N.D. Insurance Department Issues $4 Million Check to Northwood School

November 30, 2007

The state Insurance Department says it has issued a $4 million check to the Northwood School District in advance of a claim settlement for damage from the Aug. 26 tornado that ripped through the community.

The department’s Fire and Tornado Fund provides property insurance for buildings owned by state political subdivisions.

Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm said Wednesday that no settlement offer has officially been made, but he expects one by the end of the year.

School officials said earlier that the insurance claim offer was too low. Superintendent Kevin Coles said state fire and tornado insurance representatives had offered $6.4 million to repair the existing school. He said officials want to build a new school.

Coles said the school destroyed by the tornado was insured for $8.3 million.

“Adjusting a claim of this size is a complex process, but we treat all Fire and Tornado Fund claims the same, whether it involves a fire, vandalism or something as catastrophic as an F-4 tornado,” Hamm said in a statement Wednesday.

“With Northwood, we have presented an estimate of the claim value to the School Board that was prepared by an experienced engineering and architectural firm,” he said.

A Fire and Tornado Fund insurance policy functions like a business or homeowner policy, to cover the costs of repairing or rebuilding the structure, whichever is less, Hamm said.

The $4 million check to Northwood is in addition to earlier advances totaling more than $500,000, he said

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