FOX43 Finds Out: Battling an Insurance Company

Joseph Nolte has been battling Erie Insurance Group for about a year when it comes to hail damage on his roof. Now he's being told the roof needs to be replaced and he needs to pay for it.

He has had the same roof on his home in Manchester Township, York County for the past 19 years.

"If there was a problem with it, it would have never passed zoning or inspections by codes officers and they wouldn't have never been able to sell me the home in the first place," said Nolte.

He recently got a letter in the mail from his homeowner's insurance company, Erie Insurance group.

It reads, "Present roof on dwelling improperly installed and needs completely replaced."

The letter goes on to state that Erie is asking for the roof repairs to be done by May 30th, so Nolte's coverage can continue.

Nolte has been going back and forth with his insurance company for about a year.

Last May, he filed a hail damage claim for his roof.

"I had hail damage. I was told by two roofing contractors that I have hail damage," said Nolte.

In July, an Erie Adjuster found only soft metal damage on the roof, no physical damage to the shingles.

In the report, the adjuster also found some wear and tear on the roof.

Though Nolte says nothing in the report stated anything about the roof being improperly installed.

At that point, he hired an attorney and filed a lawsuit.

Then a couple of weeks ago, Erie sent another person out to re-inspect the roof because Nolte was disputing the claim - saying he was told by other contractors that he needed a new roof.

After that inspection, he got the letter.

Nolte said, "You want to put your faith in the company after 38 years. Then they deny me and now I get a letter like that? Ya know what - they're just adding more salt to the wound."

Nolte says he doesn't have the $12,000 it would take to replace the roof.

His lawyer says he's never seen a customer receive a letter like this from their homeowner's insurance company.

"They've been insuring the house since day one. So you'd figure it it was so bad and installed in correctly, They never would have insured it for 19 years," said Scott Cooper, partner at Schmidt & Kramer.

FOX43 Finds Out reached out to Erie about Nolte's issue.

We wanted to know if the insurance company inspects a roof when a person insures a new home.

We were told - "An agent does visit to generally observe the condition of the home prior to finalizing the policy. The agent does not inspect the roof. ERIE only inspects the roof if it is relevant to a claim."

When we asked about Nolte's case specifically, and why the adjuster who went on the roof in July didn't find that issue we were told Erie can't discuss a specific claim because of privacy laws.

Nolte just wants this whole thing behind him.

"I hope that this will be resolved, again, it's just about doing the right thing. I hope they wake up and do the right thing."

At least one other person in Nolte's neighborhood received a similar letter.

Nolte's lawyer has now filed 3 lawsuits against Erie, all related to insurance bad faith.

the Pennsylvania insurance department says it has received 14 complaints about Erie insurance from homeowners dealing with hail damage in 2018.

It did not find any violations by the insurance company.

Though the insurance department cannot decide whether or not a specific claims should be paid or if the claim payment was sufficient.

If you have a story you want Jackie to look into, FOX43 wants to find out.

Send her a message on Facebook or send an email to FOX43FindsOut@FOX43.com.

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