Hurricane Damage is composed of multiple elements. A quick partial list includes the actual loss, the code loss (damages due to the need to comply with new code requirements to rebuild, typically flood and wind related), loss of business income, tax loss, SBA/FEMA justification to participate in programs. These damages are covered by different forms of insurance and government programs, including the tax code.
The first step in addressing damage is to determine the types of damage and their extent, which is dealt with during the adjusting phase. The second is to determine where coverage may be obtained. Historically, there is a 385% average increase in the value of the claim where the property owner has their own attorney/adjuster team.
The cost of this initial team may be only 10-15%, so it has a very low cost to result yield. A larger fee is associated with post-offer claims, which is largely due to the difficulty in convincing the insurance company that their original estimate is too low. While the same historical increases are seen, it takes much longer and often involves litigation, which will inevitably require legal counsel. For large claims, it is important to have the claim adjusted before the insurance company takes the position that their original estimate is correct.
What are the deadlines and do they apply? While the 60-day filing deadline “may” be waived, voluntary and legally uncertain waivers should not be relied upon too heavily. There is no waiver for the statute of limitations applicable to filing suit, so having an attorney involved early is critical to ensuring deadlines are not missed. If you believe you will need a FEMA/SBA loan as a result of insurable losses, it is critical to learn the requirements of the process, maintaining records, getting bids and the like.
Why are insurance appraisals too low? While bad faith conduct or out-of-date software do occur, these are not the primary reasons. These catastrophic events burden the entire insurance industry, particularly where there are multiple storms in one year. As a result, claim adjusters are brought in from remote locations, are often poorly trained, overburdened and uniformed about local building codes.
If you have a larger claim, you need to strongly consider having your own experienced adjuster team, which should lead you to getting a better, quicker result. You will be able to obtain consultation on the broader range of issues.
What if I have questions about coverage? Your adjusters, engineers and attorneys can better define the issues and present the client’s position which an insurance adjuster may flat out ignore.
Our mission is to provide superior settlement results while delivering quality customer service through our proven claims adjustment process. Our team has worked with many different mass disasters including the BP Oil Spill and prior hurricanes, such as Katrina in 2005.
If you’ve experienced property damage and plan to file a claim, do you know what your claim is worth? If being treated fairly, getting paid quickly, and being advised of your full range of options have a storm are important to you and you are interested in taking advantage, please contact us.
If you have a smaller claim, we still may be able to provide assistance, so feel free to reach out if you believe you need representation. No claim is less important than the next!
What do attorneys and adjusters do? We provide a team of Attorneys and Adjusters. The attorneys are advisors and advocates. The attorney’s job, once a fee agreement is executed, is to make sure your insurance claim is protected by adjustment, appraisal and if necessary and desirable through filing a lawsuit.
The “adjuster” is the person that determines the amount of money you should receive for your property damage. But our team does more. Our adjusters put together professional claims packages, review with counsel insurance policies, and negotiate with the insurers to try to get an agreement that is acceptable to the insured.
According to a recent OPAGGA (Office of Program and Policy Analysis & Government Accountability) study in the State of Florida showed that public adjusters negotiate up to 747% larger insurance company settlement for commercial business and home owner insurance property loss claims than the insurance company was planning to pay out.
What is your part? First and foremost, we cannot represent you without a signed representation agreement. We can furnish this upon request, however, we need to look over the damage to your properties. Second, we’ll need copies of policies. We need to know who your agents and insurers are. That is all we need, initially.
Once we have this information what do we do? (1) Review your policy coverage to determine the benefits you are entitled to. (2) Inform you of additional legal issues you should consider. (3) Inspect the loss immediately and thoroughly document your damages. (4) Properly file your claim with your insurance company (5) Prepare inventories (6) Determine business loss (this may require we review accounting records including tax returns) (7) Business Interruption, Loss of Rents, Loss of Use, or Additional Living Expenses (8) Detailed Scope of work to repair, rebuild, re-code, restore your property. (9) We can also provide assets to help: mitigate the loss which is a policy requirement
After you claim is filed we act as your claims consultant and coordinator throughout the process.
Are there other legal issues? A plethora of legal issues can arise besides property damage and we can assist you in this regard. Perhaps a class action related to the claim has been filed. We can negotiate your way through that process and determine whether you need to be in or out of the class action.
What if you already have counsel? We work with existing counsel to the extent they agree that professional adjusting of claims is warranted.
In the event you have any other questions in connection with this please let us know and please understand that unless we specifically take on a specific case with a letter of representation, there is no established attorney-client relationship and we have not agreed to take on representation.