Commercial Structural Damage

Types of Common Commercial Structural Damage

Commercial Structural Damage Claims Must Be Repaired Properly

How can a public adjuster help me with a commercial structural damage issue?

 

The claim documentation for commercial structural damage is created using a software program, requiring detailed effort. It is referred to as a Scope.  The scope of repairs is done while the structure is not in an easy condition to document.  Much of the structure has to be recreated without seeing what was there prior to the fire or water loss.  The local planning commission or original contractor can be helpful, as can interviews with the owner of the property.  Local ordinances may also play a role in determining part of your settlement.  The worst case scenario is that even when the items are agreed to, the price to restore each line item may be argued.

 

Over the course of our adjusting process Concordia’s Sr. Claims Managers physically inspect a loss in great detail many times, with two employees. Concordia Claims Managers works with all entities involved, including engineers and code enforcement officials to gain understanding of the damage and dollars required to properly repair your building.  Our intimate knowledge of your loss is crucial in settling your claim properly so that you have enough to rebuild your structure and pay your contractor.

 

Should I call a contractor or engineer first?

 

The first thing you should do is consult a Concordia Sr. Claims Manager to establish the insurance coverage you have in place, as well as the value of your damages.  With this information known, your Sr. Claims Manager can help you identify, negotiate

and bid the project to the most qualified contractors.

 

Concordia Claims Managers, working with many different contractors, engineers and architects, can successfully manage the different trades working on your structure claim.

 

While a restoration contractor can be helpful during mitigation, emergency services and as even as an additional source of support for their clients’ needs, contractors have no authority to advocate for the insured to the insurance company.  Even worse, without the professional representation Concordia Claims Managers provides, the recovery process can be delayed by the insurance company… interrupting the claim for any number of reasons.

 

COLLAPSE

 
I have a Collapse claim. What should I do?

Be very careful. Commercial claims are complicated and can be denied on the basis of any number of technicalities. The insurance company may want to blame the collapse on a contractor or builder defect.  Let one of our Concordia Sr. Claims Managers counsel you and professionally speak to your insurance company.  There may be multiple reasons for a collapse and we have access to the experts that can get to the bottom of the loss for you.

How is a public adjuster going to be able to help me with this type of loss?

Describing what happened during the loss and why it occurred is just as important as documenting the actual loss metrics.  Do not posture about what may have caused the loss until we have the facts and opinions of collapse experts.  We will review your policy so we may properly notify the insurance company of the actual reason for filing a claim.

What mistakes do policyholders make with this type of loss?

The most common mistake is to speak to your insurance company about what you “think” happened. This will result in filing incorrect statements that cannot be taken back once they are made.  Many denials occur as a result of what was mis-spoken during the first call to the insurance company.  The policyholder can’t possibly recognize the insurance language at the point of initial contact and should meet with a Concordia Sr. Claims Manager first.

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EARTHQUAKE

I have an earthquake claim. What should I do?

 

Call Concordia Claims Managers first and let one of our trained Sr. Claims Adjusters evaluate your policy, review your loss and location to determine how to best proceed with your claim.

There are specific laws governing when you may purchase or make changes to earthquake coverage.  Have our professionals review your rights as a policyholder.

How is a public adjuster going to be able to help me with this type of loss?

 

These are highly technical claims. Allow a Concordia Sr. Claims Manager to represent your best interest. Your insurance company will investigate your claim, and our Sr. Claims Manager will properly assess the loss and reasons for loss, documenting and presenting your claim to the insurance company.  Having the claim handled professionally from the beginning will save many troubles throughout the claim.

What mistakes do policyholders make with this type of loss?

 

Policyholders speak to insurance companies without thinking about their statements from a legal, contractual perspective.  Don’t just trust the insurance company’s TV commercials.  You’re dealing with contract matters now, against the smartest, wealthiest, and most legally-equipped entity in the world.  Some insurance firms will look for the smallest technicality to justify denying this type of claim.  Are you prepared to take that chance by facing them by yourself?

FIRE & SMOKE

 
I have a fire & smoke claim. What should I do?

You should first secure your employees and business, then call Concordia Claims Managers and wait for help to arrive. We are on call 24/7.

