By James H. Bushart
Hail damage to a roof is a common occurrence and damage is often and routinely repaired at the expense of insurance companies.
For some insurance adjusters delaying, denying and defending a claim is also routine and are the three main strategies used to promote the financial interests of the insurance carrier at the expense of the insured.
As a part of this strategy when delaying, denying or defending a claim filed for hail damage to a roof, many claims adjusters (after making their own inspection and declaring that there is no damage to the roof) will arrange to provide an insured homeowner with a “special service” by having an engineer evaluate the roof for damage, as well.
Evaluating the condition of a roof covering does not require an engineering background, but it does impress many people to see an engineer’s seal and signature under an observation. While making an effort to appear to be objective, and while still fully aware that future referrals and fees are at stake, the hired engineer will sometimes seek ways to confirm the initial finding made by the adjuster.
Here is one of the methods used to minimize observed hail damage to a roof while appearing to be objective and “scientific”.
In spite of the damage that is visible to the naked eye many engineer reports that have been used by insurance companies to deny claims that I have personally read will refer to an opinion that a “rate of acceleration” and “velocity” of the hail strikes were insufficient to cause “significant” damage to the roof coverings.
Sounds like some real indisputable engineering stuff, doesn’t it? At least, it does until one considers the following:
1. The storm has passed by the time the adjuster and engineer have examined the roof.
2. “Terminal velocity”, or the maximum speed reached by a falling object, is measured by a mathematical formula that takes into account the size of the hailstone and the high winds and gusts that can accelerate the speed of the hailstone.
3. The actual size of each hailstone that struck the roof … and the speed of the wind and gusts that drove the hailstone into the roof … cannot be determined by simply looking at the roof days, weeks, months or years after a storm.
4. Remarks that appear in the engineer’s report that address the sufficiency of the “velocity” or “rate of acceleration” to cause damage is pure speculation. The fact that it is being “speculated” by an engineer does not make it more than speculation. It is not factual.
The physical evidence of hail damage will speak for itself. Speculations as to velocity and acceleration that are provided from observations made days, weeks or months after the event are not factual and should not be allowed to be used to deny a claim in the presence of actual damage.
If you find references to “velocity” and/or “rate of acceleration” in any engineer’s report that supports your insurance company’s denial of your claim for roof damage caused by hail, request in writing that you be provided with the factors and formula(s) used to calculate these rates. Also, ask for the source of the data used to determine the size of the hailstones and the speed of the wind and gusts that drove the hailstones into your roof.
For more information about how some insurance companies use engineer reports to routinely deny valid claims, click on the following link and read: https://missouripublicadjuster.org/2017/03/09/fraudulent-engineer-reports-and-your-homeowners-insurance-claim/
Copyright 2012 James H. Bushart
As is often the case following such damaging events as the recent storms in the Northeastern section of the United States from yesterday, hundreds of thousands of home and business owners will awaken and begin to discover the realities of their insurance contracts … those conditions and exclusions that are written into their insurance polices that, like landmines, often impede their steps toward restoring that part of their lives that has to do with their property damage and loss.
Believe it or not, thousands of home owners with their houses under water brought in by the sea or overflowing river banks will only — today — discover that flooding is not a covered peril under their insurance policies. With all or most of their personal property missing or destroyed, providing proof of their losses will appear to be impossible.
Because the burden is on the insured to “prove” his loss and most are not totally aware of their rights or the process of proving their insurance claims, many will accept lower settlements or denials that will unnecessarily add to the burdens that they already are forced to endure.
Some “storm chasing” public adjusters from all over the country will soon be descending upon the area to help people with their insurance claims to help home and business owners contend with the wave of adjusters sent by the insurance companies to protect their financial interests … and while many of them will actually be helpful, the shock and the awe of the recent disaster still hangs over its victims like a dark cloud and not all of their choices during this period will be, upon later reflection, “good” choices.
Prudent home and business owners throughout the country can benefit from this lesson and take the opportunity — today — to meet with a public adjuster close to their home. Get to know him and discuss your insurance contracts with him. Let him show you what they do and do not cover, what your immediate steps should be following a loss and how to protect yourself from actions that could nullify or reduce the amount of your claim.
Public adjusters do not work for insurance companies and can help you through the process of proving your claim … even before it happens … so that you can concentrate on more important things that you will certainly face during a personal property disaster.
It is also important to note that, if you try to handle your claim on your own and are unsatisfied with the results, a local public adjuster can review your claim and reopen it to address a wrongful denial or underpayment.
Take the time, today, to find a local public adjuster who will be there for you when you need him the most.
