How Important is Obtaining Representation in an Insurance Claim??

Posted by on Dec 3, 2012 in Insurance Negotiations, Insurance Policy Coverage, Preparing, Settlement Improvement | 0 comments

As a property owner, you may experience a loss from fire, wind, snow loading, earthquake, hurricane, or other natural disasters. So the question is, when filing a claim with your insurance company should you seek professional representation to ensure your settlement is fair?

The answer is…ALWAYS!!  Do not rely solely on your insurance company’s claims adjuster, contractor, and engineer.  More times than not, they will minimize the damage and subsequently minimize your settlement!

In the unfortunate event that you find yourself in this position, we always suggest you seek consultation with a Public Adjuster (PA) and/or a Forensic Engineer that do not work for the insurance companies

Most of time the initial consultation with the Public Adjuster is free and often a PA will review your policy, dissect the fine print, and determine whether or not you’re getting a fair shake.  If you are not, consider protecting your interests by retaining a good Public Adjuster who teams with a forensic engineer and a contractor and often times costs you nothing out of pocket.

Grass Valley, CA Forensic Team to Help in Superstorm Sandy Aftermath

Posted by on Dec 3, 2012 in Insurance Negotiations, Insurance Policy Coverage, Preparing, Settlement Improvement, Superstorm Sandy | 0 comments

On November 29, 2012, the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, announced new actions to expedite Sandy-related insurance claims. One of these actions is to allow for expedited, temporary licenses to qualified out-of-state public insurance adjusting teams. The temporary licenses will increase the number of adjusters available to New York consumers to help get their claim settlements faster.  Lincoln, Long, and Roman Forensic Architecture and Engineering has been retained by a New York based company, D’Amore Adjusters, in an effort to aid victims of the Super Storm Sandy aftermath.  David Long, Engineer and Principal of Lincoln, Long & Roman will join a California team of Public Insurance Adjusters (Paladin Consulting) to serve the needs of people who have suffered property loss and are dealing with insurance claims. The scope of work will include, dissecting insurance policies, conducted building damage assessments, determining loss of contents, loss of business income, and ensuring insurance settlement offers are fair and equitable for policy holders.

“We were contacted by the D’Amore group as they are completely overwhelmed with phone calls by people wanting representation. The demand is simply too great and D’Amore can not even return phone calls. We expect to leave for New York the week of December 10th for a preliminary assessment and are expected to be there initially for a week and a half,” according to Dave Long.  Assisting Lincoln, Long, and Roman will be a number of local contractors.  Lincoln, Long and Roman staff members  will remain in California to prepare the documentation required based on the information provided by the team in New York. Working in both locations will minimize the turn-around time for the high volumes of claims that will be expected over the next two years.

Dave Lincoln says, “We are excited at the prospect of helping these families and ensuring their insurance companies treat them fairly. It will be business as usual for Lincoln, Long, and Roman as Tom Roman, our staff, and I will remain in California to handle all local projects!”

Will Your Homeowners Insurance Policy Cover the Cost to Rebuild??

Posted by on Oct 26, 2012 in Insurance Negotiations, Insurance Policy Coverage, Settlement Improvement | 0 comments

Having dealt with a number of insurance settlements over the years, one thing we have found is that in the event of a total loss MOST insurance policies do not cover the cost to rebuild!!  One reason is that many insurance companies have a standard “Ordinance or Law (code upgrade) limit” of 10 % of the building policy limit. The issue lies in Building Code Ordinance laws and the difference between what the building code was at the time the home was built and when the home needs to be rebuilt because of a devastating fire or other damage. Unfortunately, most basic home insurance policies only provide limited Ordinance or Law coverage and sometimes none at all.

For instance, let’s say your home was valued at $350,000 with a 10% provision for code upgrade. In the event that you experience a total property loss, you MAY be entitled to $385,000 in compensation. The problem is in order to comply with the current building standards, a majority of the cases in which we have been involved required closer to 50% for code upgrade. Using the example case study cited above and a conservative estimate of 25% needed for code upgrade, the cost to rebuild under the current building code provisions would be $437,500, a difference of –$52,500! If in fact the requirement for code upgrade reaches 50% that would result in a difference of –$-140,000!!!! What this means is you, as the policyholder, would be responsible for the difference in the event that you decide to rebuild. (more…)

Fire Prevention Fee

Posted by on Oct 8, 2012 in Fire Prevention Fees | 0 comments

You may have received a notice from California’s Governor Brown recently that states that you will be receiving a bill requiring you to pay $150 (per year) for a fee for state fire protection services.  It states that according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), you own property in one of the designated areas and must pay the new California Fire Prevention Fee.  The Board of Equalization is required by law to collect the fee.

The fee is levied at the rate of $150 per habitable structure, which is defined as a building that can be occupied for residential use. Owners of habitable structures who are also within the boundaries of a local fire protection agency will receive a reduction of $35 per habitable structure.

They have put up a website at www.FirePreventionFee.org that answers your questions.  One of the FAQ was:

What is the State Responsibility Area (SRA)?
The State Responsibility Area includes state and privately-owned forest, watershed, and rangeland where the State of California has primary financial responsibility for the prevention and suppression of wildfires. SRA does not include lands within city boundaries or in federal ownership. SRA is determined under regulations of the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection (Board). The SRA definition can be found in Public Resources Code (PRC) 4126.

SRA forms one large area (over 31 million acres and approximately 825,000 habitable structures) to which CAL FIRE provides a basic level of fire prevention and protection services. Many areas receive augmented fire protection from local fire protection agencies.

We all recognize that the chance of catastropic fire increases as areas become drier with less rain and more people move into less populated areas.  Knowing how to keep your home protected by keeping a safe zone cleared around your home and making sure you have a complete inventory of your belongings are both part of being prepared.

Inventory Your Belongings Before a Disaster

Posted by on Sep 28, 2012 in Insurance Negotiations, Preparing, Settlement Improvement | 0 comments

So it happened!  Your home was destroyed by fire and the last thing you want to deal with is your insurance claims adjuster and the debate over the loss of contents in your home.  Unfortunately, other than the obvious loss of furniture, appliances, and electronics how do you prove to your insurance company that you experienced a substantially greater loss of valuables (art, cash, heirlooms, and priceless worldly possessions) if you have no proof of their existence?  Good luck trying to convince your claims adjuster based on your solemn word!!

Although initially taking an inventory of all your possessions may be tedious and time consuming, it will prove invaluable in the unfortunate event that you and your family do experience a loss.  It is also important to maintain this inventory as you purchase and sell or dispose of these items.  (more…)

The 3 R’s of Defensible Space – Remove, Reduce and Replace

Posted by on Sep 13, 2012 in Insurance Negotiations, Preparing | 0 comments

The 3 R’s of Defensible Space – Remove, Reduce and Replace

The fire season is upon us and is expected to last well into October. For the moderate-to-high fire hazard zones, which comprise most of the state of theUnited States, steps can be taken to minimize the risk of property loss due to fire.  We suggest creating a fuel modification zone on your property, basically reducing combustible vegetation around your home which provides a “defensible space.”  This will protect your home and provide a safety zone for fire fighters.

The idea is to eliminate a potential path of fuel from a wildfire to your home.  The Fire Safe Council calls this “The 3 R’s of Defensible Space;” Remove / Reduce / Replace. (more…)