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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Public Adjuster Uses Good Property Insurance Adjusting Practices to Win a Fair Claim Settlement for Condominium Owners

Public Adjuster Uses Good Property Insurance Adjusting Practices to Win a Fair Claim Settlement for Condominium Owners

Ken and Joan spent their working lives in public service, Ken as an educator, and Joan as a nurse. It was their dream to have a vacation home in a warm climate so they purchased a condominium in Bonita Springs, Florida. A contractor error caused a pipe break in a unit above theirs and entirely flooded their home with hundreds of gallons of water. They were notified and drove down to Florida to inspect the damage and meet with their insurance company. That’s when the insurance claim problems began.

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Reviewing the Insurance Policy for Sarasota, Florida Policyholder Results in a Favorable Claim Settlement

Reviewing the Insurance Policy for Sarasota, Florida Policyholder Results in a Favorable Claim Settlement

Some months back I received a call from a physician who was referred to me by an engineering firm we had worked with on a large project in Longboat Key, Florida that resulted in a multi-million dollar settlement. Not only was the client pleased with our work, but their engineer apparently was equally impressed given the kind words he shared with this physician about our work and the results we were able to achieve with previous claim. During my initial discussion with the physician on the phone, I told him it was unlikely we could prevail on his insurance claim based on the damages he described to me. The insurance industry had changed most policies to take away coverage that was previously available for what sounded to me like a collapse claim.  

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The Wall Street Journal Claims Legal Abuse by Florida’s Trial Bar Related to Insurance Claim Water Losses Contributes to Increased Property Insurance Rates

The Wall Street Journal Claims Legal Abuse by Florida’s Trial Bar Related to Insurance Claim Water Losses Contributes to Increased Property Insurance Rates

In case you missed it, The Wall Street Journal published March 15, 2017 had an article in the editorial section titled “Florida’s Trial Bar Hurricane.” I think most folks who are regular readers of WSJ would agree that the publication is no friend of plaintiff lawyers, so at least we know they are prejudiced to some extent and thus know where they are coming from. But in this case, I see no prejudice but instead good reporting. They make some excellent points, which seemingly are backed up by facts and figures even if they are from the carrier’s side. In my opinion this editorial piece is a good analysis of Florida’s current AOB problem, which is currently being debated in the 2017 Florida Legislative session.

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AOB SOB

AOB SOB

“Well, I’ll be damned!”

These were the first words that came out of my mouth when I read an article reporting on a speech that Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater gave at a recent insurance conference attended by Florida property insurance executives. Then another “I’ll be damned” came out when I read an internet posting of efforts being made by the Florida’s new Insurance Commissioner to crack down on Assignment of Benefits a.k.a. AOB abuse and new legislation being prepared for this year’s legislative session which convenes in March.
 
But first some background on what prompted my shock and awe.  

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Policyholder Question – Refusal to Pay Insurance Claim and Withholding Appraisal Award Check

Policyholder Question – Refusal to Pay Insurance Claim and Withholding Appraisal Award Check

The following is an insurance claim question we answered for a policyholder through the United Policyholders Ask an Expert Forum

Q. I live in Florida and have had an extensive water damage/mold claim that I hired a public adjuster to handle. The insurance company invoked appraisal and the out-of-state umpire determined that mold was accountable for $15,000 of damage although our mold remediation bill totaled $9,500 (we have a mold cap of $10,000 per claim). Secondly, the bathroom tile floor was damaged during remediation and was included as part of the umpire's award. However, the insurance company is refusing to pay the $4,300 floor tile repair portion of the award stating that I must abrogate against the mold remediation company to recoup that loss. Third, my public adjuster is holding the check issued by the insurance company hostage, insisting that I pay his fee prior to endorsing it over to the mortgage company. Please help!.....click to see answer.

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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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Policyholder Question - Flooded Condominium

Here is a question we were happy to answer as part of the expert panel for United Policyholders.

Q. My condo flooded from the unit above me caused by a leaking pipe. I have flood insurance and no homeowner insurance. Damage from water and mold is extensive. Do I need an attorney? I have been trying to work with the condo association property management and the above unit's insurance adjusters. I am getting no answers as to who pays for damages to what areas. It has been two weeks. Loss has occurred in Florida and I live in Utah. I am keeping a journal and have begun cleanup and dry out procedures after pipe repair to stop water leak. Click to see read the answer.

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Florida Property Insurance - Good News or Bad News - You Decide

Florida Property Insurance - Good News or Bad News - You Decide

I read with a great deal of interest comments that were made by the big chiefs at a hearing held by the Office of Insurance Regulation in Tallahassee concerning the rate request Citizens Insurance Company was asking for in the South Florida market. In my view the back-and-forth discussion that took place on August 25 is newsworthy as are some of the back-story items not covered or published. Here is a link from the Insurance Journal that reported on the August 25th hearing. 

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Tampa Bay Residents Wait on FEMA

Tampa Bay Residents Wait on FEMA

FEMA inspected flood damage on Thursday and Friday to determine if the Tampa Bay area will qualify for Federal Flood Damage Assistance. It appears the magic number is that damage must total $26 million statewide.  In the meantime, home and business owners can’t simply wait and hope for assistance and need to both document their losses and do the best they can to mitigate any further damage. If assistance does come, it’s never too early to educate yourself about FEMA’s Assistance program. Here are some valuable links to help you recover and understand FEMA’s process.

Flood Recovery

FEMA Individual Assistance

Check FEMA Disaster Assistance Qualification

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