Action 9 investigates hail storm claims

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Several Orange County homeowners claim an insurance company refused to cover their damages after a destructive hail storm.

Those homeowners told Action 9 that they felt betrayed because other insurance companies have paid claims for their neighbors' roofs.

Some homeowners claim they never saw hail like it.

"It was scary, very scary. (I) didn't know what was going on," said homeowner Ed Cornejo.

Cornejo said the July hail storm ripped apart his pool screen, and his insurance company paid for repairs. But Security First then rejected his roof damage claim, even as he watched dozens of homeowners get new roofs, paid for by their insurers.

"There's no logic to that, not at all," said Cornejo.

Next door to Cornejo, just 20 feet away, another insurance company approved a hail damage claim.

Cornejo's home is surrounded by new roofs where other homeowners with different companies had their claims covered. There are more than 100 new roofs in the development.

Jeff Hodges said Security First rejected his claim after its engineer blamed shingle damage on sun blisters, not hail.

"Are they saving money at your expense?" asked Action 9's Todd Ulrich.

"Sure, me and other peoples'," said Hodges.

Public adjustor Tom Morris represents eight homeowners challenging Security First denials.

"The next big rain storm, you're going to have water intrusion into this house, (because) matting on the back of (the) shingle has been broken," Morris said of one home.

"We don't want people to think we don't play our claims, because we do," said Security First CEO Werner Kruck.

The company said it replaced nine roofs and repaired seven in that area but denied eight other claims because its engineers did not find hail damage, even where other companies paid for new roofs next door.

"Are all these other insurance companies wrong?" asked Ulrich.

"If they paid for a new roof without proving damage, they were wrong," said Kruck.

Security First said it would review any new evidence the owners have.

"I will not take 'no' for an answer," Hodges said.

Seven homeowners filed complaints with the state and entered into mediation. Their claim amounts were anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000.