On Property Insurance Claim Tips Blog

Tampa Flood Victims Need to Educate Themselves About Water Restoration Work – Be Careful What you Sign!

Tampa Flood Victims Need to Educate Themselves About Water Restoration Work – Be Careful What you Sign!
As Tampa area businesses and homeowners deal with the serious flood and water damage, they will need the help of a water restoration firm to clean-up and dry out their property. Once local authorities give the all clear and it’s safe to return, mitigation efforts should be started immediately to avoid further damage or mold issues. If insured for the loss, you will find that most insurance policies require that you take reasonable and necessary measures to protect and preserve your property from further damage. This can be a difficult and challenging undertaking that requires decisions often involving a great deal of money at a time when your insurance adjuster may not have seen your loss or given the OK to start the dry-out or restoration process. Our recommendation is to hire the restoration company to do the drying and clean-up work only. You can then get quotes for reconstruction once things are sorted out with your insurance company. If possible, have the restoration company give you the scope of work and pricing in writing and then give it to the insurance adjuster or send it the insurance company for their approval. If possible, schedule a meeting at the site with all parties present. If this is not practical, make sure you take pictures of the damage and document all expenses for your insurance company. If you don’t document your damages, the insurance adjuster may not include it in the damage assessment. Read More

Tampa Flood Victims Need to Understand the Nuances of Flood Insurance

Tampa Flood Victims Need to Understand the Nuances of Flood Insurance

For those who do have 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 (as was the case with Superstorm Sandy) the claim may be denied in total for failure to comply with the policy terms and conditions. 

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Additional Living Expenses Explained for Tampa Flood Homeowners

Additional Living Expenses Explained for Tampa Flood Homeowners
If your home was severely damaged from the recent Tampa Bay flooding to the extent that it is uninhabitable to live in, your insurance policy may provide a coverage called “Additional Living Expense” or “A.L.E.” Under the Additional Living Expense coverage, you and your family may be entitled to rent another home of the same size, like kind and quality as well as be reimbursed for any extra expenses you may incur such as food and temporary lodging.Read More

Ten Insurance Claim Mistakes Tampa Bay Flood Victims Should Avoid

Ten Insurance Claim Mistakes Tampa Bay Flood Victims Should Avoid
The no name storm in Tampa has caused widespread water and flood damage in the St. Petersburg and Tampa area. Now that cleanup has begun, many residential and commercial policyholders will submit either a flood (if you have flood insurance) or water damage insurance claim. Make sure you understand the difference between the two before you file. The public adjusters at Tutwiler & Associates urge policyholders to take the proper steps to protect their claim and avoid settlement problems with the following 10 tips.Read More

Water Damage Insurance Claims – Do You Think You’re Fully Covered?

Water Damage Insurance Claims – Do You Think You’re Fully Covered?
Water losses are by far the most frequent claims reported to the insurance industry. I suspect water losses are also the most frequent perils that impact property owners. Since many are not reported however, we really have no accurate data to determine the full scope of damages that water causes notwithstanding the CLUE reports (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) that are filed for reported claims. Yes, both you and your claim data are being stored and indexed by big brother insurance. Who would have thought with all the privacy concerns that your prior property loss information is stored and shared! With flooding everywhere in the southeast and especially Florida and the Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg area due to a stagnant weather low system, it seems timely to cover a few of the issues policyholders are facing with water losses and their insurance claims.Read More

The Policyholder Strikes Back After Poor Winter Storm Insurance Claim Practices

The Policyholder Strikes Back After Poor Winter Storm Insurance Claim Practices

Last week, I was interviewed by Deirdre Fernandes  who covers the insurance industry for the Boston Globe. Her story   Pricey car insurance policies test consumers     discussed how more policyholders were likely to shop around for both home and auto insurance after the brutal winter left many homeowners disillusioned with their claim settlements and the coverage increases the insurance firms are trying to push through. What’s amazing is how few homeowners shop for the best rates. We handled many winter storm claims in and around Boston and I can tell you many of our clients are now shopping for new policies due to the push back and negative experience they had with insurers some had been paying premiums to for many years. In many cases, these insurers failed their moment of truth. Instead of trying to make their policyholders whole, their adjusters instead looked for technical loopholes to minimize the payouts. The policyholder will have the last say in the matter when they walk away and look for a new carrier.

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Winter Storm Claim Adjusting Practices Leave Much to Be Desired

Winter Storm Claim Adjusting Practices Leave Much to Be Desired
As we continue to help our clients who experienced winter storm damage, settle their insurance claims, we are learning more and more about insurance company claim practices and procedures, some which is quite troubling. This winter in the northeast, we endured some grueling battles with insurance companies which I will detail below. No doubt, insurance is a for-profit business and no business likes to lose money.  We also understand that one can’t generalize one company’s behavior to all insurance companies as they all have their own standards of practice. And like other public adjusters in our industry, there are good apples and there are a few bad that can taint the entire profession. Read More

Surplus Lines Insurance Claims - Your Coverage May be an Illusion

Surplus Lines Insurance Claims - Your Coverage May be an Illusion

A few years ago I was invited to speak at a conference of insurance professionals in Rhode Island.  My topic was surplus lines insurance which at that time was a very hot topic, at least in Florida as there was a pending Florida Supreme Court case that had it turned out different, could have changed the surplus market insurance scheme in a big way.  As it turned out due to the Court’s ruling, the surplus lines carriers preserved their unique market position and the world in this insurance community did not stop or even wobble. Having been retained recently on a couple of large commercial fire losses and getting reacquainted with some of the nuances of surplus lines, I thought now would be a good time to revisit this unique line of coverage with a couple of case studies that hopefully will shed light on some of the practical problems for policyholders if they happen to be insured by a surplus lines carrier.

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Lightning Damage and Your Property Insurance Claim

Lightning Damage and Your Property Insurance Claim
Summer is the time of the year when lightning can cause severe damage or even destroy your property. No surprises to folks in Florida, as they know we are widely regarded as the lightning capital of the U.S.  The raising heat over the Florida peninsula pulling in the cooler sea breeze later in the day often creates spectacular lightning shows followed by out of this world thunder claps. The results of these storms can be manifested in two ways, both bad. The first is life, health, and safety issues and the other is property damage resulting from lighting strikes that cause fires to buildings and destroy personal and business property. The insurance claims that follow can get quite complicated. Read More