricity, but only leave me muddy non-even gravel pathway to the storage. I put that to the punch list, to ask MLM to fix the driveway and the path to the storage room, MLM told me they are still talking to the insurance about the pathway. (really!! 16 month later the accident?)
In March, MLM finally come back to add the cabinet to my basement, but they refused to put the second hood there in the basement. MLM said the insurance only pay $200 per the hood. The insurance picture does show there are 1 hood in the basement during the initial investigation. We use to have two hood in the house, one in the first floor and one in the basement. The hood cost about $600 a piece. On 10/27/2017, I did provide them the receipt from the store I got it from in 2005.
Two weeks ago, I just find out Mr. Asher’s attorney fee has not pay yet, and I get a clear response from the insurance company state that they has paid for the 30 yards or 5-7 ton of debris for dumpster service, it is the contractor job to get it clear, and MLM told me they need to talk to Allstate again on 4/2/2018.
They are trying to get any penny from the insurance company, and whatever they are fighting for, are going to their pocket. MLM does not care about the safety of his client and leave the broken gate open. I initially thought that the public adjuster should fight for the right of the victim or insurer. But this is definitely not the case for MLM. It is 16+ month after the fire, and MLM are still not complete my house, and MLM still need to negotiate with the insurance, but only for their profit margin and not worry about the client’s safety and conform home. I am just hoping to get my home secure and no more air leakage issue as soon as possible.