By James H. Bushart
Insurance adjusters hired by insurance companies will often deny legitimate home or business owner claims for property loss … or underpay them. The chances are great that you are, or know, someone that this has happened to.
Until they have experienced the process, most folks believe that when they suffer an insurable loss to their home or business, all they need to do is contact their insurance company and someone runs out right away with a check to cover all that they need. They are shocked to learn that, in the middle of their crisis, they are called upon to focus their attention on “proving” their loss while navigating a mine field of conditions and exclusions that often (and mistakenly) result in disappointment.
Public Adjusters do not work for insurance companies. Instead, they work for insured home and business owners who benefit from assistance in negotiating their claim.It is important to know that … when the dust has settled and you are ready to address the disappointing shortfall … a review of your claim by a licensed Public Adjuster can be your best choice.
I am a Public Adjuster and I offer free consultations to Missouri home and business owners who want to inquire about their past claims and the possibility of recovering money that is owed to them under their insurance policy. Many other Public Adjusters in other states offer the same service.
Remember that, when it comes to your insurance company, the first offer is usually the lowest and that “No” does not mean “forever”.
For more information, visit www.publicadjustermissouri.com or call me at 314-803-2167.
It’s your money.
When your home has been partially or totally destroyed from a peril covered by your insurance contract or policy, you have the right to expect to receive financial support from the insurer toward restoring your home to the condition that it was prior to the loss.
The only fair amount that an insurance company should pay for loss to real property (and that an insured should expect to be paid) is the cost for repair and restoration work that the specialists who undertake the project agree to work for. Sometimes, insurance contracts will allow for reasonable depreciation … but the figure from which the depreciation is made or settlement is awarded should be the actual cost of restoring the property and not an arbitrary estimated amount.
Sometimes, their adjusters who work on their behalf will encourage home owners to agree to settlements that will provide less than what they are entitled to and that can appear to be reasonable … but are not.
For instance, many insurance company adjusters will rely upon and use computer software or publications that claim to represent costs for various incidents, materials and tasks and that are periodically updated by telephone surveys. The errant suggested costs from these computer programs are what the insurance company’s adjusters will often use to base their settlement offers.
These estimating applications are often incomplete, inaccurate and unreliable and will likely be used to represent the company’s first offer of settlement. Unsuspecting home owners will feel obligated to accept these lowball offers … particularly when they are in a hurry for cash.
Sometimes, the insurance company will hire retired or former contractors and will pay them to provide “estimates” for repairing or restoring the home. Many of these folks have not been directly involved with the actual repair or restoration process for many years and lack current knowledge of material costs and procedures. They are also unlikely to be the professionals who are going to be performing the actual work. Additionally, being paid by the insurance company for their bid and their future referrals provides some of these folks with an incentive to provide low and unrealistic “estimates”.
Sometimes the insurer will offer a lump sum “cash out” that will (with quick and fast money) provide the home owner with the enticement to accept a fast settlement that will provide less than the required amount to fully restore their home to the original condition. The idea of lower payments for “do-it-yourself” repair work provides the insurer with a lower payment while leaving the home owner on his own to seek and use lower quality and cheaper materials, inexperienced labor and with no warranty on the final work. This is never a good idea.
Remember, the only fair fair amount that an insurance company should pay (and that you should accept) is the price for repair and restoration work that the specialists who undertake the project agree to work for.
If you feel that you have been underpaid for a recent claim and you live in the State of Missouri, contact me. I will be happy to review your claim and let you know if there are additional steps that can be taken to assist you in receiving all that you are entitled to from your insurance company as a result of your loss.
Copyright 2012 James H. Bushart
Take five minutes to learn more about how to avoid “leaving money on the table” when filing a claim with your insurance company for a loss under your business or home owner policy.
Perhaps you’ve already filed your claim and received a lowball settlement that cannot possibly repair all of the damage to your Missouri property.
If there is money still owed to you by your insurer, I can help you by re-opening your insurance claim and negotiating a fair settlement.
My objective with the adjustment negotiations for your insurance company is a final agreement upon the maximum amount of money that you are entitled to receive under the terms and conditions of the insurance covering the loss. This amount should coincide with the liability of the insurance company … meaning that, while an insured loss should not result in more than what it would take to restore you to your pre-loss condition, neither should it result in a payment of less.
The claim reopening process will begin with a review all the background documentation and your policy to determine if you were underpaid. If you were underpaid and wish to hire me, I will contact your insurer and attempt to negotiate a fair settlement with them. Sometimes, their “No” is simply a request for more information.
It costs you nothing to see if I can help you and if you do not recover additional money, you owe me nothing.
If your insured property is not located in Missouri, seek a public adjuster licensed in your state.