On Property Insurance Claim Tips Blog

Winter Claims Already Impacting Construction Prices and Contractor Repair Availability

Winter Claims Already Impacting Construction Prices and Contractor Repair Availability
As I write this, I am sitting in LaGuardia airport waiting for a flight back to Florida.  I was called up to New York to meet with a prospective client who owns a building in Manhattan that has suffered structural damage due to a new building being constructed next door.   Florida’s tourism boom this year is apparent in New York; snow, ice, then freezing rain and back to snow with 6-8 inches predicted for the five boroughs of NYC.  Other parts of the country are predicted to get even more snow, then freezing temps. Clearly, northerners are flocking to Florida in droves trying to escape the brutal winter especially in the northeast. Read More

Beware Roof Collapse, Ice Dams and Frozen Pipe Burst from Winter’s Deep-Freeze and a Tip from the Red Cross

Beware Roof Collapse, Ice Dams and Frozen Pipe Burst from Winter’s Deep-Freeze and a Tip from the Red Cross

With New England and now the eastern United States in a deep freeze from record snow and ice accumulation, remember the old saying, it’s the darkest before the dawn.  Yes, there will be a spring and it’s just around the corner according to the Old Farmers Almanac. Spring, also called the vernal equinox comes in the Northern Hemisphere on March 20th at 6:45pm to be exact. This shouldn’t minimize the extensive property damage being caused this winter as this excellent article on Ice Dams discusses. Many of our staff are gearing up to head north in order to help current clients and work with our public adjuster partners.

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Winter Storm Juno is Over – Get Ready for the Insurance Claims

Winter Storm Juno is Over – Get Ready for the Insurance Claims
While it seems most of the New York and New Jersey areas escaped major damage from the blizzard, folks in New England weren’t so lucky. We’re seeing reports of major flooding, coastal property damage, frozen pipe bursts and roof collapses from all the heavy snow will continue.  A couple of good articles that were just published Policyholders would be wise to read the articles below that were just published and offer tips on how to better navigate the insurance claims process. Read More

Winter Storm Juno and the Insurance Claims to Come

Winter Storm Juno and the Insurance Claims to Come
Listening to the weather wonks, it sure looks like Winter Storm Juno may be one for the record books. It may also be a notable one for the insurance industry with all the expected claims from water losses due to frozen pipe breaks, collapsed roofs due to heavy snow loads, and most unfortunately fires from faulty heating appliances and improper use of space heaters. Policyholders in New England, New York and New Jersey need to take notice.Read More

Ice Dams Frozen Gutters – Their Baaaack!

Ice Dams Frozen Gutters – Their Baaaack!

Given the serious ice conditions hitting the Houston area and the frozen Northeast, we want to thank roofing expert Mr. Andrew Smith, Director of Field Operations at Roof Leak Detection Co. for contributing this very good explanation of ice dams and the resulting roof leaks and water damage it can cause. The damage this causes is a long-term issue for policyholders as the damage you incur this winter can show up during summer windstorms. These losses can become complicated insurance claims that require the policyholder to prove the cause of loss when water infiltrates the interior of the home.

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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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Flood Insurance: The Other Part of the Story Not Being Covered by the Media and Others

An editorial written in the Washington Post titled “Reforms should tackle flood and moral hazard” and reprinted in the St. Petersburg Times (2/4/2014) attempts to make a case that the U.S. House of Representatives should not follow their colleagues in the U.S. Senate and repeal the dastardly Biggert-Waters 2012 “Flood Reform” act. No need to go into a lengthy accounting on what’s in this piece of legislation and what it’s doing to still recovering homeowners. Examples of their pending financial ruin are constantly in the press and ubiquitous across the Internet.

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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