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Florida company handles insurance claims and rebuilds houses

Some four state residents have received phone calls from a company called The First Response Team.

First Response is a company from Florida that offers to handle insurance claims and rebuild for storm victims.  They say they’re here in Joplin to warn storm victims about insurance companies because they are for profit. However, First Response is also for profit.

“Where we make our money, the First Response Team, is not from the consumer. We will go in and represent them with the insurance company. We will help them get the money we need to help them properly rebuild their home,” says Director of Operations Mark Harmon.

He says their company literally transports and assembles new homes for storm victims with their insurance claim money.

“They get the best representation without paying for it. The money we get from the insurance company to rebuild their home goes to rebuild their home,” says Harmon.

The company teamed up with the local non-profit agency Restore Joplin and the Ministrial Alliance.

First Response used a tele-marketing service to randomly call 417 area code numbers and advertise their workshop.

Pastor Dan Wermuth from the Ministrial Alliance says he trusts the company.

“From what I’ve learned so far about the First Response team is that they’re going to help our community not be taken advantage of. They have skill sets of making sure that insurance companies fully meet their requirements of what their policy is for people,” says Pastor Dan Wermuth from the Joplin Family Worship Center.

“Anyone who offers to negotiate with your insurance company is most likely a public adjustor. And under Missouri law, unless they fall under an exemption such as being a lawyer that requires a state license from the department of insurance,” says Travis Ford from the Department of Insurance.  

Ford also says using a third party for insurance issues should be a last resort.

“We recommend that consumers do is to continue to work with their insurance companies. If they reach an impass, they can file a complaint with us. Both of those things are free,” says Ford.

Residents are urged to contact the Missouri attorney general’s office if they feel they’re being scammed by anyone during the rebuilding process.


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