BIG LAKE, Minn. — The woman at the center of an agonizing battle to collect on insurance money after her home burned down finally has reached an agreement. Jodie Beucler’s case could have ramifications for homeowners across Minnesota.
KARE 11 first brought you Jodi Beucler’s story last year. The mom and nurse from Big Lake says she now feels relief at a settlement. “I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders,” Beucler said.
It all started in 2016 when Jodi got divorced. The house she and her ex-husband Kurt owned was still on the market. Kurt Beucler was living in the home, but Jodi’s name was still on the mortgage and, she thought, still on the insurance policy.
Then one day she received a call from her neighbor. “She told me there was a fire. That there’s a fire at your home and Kurt has a gun,” Jodi recalls.
Authorities say when firefighters arrived, Jodi’s ex-husband threatened them with a gun then turned it on himself. There was nothing left of their home.
After recovering from the shock, Jodi contacted her insurance agent to get the money she and her children thought they were owed, according to her policy. What she learned shocked her. Without her knowledge her name had been removed from the insurance policy.
“Had anyone ever called you, or sent you a letter?” KARE 11 asked when we first interviewed her last year. “No,” Jodi said.
“So at this point, what have you received from the insurance company?” KARE 11 asked.
“Nothing. I have received nothing,” Jodi answered. “They say I am not insured.”
Jodi took the agent and the insurance company to court, sparking a drawn-out legal battle to recoup her family’s biggest investment. When we met Jodi more than a year ago, she was desperate and her resources to fight were running low.
“Insurance companies have endless pockets, endless pockets. And I do not,” she said at that time.
That’s when Richard Allyn, an expert in insurance law and a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, stepped in.
Allyn and his students took Jodi’s case pro bono.
“My immediate reaction was: how is this possible?” law student Lauren Fleming said when she saw Jodi’s case.
“It can’t be that one person can cancel another person without their permission,” Allyn said.
With the help of the students, Jodi finally settled her case this year and received at least some of the payment she believed she was owed.
“Without them my life would be different,” she said.
The details of the settlement are confidential, so Jodi cannot discuss them. But she can say “thank you” to the law school students and everyone who supported her in her fight.
“I could not have done it without a lot of help,” she said.
Now, after a family tragedy and painful legal fight, Jodi and her children have a fresh start.
How does she feel?
“Content, joyful that I can just be with my kids and not worry about anything else. Move on.”