Carus’ insurance company still is working with other local fire departments who have submitted expenses from the fire, the company said in a news release Monday.
La Salle Alderman Bob Thompson told the City Council on May 30 the fire department had $93,738 worth of damaged equipment and expressed frustration Carus had not reimbursed the city at that time. He, along with other city officials, met with Carus representatives about the claim, and he said he was disappointed with the process the city would need to go through to submit it to Carus as an insurance claim.
La Salle Finance Director John Duncan confirmed Monday the city received the payment, which was adjusted to $130,913.
Carus said Monday, despite delays in payment, there never was any intention of withholding reimbursement from the city.
“At the most recent La Salle City Council meeting, it was stated that Carus is not paying for the replacement of equipment and gear for the La Salle Fire Department, this is not true,” Carus said in a news release Monday.
“The insurance process is complex, and much is outside Carus’ control,” the company added in a news release Monday. “Carus talks weekly with insurance providers, but insurance companies ultimately make the decision on what gets covered. Because they have several different policies – fire, environmental, property, and more –the insurance carriers must determine which claims fall under which policies. This unfortunately takes time.”
The company said Monday its leadership team has been visiting residents in the neighborhood of the plant and listening to their stories and impacts from the fire.
“Carus is aware that there is still much work to be done,” the company said in its news release.
Of the 113 insurance claims Carus has received to date, offers have been extended, settled or paid to 39 individuals equating $391,000, the company said. An additional 27 claims have been settled by non-Carus insurance carriers totaling $272,000 and have been submitted to Carus carriers for payment. There are another 32 active claims being reviewed by underwriters for approval or still being worked on by adjusters. Finally, 12 offers were extended and rejected by claimants, while three claims have been denied, Carus said.
In the meantime, Carus said it is planning a second town hall meeting and will provide a date soon. The company met with residents May 10 at La Salle-Peru High School. Carus said one action item it has taken since the meeting is to improve its hotline.
“Those who call the hotline, file a claim, or have an existing claim should notice a difference,” Carus said in the Monday news release.
Carus is encouraging anyone to call 815-224-6662 or fill out the online question form by visiting carusllc.com/questions.
Monday’s news release comes on the heels of a protest Friday that was conducted in front of the company’s Peru headquarters. Residents in attendance remained concerned about the claims that have not been paid and health concerns among the neighborhood.
“What they’ve done has not been enough,” said Marty Schneider, a La Salle resident. “A lot more neighbors have been calling me concerned about their health and asking what Carus is going to do to ensure that they are safe.”
Carus said its goals moving forward are to make residents feel safe in their homes and have the certainty and comfort their neighborhood is not being polluted, and make them whole for damages incurred.
Residents have asked at council meetings since January for more environmental testing of their neighborhoods, including air quality testing. The Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois EPA and Illinois Department of Public Health have said they don’t believe more testing is necessary, but residents have questioned the process those agencies used. Residents have found in subsequent testing evidence of heavy metals. The Sierra Club also has raised concerns about air quality by utilizing data from an air monitor set up the La Salle library.