Storm victims caught in massive ‘roofing scheme’ with Texas firm

  • May 21, 2023

Like those other storm victims, Smith has no idea what happened to her insurance money.

In December, Apex quoted her a little over $12,000 for a new roof. In January, she got a settlement notice for $22,600. A breakdown of the settlement stated $12,500 would go to Smith, and the other 44 percent of it – about $10,000 – would go to cover legal fees and expenses on a claim where no lawsuit had been filed.

The settlement document also granted MMA “limited power of attorney to endorse all checks for settlement proceeds… on your behalf.” Smith signed it but has never seen any of the money and her roof is still not fixed. 

Butler said Apex hasn’t seen any of that money either, and the roofer “is not happy about that.”

Recently, Smith’s mother-in-law saw a TV ad by New Orleans injury lawyer Morris Bart, encouraging MMA clients to hire his firm instead. Smith is one of more than 600 former MMA clients to hire Bart associate Austin Marks to represent her. Marks said he was able to get Smith’s insurance company to void any settlement checks that MMA had endorsed.

“They took advantage of homeowners. They took advantage of insurance companies,” Marks said. “They lied, cheated and stole from everyone.”
Smith wonders how she could have protected herself from something Judge North called “an unprecedented tableau of misconduct.”

“If the judge don’t know what to say, like if no one has even seen this before, where do we go from here?”

“Insured to Lose” continues Tuesday (March 2) with Part 2, describing what Judge North describes as a separate part of MMA’s “scheme.”

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North Carolina Rate Bureau seeks 28.4% increase for car insurance

  • March 9, 2023

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The North Carolina Rate Bureau has filed a request with the state Department of Insurance to increase auto policies, according to state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey

The bureau asked for a 28.4% statewide increase in private passenger auto insurance. If approved, it would become effective on Oct. 1.

“We want to make sure that the consumers are being afforded a fair rate,” said Barry Smith, deputy director of Communications/Safety Officer for the Department of Insurance. “It’s also important that the automobile insurers are able to make a living.”

The bureau represents car insurance companies in the state and is not a part of the state Department of Insurance. State law requires the bureau to submit auto rate filings with the department each year by Feb. 1.

According to the personal finance company Bankrate, the average annual full-coverage premium in Raleigh this year is $1,359. The 28.4% increase would raise it to $1,744.96, meaning a monthly payment would go from $113.25 to $145.41.

“Whatever rates do get approved, that will be the base rate,” Smith said. “That doesn’t mean everybody will pay what that ends up being,” Smith said.

Causey stated that he and members of the department’s staff will review the filing and determine whether the increase is justified.

The department said that if they do not agree with the requested increase, they can negotiate a settlement or call for a hearing.

“This is a request,” Smith said. “This is nowhere near being approved or anything like that. Our actuaries, our legal experts, our experts in property and casualty insurance are reviewing those figures and there are hundreds of pages.”

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