Chances are when you take a look at the photo below, you will remember seeing this imagine after Hurricane Ike. Texas Bolivar Peninsula residents, Warren and Pam Adams, evacuated for Hurricane Ike, and returned to their home the only one standing amid massive devastation. Various news reports featured their property and the Adams residence came to be known as the “Last House Standing.”

Warren and Pam Adams hired Don Wood, of Suncoast Claims Inc., as their public adjuster and also retained Chip Merlin. The Adams, through the help of Merlin Law Group and Suncoast, filed claims for both flood and wind damage with their respective insurers. Warren Adams, who was often quoted by major news media after Ike, echoed his prior sentiments about the importance of hiring help after an insurance loss. When we spoke, he said, “I would never go against an insurance company without a public insurance adjuster and a good lawyer who knows insurance law. It just makes good money sense to hire help.” Before getting help, Adams explained that he was frustrated in his dealings with the insurance company. Warren was devoting large portions of his time arguing with the insurance company and not making headway, he began to lose sleep, and tension from the situation was overflowing into the other areas of his life.

Warren explained that while his house was the last house standing, it suffered major damage that was missed by the insurance carriers. The living area of the home was built 21 feet, 6inches above sea level but sustained massive damage. Insurance company experts listed much of the damage as a pre-existing condition of the home and not damaged caused by Ike. It was through the use of experts retained by Merlin Law Group and Suncoast, including forensic meteorological experts and qualified structural engineers, that extensive damage was proved to have been caused by Ike. With respect to hiring experts, in the article, “The Last House Standing” Insurance Losses Settle,“ Don Wood said, “If your Public Adjuster has evaluated and documented your loss and your carrier still won’t cooperate, don’t quit – speak to an attorney – one who is successful in insurance litigation and who understands the value added by your Public Adjuster. Sometimes it takes both a Public Adjuster and an attorney.”

When Warren was dealing with the insurance companies directly and being thwarted at every turn, he was also being interviewed by major news media. Warren said he gave several interviews in which he explained to the reporters the status of the damage to his home and the lack of response and payment from his insurance companies, but he said that his statements about the insurance issues were not included in video or stories when they went to press. Warren said that he knows that major insurance companies buy air time from many of the large media networks and he thinks that his complaints were left out of the reports in an effort to not ruffle feathers or lose sponsors. Well, when the news media did not put pressure on the insurance company to do the right thing, Warren and Pam Adams knew to retain representatives to assist them. And it worked. Pam and Warren Adams are back living in their new home and express volumes of gratitude for the work of Suncoast and Merlin Law Group.

The Adams are able to move on with their life because their insurance claim has been resolved, but Warren explained that the sense of community also needed to be rebuilt after Ike. Warren and Pam’s solution: good home-cooking. So if you visit Crystal Beach, you can stop by their new BBQ pit and order some Texas Barbeque. The location is right across from the Adams residence. If you are lucky, you might find yourself having lunch with Warren, Don or Chip. Here is a picture of all three gentlemen taken in Texas last year.