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A Public Adjuster’s Holiday Wish List For Super Storm Sandy Victim’s Insurance Claims

Public adjuster Tutwiler and Associates CEO examines the naughty and nice things policyholders should watch out for related to their Superstorm Sandy insurance claim settlement.
December 28, 2012 / TAMPA, Fla. / 

Property Loss Consultant and Public Insurance Adjuster Charles R. “Dick” Tutwiler and his firm Tutwiler & Associates have handled insurance claims in every big storm since 1984. Two months into helping Superstorm Sandy policyholders file insurance claims, he shares a holiday wish list regarding some of the most pressing issues he sees related to properly settling Superstorm Sandy claims:

  1. I wish the out of state adjuster that is now assigned to the files returns from a well deserved break with their family for the holidays to finish their adjusting job for the property owner. Reassigning files to new or    replacement adjusters can result in claim delays and at worst lost file material.
  2. I wish the insurance company adjuster, public adjuster, contractor of choice for the property owner and the supervisory claim manager all quickly agree on the scope of loss and fair market price of the scope of work to be completed to restore the property and issue checks so repair work can get underway.
  3. I wish that any coverage issues that may be interpreted as ambiguous in the insurance policy as it relates to the facts of the loss be resolved in favor of the policyholder. The customary practice and procedures of adjusting first party insurance contract claims as well as in the law allows for ambiguity to be settled to the benefit of the policyholder who had the insurance loss. 
  4. I wish flood adjusters will review their definition of a basement position if they feel the policyholder is not entitled to full coverage due to any unusual construction detail in the damaged home. Flood policies are pretty clear on the definition of a basement. If in doubt, talk to a General Adjuster with NFIP before denying a claim because of a misunderstanding about a construction type or detail you are not familiar with.
  5. I wish all policyholders who have experienced storm damage take the time to learn some basics terms of their insurance policy as well as the accepted practice and procedures of the adjusting process. Remember, adjusting is an art form. It is not a science. Policyholders are supposed to have a real voice in the claims process. Most situations where coverage is afforded is negotiable as to both the scope of the loss and the price of that scope.
  6. I wish all policyholders will take the time or retain competent professional help to fully document their losses and not stop at some dollar figure they think is all they need to get paid their insurance policy limits. Policyholders may have other coverage they are unaware of and there may be tax benefits for uninsured casualty losses that need to be discussed with a tax adviser. 
  7. I wish property owners will take the time to read and fully understand any contracts they sign for re-construction and repair work. Especially be suspicious of assignments of insurance benefits with the policyholder’s name not being included on the check as well as open ended contracts that may financially obligate the policyholder beyond their insurance settlement.
  8. I wish communal living properties such as condominiums and co- ops establish a leader or committee to oversee the adjustment process as well as the repair and replacement process. Ideally, this person needs a competent, experienced, public adjuster/loss consultant reporting the facts of the insurance adjusting process to them so they can coordinate the expected settlement with cost of repairs.
  9. I wish business and homeowners who have experienced a loss from Super Storm Sandy realize that it will take time to property settle their claim.  There is no need to rush a settlement, Those who are thorough gathering facts and presenting their claim in an organized professional manner will have a better claim experience and possibly a higher settlement. Property insurance settlements are all about documenting the damages related to what needs to be done to put the policyholder’s property back in the place it was before the loss and also the cost to accomplish that function. Careful consideration needs to be given to the type of insurance coverage. Was it wind, water or possibly a combination of both? 
  10. And finally, I wish those who have suffered a loss try and maintain some level of civility when dealing with the insurance adjusters assigned to their claim as well as others in their community, all of whom are trying to recover from this disaster. Remember the old saying you get more with honey than vinegar. 
Tutwiler says he wishes a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and extends hope to all who have been affected by Sandy for a brighter future in the coming New Year. "Communities have endured so much as a result of this catastrophic weather event," says Mr. Tutwiler. Tutwiler says a BIG THANK YOU also needs to go out to all the professionals who responded from all over the United States for their hard work and sacrifice coming to the aid of the many thousands of victims in the communities across the northeast in the weeks and months following Super Storm Sandy’s destruction.   

CONTACT:
Tutwiler and Associates
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Phone: (800) 321-4488
For more information, please visit www.PublicAdjuster.com

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.