On Property Insurance Claim Tips Blog

Property insurance claim denied? Using the insurance company’s expert may lead to a reversal

Let me explain with an example of a claim that came across my desk that should be instructive laying out the steps policyholders should take when the dreaded denial letter comes in the mail from your insurance company. First, don’t panic. You may be able to turn things around provided you have requested all the information you need to convince your insurance company of the errors of their ways. So let’s get started. It will require a little work on your part, but you can do it.

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Water Damage Insurance Claims Pendulum Swinging the Wrong Way for Florida Policyholders

I want to thank Florida Public Adjuster Michael Platts for penning this excellent commentary. 

By Michael W. Platts
We are rapidly approaching the end of the hurricane season. It has been an unprecedented nine years since a hurricane has struck the State of Florida. Nonetheless, many citizens are not seeing much if any reduction in their property insurance premiums and worse yet, the overall environment seems to be one in which the consumer continues to receive less and less coverage whether it is a result of unfavorable court rulings, legislative machinations which strengthen the hand of the insurance companies or more restrictive language within the insurance companies’ contracts (their policies).

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How to Deal with Low Ball Offers from Panhandle Insurance Claims

Home and business owners who were impacted by the flooding and water intrusion in Pensacola, Destin, Gulf Breeze and the Ft. Walton Beach areas are starting to hear back from their insurance company about their claims. Many will learn that the claim settlement amount(s) fall short and will not cover the cost of repairing storm damages.Read More

Panhandle Flood Victims Need to Understand the Nuances of Flood Insurance

For those who have National Flood Insurance, we encourage you to review and pay close attention to your flood policy’s terms and conditions. The policies issued by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are unique because they fall under a Federal Government program with its own rules and regulations. As an example, the NFIP policy requires you to file a proof-of-loss within 60 days of the flood event. In layman terms, you must have figured out your loss and arrived at a sum certain amount to put on a document called a “proof of loss” and have it submitted to the appropriate person handling your claim. Unless this time period (60 Days) is waived by an authorized official of FEMA/NFIP the claim may be denied in total for failure to comply with the policy terms and conditions.

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Ten Mistakes Florida Panhandle Flooding Victims Should Avoid with their Insurance Claim

Extreme Florida weather has caused widespread wind, water and flood damage in Pensacola, Destin, Gulf Breeze and Ft. Walton and has also brought some flooding to the Tampa and St. Petersburg area. This will require that many residential and commercial policyholders submit an insurance claim. The public adjusters at Tutwiler & Associates urge policyholders to take the proper steps to protect their claim and avoid settlement problems.
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Florida Property Insurance Claims - Life is Like a Box of Chocolates, You Never Know What You’ll Get

A four-page unsolicited letter I received last week from an attorney filled me in on some of the inner workings of the powers to be in Tallahassee and reminded me of this famous line from the Forrest Gump movie. This letter was like a box of chocolates as each paragraph revealed something new. Apparently, he has been following some of my writings, specifically about the reduction in coverage for the  water peril, the most frequent cause of losses for property damage and wanted to give me some background on how this all went down. 

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Municipalities Also Feeling the Impact of Frozen Pipes

Home and business owners aren’t the only ones feeling the impact from frozen pipe breaks. A recent NY Times article; A Severe Winter Breaks Budgets as Well as Pipes discusses the toll the deep freeze is taking on municipal infrastructure which may be dealing with pipes over 100 years old. We also know schools and other public facilities are experiencing frozen pipe damage.  When there is wide spread damage from weather events, we’ve seen these local governments bring in public adjusters to manage their claims since they are typically short on resources.

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Policyholder Question: Frozen Pipe Burst Claim Dispute - Is it Time to Hire a Public Adjuster?

Policyholder Question: Frozen Pipe Burst Claim Dispute -  Is it Time to Hire a Public Adjuster?

Here is an insurance claim question that we answered as a contributing member of experts for United Policyholders who advocates for property owners.

Q. I had an upstairs pipe burst 1 month ago that caused damage to the upstairs bathroom (tile & drywall), carpet in upstairs (hallway & one bedroom), all of downstairs kitchen (walls, cabinets, ceiling, under-house insulation, HVAC ductwork). After quickly stopping the leak and vacuuming out the water, I set up my claim and started calling water damage restoration companies.  Of the dozen I called, only one could come out sooner than 5 days.  They began drying and demolishing within 2 days.  After my persistent calling, an adjuster finally got in touch with me 8 days later to setup an appointment.  This appointment was 24 days after initial damage!  Now I will talk about my dispute.  Two adjusters showed up.  The upstairs tile had expanded and contracted enough to bust loose.  The tile creaks badly and the adjusters bent down with me and clearly observed it moving.  However, they still were insistent on not replacing it.  I have continuous carpet (mended seamlessly at the thresholds) all over the upstairs including stairs.  They wanted to cut above the stairs and at thresholds, citing they only had to replace what was damaged.  Downstairs, they wouldn't even consider the tile, although I know that it was wet under those tiles for at least a week with plenty of time for mold spores to form.  Every piece of plywood under those tiles was wet and didn't get insulation removed for 4 days and never had a fan or dehumidifier put in the crawl space.

Where do I go from here? I thought I should first write the adjusters a letter in my defense.  I was an engineer for The Tile Council of North America which publishes industry-consensus guidelines for ceramic tile installation. I have plenty of expertise and sources to back my concerns. Or should I just get a public adjuster? Thank you!

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The Big Freeze Broken Pipes and Snow… the Way It Was

While looking for some information in my office library yesterday, I pulled a book from a shelf titled The Policyholder Advisor authored by Eugene R. Anderson, William G. Passannante, and Robert M. Horkovich. These three gentlemen, all attorneys, and at the time of publishing in 2002, shareholders at Anderson Kill & Olick P.C. now Anderson Kill P.C. one of the nation’s leading law firms for policyholders. The book jacket noted that the book is a collection of articles published in the firm’s newsletter, “The Policyholder Advisor.”

It was a little uncanny when I opened the book, and it opened to page 181 and the chapter title was “Insurance Coverage Available for Property Losses from The Blizzard of 96.” While no two storms are ever the same, there sure are a lot of similarities between the 1996 blizzard and the current polar vortex malaise of 2014; especially when it comes to insurance coverage issues and disputes with insurance carriers.

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Frozen Pipes, the Resulting Water Damage, and Now Snow--Is It Time to Call in the Cavalry?

Frozen Pipes, the Resulting Water Damage, and Now Snow--Is It Time to Call in the Cavalry?
With another polar blast and big snowstorm adding to the misery in the already frozen Northeastern U.S., I was wondering how the property insurance industry is holding up given the onslaught of property claims being filed. Well, that question was answered when we received an auto-reply from an adjuster in New York who works for one of the big insurance companies who we are working with on a claim following Super Storm Sandy. His reply, “please be advised that we are currently experiencing higher than normal volume due to recent weather related events and there may be a delay in returning your email.” Returning timely emails is one thing, but adjusting a loss is a whole other animal given the working conditions in the frozen north; especially when it comes to frozen pipes.Read More