On Property Insurance Claim Tips Blog

Windstorm Conference 2018

Windstorm Conference 2018

Following this year's historic hurricane season, it has been great seeing and catching up with some of the best of the best in the property insurance claims industry! The Windstorm Insurance Network (WIND) is a professional association founded in 1999 and the organization offers elite education, industry insight and unique networking opportunities with representatives from all facets of the property insurance claims industry. This year, I served on an expert panel, "Where Wind Meets Fire" speaking about windstorms and how they exacerbate loss and damages resulting from fire, smoke, soot and ash in many different States like Gatlinburg, Tennessee, many parts of California and even on I-4 driving over from Tampa to Orlando.

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Hurricane Irma Insurance Claim Settlement Checks – Watch what you sign

Hurricane Irma Insurance Claim Settlement Checks – Watch what you sign

Your property or business suffered damage during Hurricane Irma. You promptly filed a claim or had a public insurance adjuster document and file the claim for you. A check from the insurance company appears in the mail. Great! How easy could it be? But wait, there’s a catch…..on the back of your check there is language that states you are releasing the insurance company from any further costs related to the claim.

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The Art & Science of Hurricane Irma Repair Estimates

The Art & Science of Hurricane Irma Repair Estimates

Most homeowners and business people do not understand the complexities of estimating repair costs. Even with a policy in-hand, there is much to be interpreted and many unique factors that can impact each claim. As the recovery process for Hurricane Irma continues, we’ve received anecdotal evidence from independent adjusters who are telling us they are submitting their estimates and reports only to have the carriers send them back or make in-house changes without their knowledge. Basically they find out the estimate they wrote was chopped up to save the carrier money. This is not happening everywhere, but enough to cause me concern.  

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Hurricane Irma’s Deductible Surprise & Other Insurance Policy Surprises Hurting the Policyholder

Hurricane Irma’s Deductible Surprise & Other Insurance Policy Surprises Hurting the Policyholder

By now folks in Florida are finding out how little they are going to get paid for their insurance claim damages from Hurricane Irma. Our office is being bombarded with calls and emails from policyholders seeking help and answers about their property insurance losses from Hurricane Irma. Not surprising a lot of the frustration is about the fact that their claim file was closed without payment due to a subjective opinion by independent insurance adjusters working for some insurance companies.

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Will Christmas be merry or will old man Scrooge ruin the season of giving for policyholders?

Will Christmas be merry or will old man Scrooge ruin the season of giving for policyholders?

The title for this blog popped in my head based on a question sent into our firm about property insurance policy adjusting practices and procedures related to Hurricane Irma claims. Here is the question sent in from a resident in one hard hit area of Florida:

Policyholder Question: I received a claim check from the insurance company and they have deducted depreciation for my roof. It is a large number and I have read a few different answers related to my question. If I have a replacement value insurance policy, can they hold depreciation? Do I really need to put $20,000+ out of my pocket until a time in the future when they might release that depreciation to me?

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Policyholder Question – How does an insurer define physical loss to property?

Policyholder Question – How does an insurer define physical loss to property?

Q. Our insurer rejected our mold claim, even though we have additional coverage for mold, as well as for, "Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning or bulging of a steam or hot water heating system, an air conditioning or automatic fire protective sprinkler system, or an appliance for heating water". The a/c repair man as well as the claims adjuster and the engineer who investigated the claim (both hired by our insurer) attributed, in writing, the cause of our mold to tearing of the attic duct work tape. The insurer claimed they would not cover our Section C loss from mold because, "the claimed loss and damage and the mold was the result of humidity and condensation. There was no physical damage; therefore the mold is not a result of a covered cause of loss." Can you please explain why they are rejecting our claim? 

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Policyholder Question – Can I Claim Loss of Use for an Apartment Rental Claim?

Policyholder Question – Can I Claim Loss of Use for an Apartment Rental Claim?

The following is an insurance claim question we answered for a policyholder through the United Policyholders Ask an Expert Forum.

Q. I live in St Thomas. My house suffered substantial damage from Irma and Maria. It is a two level house with a 3rd level apartment. The upper level is missing the roof and the bottom level apartment is pulling away from the main structure. I am currently living on the 2nd level. When I bought the house in January I had planned on returning the house to the previous layout of 3 separate distinct living spaces to help with the mortgage and homeowners insurance payments. The 2nd level had already been zoned as a separate living area but was added to the main house by the previous owners. I removed the spiral staircase between the 1st and 2nd level and had contractors scheduled to come back to repair the opening. Earlier this year my parents decided they were going to move here. My father has Alzheimer disease and responds well to me. I was going to help my Mom care for him. My parents sold their house in Colorado, bought plane tickets and hired movers. They were to arrive on island October 1st. We decided ahead of time they would be paying rent and we would have a written agreement drawn up. As a result of the storm I was forced to move to the 2nd level. Had the house survived intact this would not have been a safe place for them. I would have still rented out the 2nd level to someone else. My insurance agent said I could not claim a loss of use for the vacant apartments because I had no lease already in place for them. Is this correct?

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Replacing your roof after Irma? Think Metal

Replacing your roof after Irma? Think Metal

If you are in the market for a new roof because of Hurricane Irma, you may want to consider a metal roof.  From my observation as a public adjuster handling a wide variety of insurance claims, metal roofs are becoming more popular all over the country. I’d like to share this article about hurricane resistant metal sheeting roofs published by an engineering firm in the Caribbean that may be of interest to you or your clients. I have seen these roofs hold up very well, if installed as detailed in this article. In the case of St. Maarten which had sustained winds of 183 mph with gusts over 200 mph, the metal roof stayed on,  where other types such as asphalt shingles and/or clay/cement tiles for the most part blew off in part or total. 

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Hurricane Irma and enhanced conditions for electrical fires

Hurricane Irma and enhanced conditions for electrical fires

The effects of Hurricane Irma’s wind and rain damage are still apparent throughout Florida and the Caribbean. Roofing crews and blue tarps are ubiquitous wherever you travel. While the blue roofs are obvious, what may not be so obvious are damages that may have resulted to electrical and mechanical systems in your home or building from the effects of Hurricane Irma's wind and water. Too many policyholders are blindly following a contractors or even their insurance company’s desire to “fix up” the damage and move on to the next claim, putting themselves in danger. 

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