We’ve heard hundreds of stories of wildfire victims who were struggling with their insurance company before we started working with them. And others who just didn’t realize that there was any more money left in their claim. Here are just a few.


Dory’s Story

Before Working with CDA:

I just felt like everything was such an incredible hassle - to be paying for a premium and having my insurance company tell me I was over insured, when they were the ones who told what I needed to insure the property for when we bought it. And I had never turned a claim in before it came time to make a claim for this disaster.

I was tired of being misled. I was tired of being lied to, and these were my people in insurance companies that I had paid premiums to. So, to be told that I was insured and that I would never collect. And to have to fight for every single penny. My husband was also fighting bone cancer, and so I had a very full plate.

I really did assume that I was covered and I was covered at a certain price, because that's what they told me my property was worth. And I was paying the premium. So, when they came to me and said, you will not, this will not, and you are not, and you cannot, etc. I just got worn out. I said to my husband, I can't anymore. I'm going to lose my marbles. I ran out of fight.

When CDA reached out I thought they were con artists, a rip off. So I waited and I waited, and I was in unfamiliar territory. And those things make you cautious, more so than anything, because you're unfamiliar with everything that's around you.

I think you're worried, I think you're scared. I think you're concerned. I think you're upset. I think you're traumatized. I think you're all of those things rolled into one, and then when somebody tells you, "Let me help you," it was an experience that... Like I say, everybody has a full platter in this world we live in. There isn't anyone who doesn't have extenuating circumstances. And those circumstances oftentimes dictate the way that you respond. Like I said before, my husband had bone cancer so besides all this I have to save my husband's life. They told him to go home and die seven years ago. So we do a lot of different things to save his life, and then to have this too...the stress and the trauma.... It's too much. So, when somebody is willing to be kind and helpful and thoughtful, and it is almost like something good coming out of something that was so wrong and so bad, and so backwards and upside down.

For anyone going through this I'd say "Wow, I wish I hadn't waited," but I did.

After Working with CDA:

When I finally made the call they took care of us. They did what they said they were going to do, and they did it with honesty. Josh told us, "This is what I'd like to do, and this is how I'd like it to proceed, and this is the timeframe, but it could be longer. It could take more time." He didn't come in painting this big rosy bouquet of everything. He was very honest, he kept us informed, and I appreciated him very much. They were a very kind group of people, and it's hard to find people who are honest and kind. That's not the norm. They were wonderful, and I appreciated their honesty and their kindness.

Jana and Alan’s Story

Jane and Alan lost their home in the Camp Fire in Paradise, and after an initial settlement, their insurance company had assured them that they would be getting an additional $180,000 or so to buy a home so they were pursuing that. And then the insurance company changed adjusters on them, and the second adjuster then came in and said that "No, you’re not going to get $180,000, all you're going to get is 12,000 additional money." And that's where the beginning of their problems started and they went on to represent themselves with their insurance company for over a year before they met us.

In Alan’s words:

We all had a very tragic thing happen to us, and we paid into a policy and we’re entitled to it. It's our money. It's not their money. They're in the business to make money and keep their money. And then it was nice to have CDA come in and give us their professional opinion and confidence to go forward with what we did. CDA has been great at getting us money that we paid for and gave us the confidence to buy another house, which we didn't think we qualified for.

If you’re struggling with your insurance company I would tell you: Don't be scared to talk to CDA and in our case, to Victor. He's a very professional man. He'll tell you what you're entitled to and he will give you what you deserve. Our lives have been totally changed, upside down, and we're trying to make it better. And a little more money isn't the complete answer, but it definitely helps.

In Jana’s words:

Well, because of you, Victor, we can actually not just buy a house. We are buying a home where I can finally feel like I'm at home. It's not just a house, for me, it's going to be a home. And for me as a woman, having a home is priceless. To feel like it's not just a house, it's a home.

Linda’s story

We waited a bit before getting help. It was a good six months or so after we lost our home in the fire. We weren't sure what we were doing, and so everything just kind of sat, not really doing a lot, trying to figure it out and understand the insurance. It just became overwhelming, just trying to deal with the personal effects and trauma from the whole fire and leaving and losing everything. It just became too overwhelming, so that's when I went searching for help.