A great reason to have a Concordia Sr. Claims Manager on your claim immediately is that ultimately, the policyholder is responsible for signing contracts.  This includes contracts with the many companies that will be sent out to assist with emergency repairs and contents restoration.  Policyholders believe the insurance will automatically pay for these services.  While it’s true that the insurance company will pay for repairs and restoration directly associated with your loss, they do not sign contracts with the companies they send to help you, the policyholder. Your rights need to be protected when signing these contracts; otherwise you may become liable for bills and payments that are not paid by your insurance company. By engaging Concordia Claims Managers from the start, we can ensure that you will not be out-of-pocket for any charges or services.

How is a public adjuster going to be able to help me with a fire loss?

Commercial fire losses and their insurance claims can be complicated. Did you know that as the policyholder you have to prove to the insurance company what you had in your business prior to the loss?  Our skilled Personal and Business Property professionals set the industry standard for recording lost inventories. They will help you accurately catalog your business’ vast amount of assets.  It isn’t unusual for us to inventory businesses containing tens of thousands of items.

 

In addition, your insurance company may investigate your loss for arson and possible subrogation. We take your rights seriously and protect your interests during these investigations.

We take charge of your claim so your life won’t be interrupted and immediately take action to get you back in business. Your first priority is protecting your assets and employees.  Your Concordia Sr. Claims Manager will assist in arranging temporary operating space and necessary equipment that your operations require.

Proving smoke damage can be difficult and may need to be negotiated with the insurance company. The Smoke Damage residue in your business comes from the worst things that burned: metal, plastics, computer chips, glass… possibly even asbestos… all of these things are now in the air and on your walls and property. Would you like to have those items and walls cleaned or replaced? Remember that both parties to the insurance contract have rights. Concordia Claims Managers will protect your interests throughout your entire claims process.

The important thing is to negotiate a fair settlement for you, one that will return your property to its original condition.

What mistakes do policyholders make with this type of loss?

Many policyholders think they are automatically covered for every aspect of their loss. You may not be as covered as you think.  Even with full replacement value policies, the contract you have with the insurance company still allows for depreciation.  Documentation and recovery within the language of the policy takes an experienced professional.  These details can be very difficult to understand and even more difficult to prove on your own.  Call Concordia Claims Managers and allow us to advocate for your recovery.

What if the restoration company wants to haul all my assets away?

Don’t allow any restoration company or any person to remove your assets until one of Concordia’s Sr. Claims Managers assesses the situation.  Some important questions you must ask are: How much will they charge? Where will they take your business property assets? Has the insurance company approved the restoration company’s work? How can the insurance company prove it was actually in your place of business during a fire once those items are removed? If the company sent by your insurance company is removing items, what is their intention? Are they concerned with making you whole, or are they running up expenses by cleaning total loss contents for their own profit? This will reduce your replacement monies!

 

Disrupting a fire scene could create the suspicion of covering up arson.  Welcome to the world of Examination Under Oath!  Restoration companies will not help you after their over-zealous actions somehow cause you to be investigated.  They may even hold your business property ransom until you pay them.  A Concordia Sr. Claims Manager can help avoid these problem situations when you work with them from the beginning.

Should I clean or replace?

Certain items such as electronics really can’t be cleaned and other materials will continue to reek of smoke. At best, the odor will only be temporarily masked by chemicals. Worse, additional charges for cleaning can take away valuable dollars from your ability to replace the business assets you owned. Replacement monies typically equal dollars in your pocket.  Would you rather have a new office chair or a “cleaned” smoke-filled one?

Considering your insurer has engaged experts to represent their interests, shouldn’t you consider having professional assistance that keeps your best interest in mind?  Give us a call any time of the day 877.572.4411 or contact us and let us help get you started on the correct path to getting your life back together.

 

FLOOD

 
I have a flood claim. What should I do?

A Concordia Sr. Claims Manager will review your flood coverage and present you with your options. Once you understand this, contact your insurance company.

What do I need to know about National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)?

This is a federal insurance program. The NFIP:

  • Does NOT provide for additional living expenses

  • Will pay board-up and emergency services

  • Will pay for 30 days to move away from the danger area

  • Will pay for security of the site (such as sand bags, etc.) to protect the property

 

How is a public adjuster going to be able to help me with my flood loss?

Upon arrival your Concordia Sr. Claims Manager will advocate for your benefits, prepare the loss description and properly document your loss. This gives you the best chance for a fair settlement. Most water claims serviced by the insurance company allow for you to relocate your business immediately after the peril and during repairs.  Your benefits may also allow for Business Interruption and Extra Expense. We will assist you in determining what benefits you should access during your recovery.

