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About: Dave

Name  :  David E. Young
 
E-mail  :  dave@brown-ohaver.com
 
Website  :  http://adjusteradvocate.com/
 
Profile  :  David E. Young, CPPA, SPPA Certified Professional Public Adjuster Senior Professional Public Adjuster Mr. Young is one of the very few individuals throughout the world who has passed both the Certified Professional Public Adjuster (CPPA) Examination and the Senior Professional Public Adjuster Examination (SPPA). He is a nationally recognized expert in the appraisal of insurance claims, having been retained by a national publisher to author writings to train attorneys in this provision of insurance law.
 

Posts by Dave:

Dry-Out Contractors

Just yesterday, after an impact with a hose bib outside the home, water poured out from inside the wall. I, as a trusted Grandpa, was asked to come over and assess the situation. I took along my trusty 16 ounce claw hammer and upon arrival, began breaking the sheetrock. Viola! There was the pipe inside and it was easy to see that a copper line had broken and needed to be soldered.

Having found the leak, we called for a plumber to solder the pipe and I left for other Saturday activities.

The plumber came out and soldered up the line and charged $169.00. Fine. But then the plumber did something Ole’ Grandpa would never approve. He recommended that a Dry-Out Contractor be called and the loving relative whose home was damaged did just that. The Dry-Out Contractor was there immediately.

A “Dry-Out” Contractor is one who comes to the home and dries out the walls, floor, and inside the walls. He or she will use blowers to do this, kind of like those machines installed in restrooms to dry your hands. Sometimes the services of these companies are critical, especially to prevent mold from growing. However, since the beginning of this blog twenty years ago, I have railed against the agreement that the contractor wishes the homeowner to sign. I think this issue was brought up in one of the first three blogs I posted.

The agreement that the Dry-Out contractor requires is called a “work authorization”. By signing the agreement, the homeowner agrees to pay what is billed. Insureds have signed these for decades and upon completion of services rendered, the Dry-Out Contractor will go to the insurer for payment. But wait! This incidence is not a claim that will be presented to an insurer. The homeowner will have to pay the bill.

I think there is something wrong with this and conflicts often ensue, especially when the bill is presented to the insurer by the Dry-Out Contractor. The Insurer has more power over the transaction and will often pay a portion of the claim after which the Dry-Out contractor will look to the homeowner for the balance. This has happened in the past on claims which Brown-O’Haver was involved and, when the Dry-Out Contractor sued the homeowner for the balance, we insisted that the insurer defend the homeowner through the liability portion of the policy. The insurance company did and the Dry-Out Contractor backed off and dropped the lawsuit.

I once maneuvered one of these cases to a judge who ruled that the agreement violated the elements of a contract which are
(1) offer; (2) acceptance; (3) intention; (4) consideration; (5) capacity.

The judge ruled that the open end of “consideration” was not appropriate. He ruled that there had to be an amount upon which all parties agreed and this was not done in this case. Unfortunately, this ruling was not posted or filed.

Back to the beginning of my story, the Dry-Out Contractor came immediately and used two people and a number of blowers to dry out the home and was there for approximately two hours. The bill: $2,000.00! What a crock!

If you encounter such a loss before the involvement of Brown – O’Haver, take the agreement and pencil in an amount that will be charged and cross out the part of the agreement that gives the Dry-Out Contractor a power of attorney to sign all insurance checks issued in your name or which is a direct pay authorization which allows the insurance company to pay the restoration contractor directly. Right up front, agree to an amount that the services will not exceed.

We are here with advice and services offered at any time you need us.

Water Damage Claims

People may not realize it, but the Number 1 reason to file an insurance claim is a loss due to water. Water claims might be caused by pipe breaks in the refrigerator, ice maker or a water feed line to either a toilet or a washing machine. The water seeps into walls where it destroys the sheetrock, floors, carpet, padding, cabinetry and furniture. Generally, water claims are covered by insurance but such damage is not paid easily by insurers.

We know. New water claims are not our first rodeo. Brown – O’Haver adjusted a loss for an insured several years ago that was in excess of $ 450,000.00. Water claims are serious business.

Suppose your water pipe breaks and floods your home. Your insurer will investigate whether or not you had the heat on if the loss occurred in the winter. No heat – no payment.

Another hassle in presenting a water claim deals with an event caused by a pipe break while you are away. The insurer will look to see if the damage is “long term” since long term damage and maintenance issues are not covered by insurance policies. If a water loss occurs when you are on vacation and your home is vacant, that loss should be covered. However, we have seen a new development in the insurance adjusting business where insurers are challenging insureds over the length of the insured’s absence. The reason for this is because the policy of insurance generally denies coverage for those maintenance issues and “long term” damage.

When did the loss actually occur? At Brown – O’haver we have developed several methods in dealing with water losses and we are generally successful in presenting an insured’s claim. In asking when the loss occurred, we check to see when a water bill might have increased or use other forensic methods. At the beginning of the year we adjusted a claim for a “snow bird” who lived away from his Arizona winter home and returned to Arizona only when his home state was frozen over.

The insurer in that case concluded that the damage to his Arizona home was caused by vandalism. Someone, the insurer concluded, had opened the water pipes allowing water to destroy the home. And, I mean “destroy”. The Park Model Trailer was a total loss. The insurer denied the claim because vandalism was not covered under the conditions of the policy and the facts surrounding the loss. The insured contacted Brown – O’Haver.

We stood back and asked, so what if the home was vandalized? The pipes in the home would still hold any water intrusion. We arranged for a plumbing expert (paid for by the insurer, of course) who found interior pipe breakage. The seventy-five year old insured is now a fervent supporter of Brown – O’Haver. Our work for him literally saved his way of life.

And that brings us to whether or not mold is covered. Mold often occurs as a result of a water loss. Some insurers, such as State Farm, will not cover any type of mold. Other insures might offer relatively small coverage on mold claims but give you the option of purchasing additional coverage. All policies are different but Brown – O’Haver will review your policy with you at no cost to see what coverage is provided. Given that water damage claims are the number one cause of insurance claims, it would be our recommendation that you contact your agent BEFORE a loss to make certain that you have an adequate amount of water and mold insurance.

Looking out for the insurance consumer

The Breitbart News headlines shouted out: Chicago activist tells people mad about looting to “Get over it.  These buildings are insured!”

The looting and rioting in Chicago on August 10 lasted nearly five hours.  In a profanity-laced statement, a Chicago “activist”, Alycia Moatin, blurted out: “These buildings are insured.  Materials will come but we will not come back if they kill us.  What do you’ll not get about that?  Gucci, Apple store, that stuff can be replaced.”

“These buildings are insured.”

Of course, “material” can be replaced if the owners of the real property and businesses that were looted and destroyed have proper insurance. However, as public adjusters, Brown – O’Haver is concerned about the insurance consumer.  It is the insurance consumer who will pay by for looting and destruction through increased premiums.

The actions of these lawbreakers is wrong.  On this topic we are in complete agreement with insurance companies opposed to this violence.  We want insurance companies to pay legitimate and fair claims to its insureds when an insured is confronted with an unforeseen peril.  Our goal is total fairness to the insurance consumer.  We want premiums paid by the insurance consumer to pay for legitimate claims, not claims instigated by so-called activists who tell us: “(This looting) is not goanna stop.  We’re goanna keep it going.”

Looting causes damage which in turn increases premiums. Everybody loses.