On Property Insurance Claim Tips Blog

Posts by Charles R. Tutwiler

Flood Maps & Flood Insurance Hit Homeowners in Unexpected Ways

Flood Maps & Flood Insurance Hit Homeowners in Unexpected Ways
Today’s NPR article: Overhaul Of A FEMA Program Has Homeowners Calling Congress discusses the dire consequences new FEMA flood maps in conjunction with the newly implemented NFIP flood insurance rates is having. An issue not talked about is the requirement for communities who opted into the flood coverage program to follow the mitigation requirements established by FEMA/NFIP, which are strictly enforced. So new construction or substantially remodeled homes must comply with the newly revised flood map elevation height requirements.Read More

Policyholder Question: How Much Depreciation Should be Taken for a Driveway?

Here is an insurance claim question that we answered as a contributing member of experts for United Policyholders who advocates for property owners. 

Q. What, if any, should be acceptable ACV on a driveway and walkway on a personal residence?  House was demolished by fire and working with adjuster on fair settlement value of these surfaces.  Policy provides ACV.

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Association Boards - Update Your Knowledge Related to Property Insurance Claim Regulations

Association Boards - Update Your Knowledge Related to Property Insurance Claim Regulations
We exhibited at the Suncoast CAI CA Day in Tampa on Thursday getting up to date with Association Property Managers and Board Members. As we meet with Condo Boards about various claim situations, we continue to see Boards that have not updated their knowledge about laws enacted in 2013. If you’re on a Condo Board, please be aware of these changes and review section 718. 111(11) j of the Fl statue on what is or is not covered in a condo claim, that started July 1 2013.

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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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Flood Insurance Premiums Crisis? For Some a Full Lift May be an Option!

Those facing enormous rate hikes due to the recent NFIP overhaul and the lack of action in the federal government to make things right might consider lifting their home out of the flood zone. This article gives Facing Flood Insurance Crisis, You Could Lift Your Home from the Herald Tribune gives a very thorough review of the pro’s and con’s. Just keep in mind that building code enforcement can vary greatly from county to county so make sure you understand the building code compliance issues you will face if you embark on this course of action.   

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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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Flood Insurance Issues Persist for Sandy Victims

This article from the NY Times, Sandy Victims Insurance Headaches Persist points out the rules and regulations are stacked against the policyholder. The National Flood Insurance Program is a terrible and troubled insurance scheme. With 41 years on the clock dealing with the misery of others at their time of loss, I think it’s time to reform or eliminate this program with its draconian adjusting rules. Read More

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