On Property Insurance Claim Tips Blog

 
     

Floods, Water Losses and Money

Floods, Water Losses and Money

There were a number of articles over the course of the last few weeks that focused my attention back to the water peril.  Spring storms in the middle section of the country with the severe floods that always seem to follow; global warming issues being reported almost daily with the threat of rising sea levels; and then this recent article, Flood recovery meeting set in White Sulphur Springs  from The Herald-Dispatch in West Virginia, that announced meetings with various officials to try and provide updates to the folks in southern West Virginia who were affected by last year’s floods in the mountain state. 

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Hurricane Hermine Insurance Claims – Approach Your Storm Damage with Some Common Sense

Hurricane Hermine Insurance Claims – Approach Your Storm Damage with Some Common Sense
As the saying goes in the sports fishing world when the big one is hooked, “FISH ON!” After 10 years of no hurricane landfalls, Florida experienced first a tropical storm, which was later upgraded to Cat 1 Hurricane Hermine. I feel very bad for all the folks affected in this State from Hurricane Hermine. From the media reports, this storm caused misery to a lot of Floridians along the Gulf Coast from Sarasota, Tampa Bay, all the way up the west coast to the big bend area and westward to Tallahassee. Flooding was as bad or worse than the wind in many locations but in combination, they likely did a number on property owners.  And if property damage wasn’t enough, the loss of power added misery to the mix. Read More

Public Adjuster Offers Insurance Claim Advice to West Virginia Flood Victims

Public Adjuster Offers Insurance Claim Advice to West Virginia Flood Victims

Anticipating the 100 year flood event that occurred in my native southern West Virginia was the last thing on my mind when I wrote and published my recent blog Troubled Waters – Insurance Claims Under Attack, about the “Troubled Water Claims” phenomena we are currently experiencing in Florida. But given the fact that Florida’s water problems and West Virginia’s terrible flooding disaster have one common denominator - water, I thought it would be helpful and hopefully educational to distinguish a flood event versus a water loss since these terms are often misused in the property insurance world. In addition, for those who do have flood insurance, we want to share some knowledge and information in the form of tips from my firm’s extensive experience in water/flood losses including our most recent work handling Super Storm Sandy flood claims in New York.

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The New Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

The New Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Well, maybe not new, but things are changing and we have seen this coming for some time. In our last blog Tampa Bay Residents Wait on FEMA we noted that staff from FEMA were in the area to inspect the flooding that resulted from three weeks of intense rain. Attempting not to jinx the process, I held off offering my opinion on the likely outcome of the FEMA inspection. But now we know FEMA has turned down requests from State and local officials to provide financial assistance to homeowners and businesses damaged due to the flooding.

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Sandy Flood Claims Denied – Public Adjuster Wins Reversal 2 Years Later

Sandy Flood Claims Denied – Public Adjuster Wins Reversal 2 Years Later

Two years ago, on October 29, 2012 Super Storm Sandy came ashore just south of New York City causing significant flood damage to many buildings in the Financial District and in Battery Park City, New York.  Our firm was on the ground within 3 days post-storm, helping people prepare to file their Sandy insurance claims. We ended up opening an office in the area and stayed a good 6 months. Many of these high-end residential condominium buildings overlook the New York Harbor, Statue of Liberty, and skylines. Tutwiler & Associates Public Adjusters were retained to represent one of these tower communities.

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Proof of Loss Property Insurance Claim Requirements in Florida

A recent opinion of Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals involving a Hurricane Wilma homeowner’s claim has a rather startling decision, and not a good one for the policyholder side. The case Hunt v. State Farm highlights the need for policyholders to pay close attention to their claim, their insurance policy language and any communication they receive from their insurance company. This is particularly true given the results of this case on the requirement to file a proof of loss.Read More

Policyholder Question: Buying Flood Insurance and What You Need to Know

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

Q. I have been offered a job in Wilmington, NC and would like to live in a nearby beach community such as Surf City, NC.  Other than USAA, What is the best insurance carrier for flood insurance? 

A. Before I answer your question, please allow me to give you some background on flood insurance as our public adjusting firm has seen significant changes over the years. Because of the high risk of flooding and the widespread damages that often result, the insurance actuarial folks could not manage or price this peril so as to set an affordable premium. Thus the private insurance industry was simply not agreeable to assuming the flood risk. Thus, flood losses were excluded in most all standard property insurance policies. In 1968, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was created by an act of Congress as the lack of this coverage was affecting the economy and commerce. In the beginning years, this program while providing flood coverage, was very poorly run and claim service was terrible. Probably not surprising given that the NFIP was headquartered in Washington, D. C. as it quickly became a typical Washington bureaucracy, unresponsive and extremely difficult to work with.

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Understanding Depreciation Estimates for Your Property Insurance Claim

When there is a storm event such as the flooding in the Pensacola, Destin, Gulf Breeze and the Ft. Walton Beach areas we always get questions about how depreciation works. As public adjusters, we deal with this type of situation all the time when we are managing a policyholder’s claim. Deprecation is figured in a number of ways depending on who is making the calculations. As an example; in the insurance adjusting field, the text book example is to come up with a percentage based on the age of an item and its full life expectancy. So if an item is one year old and the average life is 20 years the percent to be applied for deprecation is 5%.  If the cost of the item new is $5,000 then $250.00 in deprecation should be taken for each year of life. If an item is 5 years old and the life expectancy is 15 years then 33% would be reasonable.

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Earth Movement, Foundation Damage Caused by Panhandle Flooding, Is it Covered?

Property owners in the Pensacola, Destin, Gulf Breeze and the Ft. Walton Beach areas may be surprised to find that their flood claim for foundation damage is denied because the NFIP says the damage is caused by earth movement; even though the earth movement was caused by flood waters! Before I discuss this, let me remind any reader that each loss is fact specific to that property. You may have two homes or commercial buildings side-by-side in close proximity to each other and the loss conditions from the same insured event may vary.

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Panhandle Flood Victims Need to Understand the Nuances of Flood Insurance

For those who have National Flood Insurance, we encourage you to review and pay close attention to your flood policy’s terms and conditions. The policies issued by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are unique because they fall under a Federal Government program with its own rules and regulations. As an example, the NFIP policy requires you to file a proof-of-loss within 60 days of the flood event. In layman terms, you must have figured out your loss and arrived at a sum certain amount to put on a document called a “proof of loss” and have it submitted to the appropriate person handling your claim. Unless this time period (60 Days) is waived by an authorized official of FEMA/NFIP the claim may be denied in total for failure to comply with the policy terms and conditions.

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