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Florida public adjuster: Not too late to prepare property for tropical storms

Even as Tropical Storm Hermine batters Texas, Florida public adjuster Tutwiler and Associates say it's not too late for property owners to prepare for their property insurance claim duties for future storms.
September 7, 2010 / TAMPA, Fla. / 

Last week, Hurricane Earl served as a wake-up call to the U.S. that although the 2010 hurricane season has been quiet, it is far from over. This week, Tropical Storm Hermine moves farther inland in Texas, causing widespread flooding and power outages, as well as tens of thousands of dollars in property damage in cities like Kingsville, Brownsville and San Antonio. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the remnants of Tropica Storm Gaston remain roughly 120 miles Southeast of Puerto Rico and still hold a chance of reorganizing into a tropical storm some time this week. Even as Gaston moves closer to a possible landfall with the United States, Florida public adjuster Tutwiler and Associates says there is still time for property owners to update their property insurance policies, to schedule a pre-loss inspection with a professional public adjuster, and to begin the pre-loss preparation process to help support their claim in the event of a property loss.

The certified public adjusters at Tutwiler and Associates, with offices throughout Florida and licenses in nine other states and the U.S. Virgin Islands, say while it’s never too early to obtain proper records and document a property’s condition with photographic and video proof, it’s also certainly not too late.

"Pre-loss documentation and proper record keeping can be done relatively quickly and is imperative as the number one tool available to the insured property owner to support their claim and get paid for the damages to the property," says Dick Tutwiler, founder and CEO of Tutwiler and Associates. “It’s important for property owners to protect themselves against the pre-existing damage and maintenance argument that the insurance industry will certainly try to use against them. Show the insurance provider why they are wrong. Be prepared to prove what damage you have after the storm that didn’t exist beforehand."

The Florida public adjusters at Tutwiler and Associates say the majority of property owners they work with every day are unaware they even have any pre-loss responsibilities in the first place. Most property owners, they say, believe their insurance policies will take care of whatever damage a tropical storm may inflict, but that’s not always the case. Instead, the burden of proof in the event of storm damage is on the property owner, which means it is imperative for the property owners to document the condition of their property, both personal and structural, before a storm hits to avoid any potential problems when it comes time to filing their property insurance claim. While it’s not too late for property owners to finish this pre-loss preparation process, with the possible reorganization of Tropical Storm Gaston, time is running out.

“Once the National Hurricane Center issues a hurricane warning for your area, the window of availability for a property owner to have their policy amended or to have a pre-loss inspection closes,” says Tutwiler. “That’s why it’s so important to get an early jump on the pre-loss preparation process. Even though these named storms are moving closer, there is still time for property owners to protect their property if they act quickly.”

Through its offices in Florida as well as being licensed in nine states and the U S Virgins Islands, Tutwiler and Associates has worked with countless property owners through dozens of named tropical storms and other causes of property damage. While policyholders can certainly take care of photographic and video documentation of their property on their own, the licensed and certified property insurance experts at Tutwiler and Associates are available by appointment to conduct pre-loss inspections, review condition reports and make recommendations of requests policyholders need to be prepared for in terms of records and other proof that insurance companies will require to pay a claim. Tutwiler says people should remember insurance adjusting has two components the first is the investigating phase and the other is the adjusting process.

Policy holders need to be prepared to support their damage in the investigation phase with proper reports and records before a major weather event like Tropical Storm Hermine or Tropical Storm Gaston threatens their property.

For more information, please visit

Tutwiler and Associates
Phone: (800) 321-4488
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About Tutwiler and Associates: Tutwiler and Associates is a firm of public adjusters licensed in 10 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands specializing in commercial and residential property loss adjusting. With well in excess of $113 million in client success stories over a 27-year history, the Florida public adjusters work exclusively on behalf of policyholders to help them achieve the maximum settlement amounts they can fairly and honestly recover based on their loss and their policy provisions. Professional help from the adjusters at Tutwiler and Associates can help clients obtain a fair recovery under their policy. The Gulf Coast based public adjuster firm is committed to public service and strives to educate its clients about commercial and residential windstorm and hurricane losses, flood damage, fire, smoke and water damage, collapse, hidden decay and mold losses, sinkholes, loss of stock, and business interruption.