On June 4, 2010 a woman who was driving her 91 year-old mother to her doctor’s office for a scheduled appointment, accidentally ran her vehicle into the medical building located in Tampa, Florida.
Among the damages to the property were destroyed entry doors, ruined door framing, damage to the foundation and tile, and ensuing structural brick and wall damage to the interior and exterior of the building.
Following the loss, there were many inspections conducted at the premises including the City of Tampa who immediately condemned the use of the entrance and physicians waiting room. The physician and staff secured the building to prevent any further damage from occurring and opened up a secondary entrance using a side door to provide access to patients and avoid the cost of having to relocate the entire practice.
Within a week after the loss, the Insurance Company’s adjuster contacted the office and scheduled an inspection of the damages. Upon the insurance company’s initial inspection and meeting, it became very apparent that the adjuster was unhelpful bringing into question the fairness of the settlement process. As a result the physician began exploring options to handle the claim so he could refocus his attention and time on his patients and medical practice.
On June 11, 2010 upon the recommendation of an area professional, Mr. Richard P. “Rick” Tutwiler, P.C.L.S. of Tutwiler and Associates was hired to handle the insurance claim. Mr. Tutwiler informed the insurance company of his representation and started making inspections to the property. He immediately brought attention to his concern of the structural damage and potential life, health, and safety issues potentially impacting staff and patients whose examination rooms and workstations were only a few feet away from the waiting room previously condemned by the City of Tampa. Mr. Tutwiler also requested the insurance company bring in a structural engineer to determine the extent of the structural damages, which after repeated requests they finally agreed to do. On June 17, 2010 an inspection was conducted between Mr. Tutwiler and an engineer sent out by the insurance company.
Upon inspection of the loss and damages, the engineer and Mr. Tutwiler both agreed that the structural cracks to the rear exterior of the building were new cracks. They also agreed the cracks were attributed to the vehicle’s impact which violently shook the building. The engineer indicated that he would prepare his report based on his observations and have it completed no later than two weeks following his damage inspection. He also assured the client that they would have the report in hand no later than two weeks.
The engineers report was finally received on July 19, 2010 over one month after the inspection. The report’s observations and findings were also inconsistent with what the engineer originally observed and agreed to with Mr. Tutwiler. Of greater concern was that the engineer stated the cracks resulted from the expansion and contraction of dissimilar building materials, as well as material and/or workmanship deficiencies, and were not related to the vehicle impact. This new opinion was provided with no detail whatsoever creating confusion among the doctor and public adjuster about the structural safety of the building and what safety steps could be reasonably taken under the policy provisions.
The insurance company would not provide a written damage estimate and alluded to the fact that all repairs should have been completed. This was contradictory because the insurance company had not compensated the policyholder or had they provided a scope or cost of repair. As a result, 2 months after the loss, the repair/restoration of the damaged medical building had not begun and normal daily business operations were impaired.
Mr. Tutwiler took the initiative to get in touch with the President & CEO of the insurance company who in turn put the VP of claims operations in touch with Mr. Tutwiler to arrange a settlement. Upon several discussion and review of the claim documents prepared by Mr. Tutwiler, the claim was settled for 288% more than the insurance company’s original offer.