ANDOVER, Kan. (KSNW) — The City of Andover could keep up to 15% of the insurance claim settlements on a home that suffers at least 75% loss following the recent tornado.
Some homeowners say that doesn’t seem right.
“I am amazed. I, ah, I don’t even know what to say,” said Andover homeowner Janice Eden. “I don’t see how that’s possible.”
Turns out state statute allows municipalities to write the issue into city code. Andover has just that on the books.
“In the years I’ve been an insurance agent, I’ve never seen it happen, but I have talked to some contractors who said it does happen,” said Cy Wiggans with Wiggans Farha Insurance Group. “Wichita does it on a sporadic basis. Some people in Andover might be getting hit with that. The main purpose of it is to make sure that the contractors complete the job.”
KSN reached out to the City of Andover and asked if the City will hold true to the city code of withholding some or all of the 15% from insurance claims on homes that were damaged at least 75%. We also asked if the intent of the code is only to target homeowners that have back taxes.
A spokesperson with Andover said the City is formulating a response on exactly how to handle the issue.
Meanwhile, one Wichita attorney confirmed state law does allow municipalities to have the code.
“But it’s apparently been on the statutes for some period of time,” said attorney Craig Shultz. “I don’t think it’s designed to just arbitrarily say we want a 15% hit off your insurance proceeds until we’re satisfied. My suspicion is the insurance companies, regulated by the insurance commissioner in the State of Kansas, is aware of this, and they probably pre-empt this by making sure overdue taxes are paid.”
Regardless of the reason for the potential 15% holdback of insurance proceeds, some homeowners say it doesn’t feel right.
Eden says she understands the need for the City to make sure properties get properly cleaned. But she said it still seems too much.
“It’s my insurance. I’ve paid the premiums, and it should go toward paying for my house,” said Eden. “I don’t see how the City has any claim to it.”