On Property Insurance Claim Tips Blog

Winter Storm Juno is Over – Get Ready for the Insurance Claims

Winter Storm Juno is Over – Get Ready for the Insurance Claims
While it seems most of the New York and New Jersey areas escaped major damage from the blizzard, folks in New England weren’t so lucky. We’re seeing reports of major flooding, coastal property damage, frozen pipe bursts and roof collapses from all the heavy snow will continue.  A couple of good articles that were just published Policyholders would be wise to read the articles below that were just published and offer tips on how to better navigate the insurance claims process. Read More

Winter Storm Juno and the Insurance Claims to Come

Winter Storm Juno and the Insurance Claims to Come
Listening to the weather wonks, it sure looks like Winter Storm Juno may be one for the record books. It may also be a notable one for the insurance industry with all the expected claims from water losses due to frozen pipe breaks, collapsed roofs due to heavy snow loads, and most unfortunately fires from faulty heating appliances and improper use of space heaters. Policyholders in New England, New York and New Jersey need to take notice.Read More

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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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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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

Policyholder Question: What’s Covered in a Pipe Leak Water Damage Claim?

Q. I have filed a claim for water damage to my living room. The adjuster provided details of coverage prior to mitigation, for $1, 762.68 including my $1,000 deductible; for which I paid. The mitigation folks provided another estimate of an additional $6,000 to my insurance adjuster. This was their estimate once they opened up the wall where the water was causing damage. Two major findings, once they opened up the wall: 1) they discovered a pipe leak 2) two beams are termite infested! Neither are covered under my insurance (Nationwide)! The company that came in to do the recovery completed the cleaning, disinfecting, and drying out process. However, they informed me that they would not replace the wood beams that are damaged by termites. I paid for the restoration of the pipe out-of-pocket but cannot afford to pay anymore additional repairs. I explained this to them; to which they replied, "you can cash out and get another estimate." I told them that I needed to get further guidance. They said they would get back to me and left. I have not heard from them, and now I have one wall and part of the floor in my living room exposed. What are my options?Read More

Broken Water Pipes from the Big Freeze “Polar Vortex” What a National Mess!

Broken Water Pipes from the Big Freeze “Polar Vortex” What a National Mess!

Yesterday, I was on a flight to sunny South Florida to meet with a client, and ran into a large loss adjuster who works for one of the major insurance carriers heading the same way. When you meet a fellow adjuster or colleagues who are in the business, usually the first question is to ask if you are busy. This seasoned adjuster side tells me the claims are rolling in from the areas that were affected in the big freeze caused by the “polar vortex” last week. It seems his company is so overwhelmed, that they have staffed call centers with independent adjusters just to handle the call volume.

 

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Policyholder Question on Ceiling Collapse Insurance Claim

Q. We own a home that was built in 1964. Last Saturday our family room ceiling collapsed. There does not appear to be any moisture. The insurance company is telling us it’s normal wear and tear, the insulation was too heavy and thus the damage is not covered. There are no cracks in the ceiling, no sagging and our home is well maintained. Any thoughts on the cause? Our roof was replaced in May of 2010.Read More

Tell Them You are Going to Hire a Public Adjuster

Ran into an old friend and his wife at a restaurant we both frequent the other night. Bob is a property manager and my firm has not only represented his family but also some of the properties he has managed over the years.  I had not seen him for a few weeks and he reminded me of his call to me some weeks back about a water leak in his home. It seems the shower pan had given out and when the leak finally showed up, the damage was pretty extensive. He called his insurance agent who told him the water damage would not be covered due to the language the insurance lobbyists had recently pushed through about water damage that is over 14 days old.

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