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We had a long and complicated claim process with a few bumps in the road, but in the end, Keith and Rick got the job done. Thank you! Homeowner

Understanding Explosion Insurance Claims

As witnessed in the recent BP Oil Spill tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico, explosions are sudden, unexpected, and can happen almost instantaneously, oftentimes without warning.  Due to the unpredictable nature of the ensuing loss, damages and recovery efforts will most certainly take a very long time, possibly years.  Detailed investigations will need to be conducted to protect and substantiate the property insurance claim.  Determinations of how to apply coverage will need to be assessed by and experienced explosion adjuster.  The scope of repair or replacement will undoubtedly be a challenging task if qualified professionals are not involved at the onset. However, the above referenced explosion is not just limited to oil producing facilities located in the middle of the ocean.  Explosions frequently destroy manufacturing facilities, distribution centers, warehouses, and commercial properties.  Recently, an explosion located in Georgia decimated a family home in an upscale neighborhood leaving millions of dollars of damages in its wake. 

Tutwiler and Associates was retained to assist an insured who had an elevator explode in a luxury four-story townhouse. The main hydraulic line that runs the elevator car broke on an upper floor causing hydraulic fluid to shoot out under pressure into the interior wall spaces and permanently installed fixtures.  The result was that the drywall ceiling and floor coverings and a very expensive wardrobe of high-end designer clothes were covered in oily hydraulic fluid.

Following inspection of the damages by the insurance company’s representative, the insurance carrier's denial letter stated:  "We have completed our investigation of the above claim and find that the damage reported is excluded from coverage. You reported the elevator LEAKED fluid causing damage to the walls and ceiling of the condominium and to your contents. As the damage was not caused by a covered peril, we are unable to provide coverage for your claim."

The carrier then goes on to list 17 named perils which includes "EXPLOSION."  In reply to the denial letter, the following question was posed:  "after careful review of your denial letter, there needs to be additional clarification on the explosion peril."

The carrier's reply stated:  “…the PLRB indicates that the definition of explosion encompasses criteria relating to:

  1. A sudden release of expanding pressure;
  2. Noise, although not necessarily loud;
  3. A bursting forth of material, whether gaseous, liquid, or solid;
  4. Evidence of the scattering of debris to locations further than would have resulted from gravity alone.

In the elevator claim, Tutwiler was able to show that is exactly what happened. As a result the carrier extended coverage under the "EXPLOSION" peril and the matter was resolved to everyone's satisfaction or at least to the policyholder’s complete satisfaction.

In the above example, the peril of explosion was one of the named perils of the policy applicable to that specific loss.

If you would like help with your explosion insurance claim and understand your options, give us a call at 813-412-8357 or contact us.

FAQs About Explosion

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Absolutely, this may be a very important part of your team and will often involve the question of pre-existing damages and the issues surrounding the repair scope of the damages. A public adjuster can help you coordinate your teams investigation efforts. Building plans and repairs may require sealed plans and approval from building officials. A team approach involving your professional public adjuster as well as experts to cover all the details involved in an explosion event will ensure that you can deal on an equal footing with the experts the insurance company will send out to represent their interest.

An Explosion loss should be treated just as any other loss so you should consider professional help by retaining a professional trained public adjuster. While an explosion loss may involve a fire, the force of the explosion alone may be enough to destroy your home or business.

With an explosion claim, you need to be aware of the unique damages that may result from the brute force of this type of event. Unlike a fire which will leave clear and identifiable damages, an explosion and the resulting shock may cause structural damage that will require detailed inspections of all building components and personal property.

Tutwiler & Associates has been involved in many losses resulting from explosion and they all have presented unique challenges, investigation, and documentation to ensure that our client received the full and fair settlement they deserved. 

Structural damage to a building in the form of cracks, shifting of foundation and walls will always be questioned by insurance company adjusters as the age old defense will be raised that the damage is old and pre-dated the explosion event. We have always recommended that our clients maintain good records on property conditions as well as professional reports on condition surveys commissioned before a loss. Photographs are an excellent resource to rebut a denial of a claim because of alleged old pre-existing damages.

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Local Office

Tutwiler & Associates Public Adjusters, Inc.
Licensed Public Insurance Adjusters & Loss Consultants
Offices: Tampa, Orlando, Palm City, Ft. Myers, Florida; Dallas, TX; Pittsburgh, PA

Executive Office
4300 W. Cypress St.
Suite 780
Tampa, FL 33607
Phone: 813.287.8090
Toll Free: 800.321.4488

Licensed in Florida # W840088 &
Texas #1399706 plus 16 other states
and the Virgin Islands