REDDING, CALIFORNIA -- Insurance Fraud by CSAA and City of Redding Complicity in taking no action
California State Auto Association also known as AAA is my homeowners insurance carrier. As a part of the homeowner policy CSAA covers sewer line replacement or repair as it pertains to root damage. I have had root intrusion in my sewer line which I share with two (2) other households before it hits the sewer main. Most recently in 2000 and again in 2001 I filed a claim for root intrusion with CSAA. My line at 1652 Walnut Avenue shares the line with 1664 Walnut Avenue and 2514 Placer Street before it hits the main on Placer Street. Rick McMullen my agent for CSAA started the claim, then set about starting the work through Twyman Plumbing without first letting me know. I complained and the work stopped. Rick McMullen was belligerent to my wife and I over the event. To shorten the story however, the work was finally given to Schuler Plumbing under CSAA claim # 01-712556-0. I was told by Marti Schuler that all the remaining pipe up to the main would be replaced with new ABS pipe thus eliminating further root intrusion. However, he did not complete the work. A section under Placer Street was not done. Schuler said not to worry the roots under the road would not be a big issue. I might need to have the line cleaned out yearly and that should last another 10 years. For me this was not acceptable. I complained to CSAA. I complained to the Department of Insurance under file #CSB-5466356. In the meantime Enterprise Plumbing was called by CSAA to videotape the line. CSAA would not let me see the videotape. That is not until the Department of Insurance contacted them. Then I not only got a copy of the tape but I also got some of my co-payment refunded to me(see letter of April 4, 2001 claim # 01-712556-0). It all looked good on paper. But, the problem under the road still remains. According to Enterprise Plumbing two spots still existed where root intrusion was occurring. CSAA said they would not cover any further sewer line replacement. Besides, according to them, this root intrusion was due to Normal Wear and Tear. On the written estimate sent to CSAA it stated damage was present due to root intrusion and normal wear and tear. It was obvious to me upon viewing the videotape from Enterprise Plumbing (dated 11-01-00) and a prior video tape made by Marty Schuler Plumbing (05-18-00) that the section under Placer Street had damaged sewer pipe due to root intrusion. Mr. C. F. Totten (213) 346-6563 of the Department of Insurance said that litigation might be a worthwhile direction to take. I wrote a letter to a prominent CSAA Board Member and well known person in the Redding community on May 21, 2001. He forwarded the letter to the San Francisco main office. I received a response from James T. Maykel, Regional Claims Manager, Redding Office dated June 4, 2001 stating that the problem with my sewer line under Placer street was now a maintenance issue to be shared by the parties using the line. It went on to say that the damage under the street would cost an estimated $13,000.00 to repair and was not part of Marty Schuler Plumbing s work estimate even though a sleeve insertion was attempted at the time of the repair. Redding Municipal Code (RMC) Section 14.16.310 specifies Not more than one premises shall be served from each service connection (lateral). As this code section was adopted in 1993, the subject properties are grandfathered because of their age, to the extent that as long as the nonconformance is not intensified and any repairs do not exceed 15% of the replacement value of any improvement in any one year, the nonconformance may remain in place (RMC Section 18.58.060A, F). This is according to a letter I received from the City of Redding Code Enforcement Supervisor dated June 20, 2000. It appears the city doesnt follow its own rules since the residence at 2514 Placer was completely rebuilt including the foundation due to a fire in 1997. To further draw attention to this, the property at 1664 Walnut Avenue also went through major renovation in 2000.
COPY of e-mail sent to me by Karen Dunn
April 3, 2002
1652 Walnut Avenue
Redding, CA 96001
Via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Mr. Strausbaugh:
Your report addressed to AAA President, Robert L. Darbelnet, was received
and directed to my attention for acknowledgment. Member feedback is our
most valuable source of information and we appreciate your taking time to
make us aware of your concerns with AAA Insurance Services provided by the
California State Automobile Association [CSAA].
I immediately alerted CSAA executive management of your concerns, with
request for their response to you. I will receive advice following their
response, as information to our record.
Briefly, AAA Insurance Services are provided through local AAA clubs and
their affiliated companies. Each AAA club is self-governing, managed by an
independent board of directors, and fully responsible for operations within
their designated club territory. Insurance products are developed at the
discretion of each club's management, according to governing state
regulations and either as wholly owned operations or through relationships
established with providers doing business within their operating territory.
