Tutwiler Public Adjusters Assists Condominium Board Facing Absent Insurer, Contractor Liens, and Deductible Miscalculations Recover $2.37 Million Property Insurance Claim Settlement – Avoids Litigation
by Charles R. Tutwiler on 5/3/2023
The Mariner is a condominium located on the pristine barrier island of Perdido Key, Florida. Built in 1974, this property features several building towers consisting of varying layouts and 72 privately owned condo residences all facing the Gulf of Mexico. Most owners are elderly, retired and spend their days full time on the white sand beaches of sunny Florida. Others rent their units earning income from guests visiting The Mariner and utilizing their amenities, boating facilities, fishing pier, lighted tennis courts, recreational clubhouse, and outdoor pool.
On September 16, 2020, Hurricane Sally caused severe damage all along the Emerald Coast and greater Pensacola regions. The effects of Sally were not quite as extensive as what the Mariner endured with Hurricane Ivan in 2004, though Sally’s impact did pack a windy punch rendering the building uninhabitable for quite some time.
Directly after the storm, the owner’s association board hired local contractors to mitigate damages, board-up broken windows, secured tarps on each roof, and shored-up balconies and railings that were blown off due to extreme winds. The board then sought to repair the elevators, remove debris and glass, and place drying equipment inside units with severe water damage. Unfortunately, expenses mounted and the board’s requests to their insurance company for needed advance funding aid fell on deaf ears.
With patience wearing thin and bills mounting, the board engaged Tutwiler and Associates Public Adjusters. Things gradually started improving after Tutwiler’s public adjuster team attained policy copies, schedule of values, and underwriting files while developing a good rapport working alongside the association’s insurance agent. Eventually, advance funding for the board-up, shoring and tarping got issued, although 5 months late. Tutwiler’s team then turned efforts to ensure all damages were repaired following Hurricane Ivan to avoid any potential overlap as proactive measures began to start preparing detailed estimates for damages attributable and caused by Hurricane Sally. This work entailed an enormous amount of preparation as well as work with the associations contractors to ensure fair market pricing was applied to repair The Mariner to its pre-Sally condition. Once completed, our team attended numerous on-site inspections with the insurance carrier’s building consultant team who eventually became our ally to get the insurance company moving before things got worse.
Shortly after receiving an initial $1.15 million offer to settle this claim, our team reviewed the offer and noticed deductibles were incorrectly applied, damages sustained to scheduled building locations were missing, common area and mechanical equipment items were omitted, and the Business Interruption claim was not properly valued. On November 3, 2022 the Mariner received a final check from their insurance company totaling $62K+ for the deductible miscalculation. In total, the claim was settled to all parties' satisfaction for $2.37 Million, an additional $1,2 Million in new money.
Ultimately successful claims resolution not only relies on the expertise and experience of the adjusting team, but also hinges on the rapport and respect built with the insurance carrier and their staff. Mutual respect leads to successful outcomes. When there’s misinformation about Public Adjusters following hurricanes in Florida, our clients complain about claims resolution delays due to the lack of responsiveness of their insurance companies and the inability to get an adjuster on-site or on the phone. Policyholders need to understand what they are facing, signing, and that litigation may slow down their claims and could result in liens on their property. Most of this can be avoided when claims are adjusted, ethically, fairly, and professionally.