The areas affected can be disputed by the insurance company or NFIP as well.  These items may include partial loss of flooring or cabinets.  Determining what should be replaced or salvaged are questions a Concordia Sr. Claims Manager can answer for your long-term benefit.

What mistakes do policyholders make with this type of loss?

Policyholders tend to either fear the insurance company or take the insurance company or NFIP’s advice as pure fact.  Many times an interview or advice given is from a source at the insurance company, usually received over the phone.  The insurance company or NFIP must visit the site of your loss to determine your needs, benefits and their coverage liability. Verifying and “auditing” the insurance company or NFIP’s work is crucial, yet rarely done by the policyholder. Verify everything and request that the promises made by your insurance company or NFIP always be placed in writing.

 

SINKHOLES

 
I have a sinkhole claim. What should I do?

In our experience, a large number of sinkhole claims are denied for various reasons. The cost of investigating a sinkhole claim is expensive and insurance companies usually prefer to avoid full-fledged investigations. If they choose to compensate the claim, the carrier may often offer an inferior resolution. Brace yourself for a potential denial of your claim. A trained Concordia Sr. Claims Manager will assess your loss and give you with the best options for proceeding with your claim.

A geotechnical engineering company said they could resolve the entire loss. Can they?

Ask the engineering firm to guarantee their promise in writing and guarantee their performance at no risk to you in the event the insurance company denies the claim.  Review the contract (policy) you have with your insurance company.  Everything contained in that contract is described in detail.  Ensure that if promises are made to you, that all promises are in writing.  Have a Concordia Sr. Claims Manager review their promises and proposals prior to signing anything.

How is a public adjuster going to be able to help me with a sinkhole loss?

A sinkhole claim can be like juggling chainsaws! Involved parties include you, geotechnical engineers, your local city departments, county entities, federal government departments, your insurance company, and affected neighbors. Everyone concerned must work together, or any decision could cut off a benefit the other was working toward.

What mistakes do policyholders make with this type of loss?

One common mistake made by policyholders is to call the insurance company before they have a proper understanding of their options within the policy. Reading your policy may not be enough.  The interpretation of one point to another or relying on a detail within your policy may be the difference in getting paid.  Let our licensed and experienced Sr. Claims Managers correctly determine the language of the policy for which you should be paid an honorable claim.

 

THEFT & VANDALISM

 
I have a theft & vandalism claim. What should I do?

First, verify that you are covered under your policy for theft and vandalism.  We’ve reviewed many policies containing exclusions for these types of claims. A Concordia Sr. Claims Manager will review your policy for you at no cost. Having one of our Claims Managers review your policy before you file an insurance claim with your carrier can make every difference between being compensated or denied.  Important details such as the date and type of theft or vandalism are crucial; without knowing, you may have incorrectly reported your claim, placing your claim in jeopardy of being reduced or denied.

How is a public adjuster going to be able to help me with a theft and vandalism loss?

Concordia Claims Managers will document and properly file your claim. Often your first contact with the insurance company can make the difference between a claim being paid or denied.  Your Concordia Sr. Claims Manager will review your policy and document the entirety of your loss.  Your insurance company is obligated to pay for what was proven to be lost or destroyed.  Concordia Claims Managers prides itself on our ability to lead our industry in Personal and Business Property Inventory documentation.  Don’t risk your financial compensation by filing a claim that you’re not 100% confident is correctly formatted.  Have a Concordia Sr. Claims Manager review your loss and suggest superior documentation before it is submitted.

What mistakes do policyholders make with this type of loss?

Policy holders often classify or refer to their loss improperly, or they mention things that are not relevant and may later be used to deny the claim.

Even when your claim has been properly documented, the insurance company will mail you various documents to be completed and returned.  You may never even see the insurance company’s adjuster or visit their offices.  You will be asked to mail your responses.  When this occurs, have your Concordia Sr. Claims Manager review these materials and review any documents you wish to furnish the insurance company, ensuring that it is done properly.  Concordia Claims Managers excel in this type of customer service.

 

 

WATER DAMAGE

I have a water damage or pipe leak claim. What should I do?

Notify your insurance company immediately! Water claims are often denied if they aren’t reported as soon as they are detected.  Time is of the essence with a water claim, more than any other type of insured loss. Most policies describe this type of claim as “a sudden burst of water”. Typically, water claims are restricted to a specified area.  Moisture tests must be done to prove what was damaged.  These tests are time-sensitive because water damage claims are much harder to prove once the affected areas have dried.

