A New Hampshire-based lumber company which sells reclaimed wood and other wood products, lost its extensive showroom and production facility in a devastating fire. Most of the contents were completely destroyed, which made it challenging to inventory everything that was in the building prior to the fire.
Total losses are harder to adjust than partial losses, because it is difficult to document and to prove what was there. Books and records seldom list all of the building’s items and their values.
However, there were a number of factors that helped the company recover quickly from this disaster:
• an insurance agent who wrote an excellent insurance policy;
• an insurance company adjuster who was sympathetic to the company’s needs; and
• a resilient owner who moved quickly to rebuild the manufacturing facility in another building, and to reconstruct the damaged building in record time.
PLA spent a great deal of time working with the business owner—in more than 25 meetings—to prove the extent of the loss.
One important aspect of the insurance claim was to determine the cost to prepare the various 3’4” x 4’ sample boards of reclaimed wood that the company used to display the various species of wood it sold.
The insurance company could not understand why it took so much time and labor to select the wood, and assemble and finish each sample board. The lumber company takes a great deal of time and effort to prepare each board because this small sample will be representative of a room-size floor and scrutinized for its quality and appearance.
In order to prove our claim, PLA took the novel approach of videotaping the process from start to finish. We then broke down each step in a time line, illustrating how some steps—such as selection and inspection—involved several people at the same time. We then provided a document showing man-hours, labor and material costs. This, in conjunction with the video, showed that the lumber company was correct in its calculations, thus the insurance company paid the claim.
The lumber company has now fully recovered, and is back up and running in a new 25,000-square-foot showroom and drive-through retail building.