Broken Arrow Man Seeing Red Over Lack Of Green From Insurance Company

Thursday, April 7th 2011, 4:57 pm
By: News On 6

Emily Baucum, News On 6

BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma -- In the beautiful spring weather, it's easy to forget the blizzard Mother Nature threw at us not long ago. A Broken Arrow man remembers it all too well, because the roof of his restaurant collapsed under the weight of nearly two feet of snow.

After the white stuff did its damage, the restaurant owner saw red. Red tape, that is. He's been waging a two-month war with his insurance company with no end in sight.

If pictures really do say a thousand words, John Barton has dozens of photos - but surprisingly, almost nothing to say.

"It just - the whole ceiling had collapsed. Everything was covered in debris. We got sick," said John Barton, owner of Salad Alley.

He really gets talking, though, when you ask about his insurance company.

"We've had insurance for 20 years, and this is not right."

The blizzard is keeping Salad Alley closed until further notice.

"This ceiling from this post that's right over here all of the way to the front of the restaurant - all of this caved in," Barton said.

His landlord fixed the roof but the damage was done.

"Everything back here was soaked with water after the snow started melting," he said.

When the circuits started shorting out it became clear, all this had to go.

"We've got an insurance policy. They've already told us yeah, you have a valid claim. Well then, pay us," said Broken Arrow restaurant owner John Barton.

Barton says he needs to make $50,000 worth of repairs.

"They have given us one check in the very beginning and that was it. It was for $5,000," he said of his insurance company.

The tables remained empty as he waited - and waited - for the rest of the cash.

"We didn't have an adjustor come out for five weeks," Barton said.

Even then, no progress - just paperwork.

"We have sent them triplicates of everything," he said.

And there's still no green in his wallet - or the salad bar.

"We're so afraid that we're going to be closed so long we won't have any customers," said John Barton, owner of Salad Alley.

He's reopening in two weeks, without or without the insurance money, but fears winter's wrath will be the end of his business. The insurance company in Kansas that holds the policy on Salad Alley hasn't returned our calls.

The State Insurance Commissioner says no business owners affected by the blizzard have stepped forward with complaints about their insurance companies, but they are encouraged to make that phone call.