We met with Victor up in Redding. We just immediately felt comfortable with him. Ever since the fire, it feels like everybody's at you for a piece of you. Everybody's finding a way to make a profit off of you, but your interests don't ever seem to pan out in the deal. So for once it felt like somebody was here to help me that wasn't looking for a piece of the pie. They were just wanting to help us get our house rebuilt and get our contents replaced and get our life back.

Had I not found CDA, I wouldn't have got the benefits for my insurance that I got with you because there was no way I could have accomplished getting the contents done, getting the contracts sorted out. Their technical wording that dances around everything and adds just more trauma to the whole process. And possibly, I'd be very much in the situation where even though I had a good policy and extended limits, I don't think we could have gotten there on our own, because it was too much to deal with. We wouldn't be building the house we're building, and we probably would be stuck waiting for PG&E's money to kick in.

I would tell people if you haven't gotten your insurance straightened out yet, you're not going to. Hiring CDA is going to make the difference between continuing your struggle and fight with the insurance company, or spending a little bit of money which doesn't come out of your pocket, for peace of mind. And that's the other great benefit, is the money that you do pay for these services comes out after you get the money. So you're not paying out in advance and hoping to get money. Only when I got money did CDA get paid. So the incentive for you to get it done is there even more so in my benefit. So if you're not done, call and do it because it's totally worth it. And it will make a difference.

I hope no one ever has to deal with this because it's horrible, but if they do, they should definitely, definitely call CDA. We wouldn't be getting the house we're getting right now if we hadn’t had you guys. It just wouldn't have happened.

Rebecca’s Story

My personal experience with the insurance company was stressful to say the least. It was so bad for me and my situation that it affected me mentally, and I couldn't deal with them anymore. They were rude. They lied. They were giving me false information, the timeframe, all of it. It was just awful. It was a huge relief off my shoulders once I hired CDA. All the pressure came off.

They helped with the dwelling, but also the contents. It's very emotional trying to go over things that you lost your whole life, especially the sentimental part. It's easy to say, "Okay, couch, TV, this, that, and the other." But when it gets to sentimental things, things like your family heirlooms, antiques, things that have been passed down from generations, you have no idea really what their value is. And it's very emotionally draining to sit there, and try and do that research, and put a number on it. And I could just tell them what it was, and they did that for me. I think their final inventory was more accurate that I could have done myself.

As soon as the insurance company was notified that I was being represented, their resistance broke down. They already knew, and I had already told them, "I'm going to go all the way with this. So one way or the other, this is happening." But things were much more smooth, and they could have made things harder. And I think that CDA made it smoother just from their experience in dealing with them, and their knowledge of what they're doing.

For anyone considering CDA, I would say this. At this point, we're a year and ½ out, and if they were going to really give you your full extended benefits, you would've had it by now, and they're going to make you fight for it. And it's lengthy and hard, and cumbersome, and painful, stressful, and it's worth it to get help. I can't say enough about CDA. It's worth it to do it.

People have to stick with people, and those insurance companies' adjusters are not working for you. Don't fool yourself. They're working for the company, and I would recommend you getting someone that is on your side, and advocating for you.

Teresa’s Story

Before we met CDA, we were trying to get our insurance company to fulfill their obligation under our insurance policy. I'd been working with one of their agents from the time of the fire and it had been okay, and then about the time we were starting to move forward to rebuild on our property, another insurance agent came on board and he became a little more difficult to deal with. So we decided to work with CDA and a gentleman named David stepped in and started handling everything for us. David worked with him and I mean, he really, really pushed to have them meet their obligation and settle the insurance claim.

Boy, I think they did a great job. On the one hand, there was so much load on our plate at that time for me, because we've been married 58 years this past January, and so I've been kind of pretty much the administrator for all our affairs throughout our life, documentation, whatever it is. And so there was just a lot for me to deal with. I probably could have pushed it on my own, but on the other hand, I'm not sure what state of mind I would've wound up in. They were very, very helpful as far as getting the job done.

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