The national office provides administrative support to the association and
the relationship to each club does not allow intervention in matters of
insurance operations and claim resolution, apart from communicating concerns
to club management for handling.
Mr. Strausbaugh, we appreciate the opportunity to clarify how the national
office interacts with AAA clubs, with respect to insurance operations.
Please expect to receive a response from CSAA management in the next several
Karen Dunn, Coordinator
National Member Relations
c: Robert L. Darbelnet, President & CEO - AAA National
James R. Pouliot, President & CEO - California State Automobile
April 03, 2002
Karen Dunn, Coordinator
National Member Relations
Thank you for the e-mail. I now understand better the politics of CSAA. However, I still don't accept what has happened to me. How can CSAA say they are going to see that a repair is done, not follow through, and with-hold the video of the line from me until I complain to the Insurance Commissioner? Then CSAA tries to justify by saying this part of the line is somehow not part of the same repair that had just taken place. The activities of the Redding branch of CSAA should at the very least raise concerns about what is going on here. Over the years, sections of this same line has been covered by CSAA. Then when Schuler plumbing did this last repair the agency says that any further work is now the responsibility of the parties sharing the lateral. There is nothing right about what was done. It is corrupt. Someone just decided that the cost of completing the work was too costly to do it correctly. I am blaming the city and the employees and management of CSAA. That however does not make CSAA any less guilty. Marty Schuler Plumbing said to my wife and I that he was going to put a sleeve into the line. I received a letter from Doug L. (another party at 1664 Walnut Ave.) saying Schuler was going to attempt to put a sleeve in the line. Reed W. (CSAA) told me without hesitation that the problem would be taken care of. That sounds to me as though CSAA and Schuler were aware that separation of the line was part of the issue and that root intrusion was present. For whatever reason the sleeve was not put in. Wouldn't it be in the best interest of the National Organization to see that this job is done correctly? It really makes the company look bad. I know you are a large organization. I have had a very positive feeling about the good things AAA has done over the years. They are much more than an Insurance Company. I did not want to put your name out there as a Organization of Shysters. It took a long time before I decided to become more vocal on this issue. But, I know I have been taken advantage of. If that line decides to fail, my kids, my wife and I cannot live here. Are you willing to give us a new home?
Karen, someone with some real authority in AAA needs to do some soul searching and see that this problem is solved professionally and responsibly. Without you doing that, then I am nothing more than a statistic on a pie or graph chart.
May 06, 2002
On April 1st (April Fool's Day) I received a letter for Robert W. Black, CSAA Manager, Santa Rosa Region, California. The copy of the letter is below. In the letter it states that because I have not shown any new information the claim must stand. In the middle of April 2002, Barnes and Nobles Book Store in Redding had a major sewer backup causing them to shut the store, tear up all the carpeting,and temporarily close a Starbucks. My sources tell me it was a similar problem to mine. I wrote to Barnes and Nobles to see if they would write me a response as to the specific causes. I have not heard from them yet. However, the City of Redding, admitted to being at fault for the failure of the sewer line. Of course Barnes and Nobles has Big Time Attorneys and the store generates revenues for the city taxes. I am just a homeowner with no attorney (yet). As usual the little guy gets the shaft again.
Gregory A. and Nanette Strausbaugh
1652 Walnut Avenue
Redding, CA 96001
Re: Claim Number: HO 01-7125560
Date of Loss: 04-25-2000
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Strausbaugh:
This will acknowledge your complaint filed with My3cents. corn for your homeowners claim show above. As Regional Claims Manager, this matter was referred to me to review and respond to you.
After careful review of your claim, it appears you have not submitted any new information regarding this loss. Based on that, I regret our decision to decline a portion of your claim must stand The reason for our partial denial of your claim was explained in a letter to you dated December 8, 2000.1 am enclosing a copy for your reference.
In the event you have any new information that you feel we should take into consideration, please forward it to my attention and I would be happy to review it.
Although you have sought the assistance of the California Department of Insurance in the past, I again would advise, if you feel this claim has been wrongly denied or rejected, you may have the matter reviewed by them. The address for the Consumer Communications Bureau of the California Department of Insurance is 300 South Spring Street, 6~ Floor, Los Angeles, California, 90013. Their telephone number is 1-800-927-4357 or 213-897-8921.
Robert W. Black, Manager
Santa Rosa Region
707-763-1277 ext. 40
F268 (Aug 1998)