How is a public adjuster going to be able to help me with this type of loss?

 

Many denial letters for these types of claims focus on “how the break happened”, “what caused the leak”, “where the leak occurred” and “how long ago” the loss occurred.  The answers to these questions can make or break you. The insurance company, while agreeing to pay for cleanup, mitigation and restoration, might easily overlook the inconvenience this causes you.

What mistakes do policyholders make with this type of loss?

 

Many policyholders call a local plumber. Unfortunately, any statement you make will be considered factual evidence that may be used against you. The best thing to do is to hire Concordia Claims Managers to advocate for you. The exact cause of the leak will be defined in the Proof of Loss that your Concordia Sr. Claims Manager will create. If you’ve already had repairs made, do not discard any of the damaged components. Always photograph and document any damage.

How is a public adjuster going to be able to help me with this type of loss?

Our review and discussion with your contractor/plumber/engineer will best assess your claim. A water loss contained in your business may seem small. The insurance company may want to handle the payment for the mitigation, cleanup and restoration, but may overlook your inconvenience.  our Concordia Sr. Claims Manager will make sure that all of your benefits are being paid under your policy’s “loss of use”, “proper structure replacement”, “business property total loss” and “restoration” clauses. Most often small losses are more difficult to resolve because the adjuster working for the insurance company reviews so many of these types of claims.This adjuster may be overloaded and fail at their responsibility to properly serve you as their customer.

What mistakes do policyholders make with this type of loss?

Policyholders tend to be excellent insurance company clients: paying their premiums on time, referring family and friends to their agents and befriending their agent.  But once they file a claim, the policyholder must realize they are now in the Claims Department.  This is a separate department within their insurance company, representing their employer’s best interests. It’s also a completely different experience for you, the policyholder. You wouldn’t appear in court without the counsel of an attorney, would you?  The same applies here.  You would be better served with a licensed professional to represent you.  Rely on Concordia Claims Managers to represent the best interests of you and your business.

WINDSTORM / ROOF

I have a windstorm & roof claim. What should I do?

Windstorm & roof claims can be very technical. Insurance companies tend to substantially reduce the value of these claims through depreciation.  Often they will attempt to deny the claim due to faulty installation or ‘lack of maintenance’ (build-up of leaves or pine needles is a staple excuse).  Additionally, it is very difficult to prove wind damage after the peril occurred.  A Concordia Sr. Claims Manager has the tools and knowledge to help prove your loss and advocate on your behalf.

Why did a contractor tell me they could handle the whole thing?

Most contractors know their business.  This is fine if you hired them with your own money.  This is not the case, however with insurance claims damages. Some contractors actively look to sign contracts for “insurance proceeds”. But how do you get to those “insurance proceeds”?  You, the insured, must provide a “Proof of Loss” and convince the insurance company that your claim is valid and that they should pay the claim. If you can’t convince them, you won’t be paid… and while the contractor may have done work, he will look to you for payment or might place a lien against your business. Even if your carrier does pay, a poorly presented Proof of Loss will result in underpayment of your claim. And as far as your contractor is concerned, he’ll give you what you paid for. Concordia’s Sr. Claims Managers know their business and will advocate for you through the proper legal channels in resolving these issues.

How is a public adjuster going to be able to help me with this type of loss?

If the insurance company denies a claim or argues why a claim should be paid for your “proof” amount, only a licensed public insurance adjuster or an attorney may argue the aspects of the reasons why the claim should be paid.  Additionally, we look to get your job done correctly, keeping anyone from taking financial or physical “shortcuts” on your restoration.

What mistakes do policyholders make with this type of loss?

Many claims are said to be “too small” to require a public adjuster.  Remember, this loss affects your largest investment, your business..  There is no loss too small to ignore or leave in the hands of a party working toward their own interest instead of yours.  If a claim is underpaid, sub-standard work is likely to be performed.  If you resell your building, this damage can hurt your resale value.  One can hardly afford to put themselves at a financial disadvantage in the current real estate market.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Most Common Cause of Damage is Also The Most Frequently Denied Claim

Windstorm Damages: Hiding in Plain Sight

Earthquakes Can Generate Structural Damage    Insurance Claims Miles Beyond the Epicenter