This article features a case study of a claim handled by a member of the Professional Loss Adjusters’ team. Together, our adjusters have more than 225 years of experience handling insurance claims. Our team is here to help you. Call us.
Why call us as soon as a loss occurs? Getting a quick start on working with us avoids costly delays in the restoration and claims process. Most importantly, each state has a statute of limitations on claims, meaning that a claim must be completed within a specific time frame in order for the insured to receive compensation on depreciation. This can be a significant amount of money, depending on the age and original condition of your property. The sooner we get involved in your claim, the higher the likelihood that you will be able to recover all the monies you’re entitled to within that time frame.
Take the case of one residential customer with a significant ice dam claim on his nearly 200-year-old home. The homeowner reached out to us 20 months after the loss occurred. He had been trying to resolve this on his own, as he didn’t know that hiring a licensed public adjuster was an option until someone referred him to us.
There was damage throughout the house, multiple rooms and the roof, necessitating that the owners move to a temporary location while the majority of their home was gutted. To make things more complicated, due to the age of the property there were significant code, insulation and electrical updates required to make the property whole.
We needed to first get an extension on the claim’s statute of limitations, given that it would run out well before the damage to the property could be repaired. We were able to do so after a tough battle. We then got a local, independent adjuster assigned to the claim which had been previously handled by an out-of-state Catastrophe (“Cat”) adjuster brought in by the insurance company to help adjust the vast number of ice dam claims in 2015, the year the loss occurred. We worked with both the insurance company’s local adjuster and their building expert, as well as the client’s contractor to hammer out a reasonable cost to repair the property.
The insureds had to live elsewhere for six to eight months, while the repairs and code upgrades were completed. The insured recovered all the monies they were entitled to on their policy and were able to make the necessary repairs so they could return to the quiet enjoyment of their home.
During that time, we were able to work with their insurance company to increase the dollar amount offered from $6,000 to $265,000. While that is an extraordinary amount over and above the original offer, this must be viewed in its proper context: the original offer was made by a “Cat” adjuster who did not have the time or tools to properly assess the damage to the property. “Cat” adjusters from all over the country fly to an area that has been hard hit by a natural disaster such as tornados, hurricanes, and in the case of the winter of 2015 in the Northeast, extraordinary snowfall. They are given ninety claims on their first day and told to “write what they see.” Much of the damage in this loss which drove up the settlement amount was not visible until demolition started on the property. By that time, the original insurance company “Cat” adjuster had moved on to another claim at another location.
Our insureds were extraordinarily lucky. Most people who contact us so late after a claim occurs are not as fortunate. In the majority of those cases, the biggest problem we face is finding evidence to prove the claim. Sometimes the evidence has been destroyed or thrown away. Often no one thinks to take photos or otherwise document the loss. As a matter of course, we always do everything possible to document a loss for our insureds.
When you have a claim, call us first. Together we can advise you how best to proceed to solve your personal situation.