Tag: insurance claims

DFW Tornado Victims Get The Most Out Of Their Insurance Claims

League City, Texas – April 24, 2012 – As the skies finally cleared in the Dallas area on April 3, 2012 and residents ventured out to see what kind of tornado damage they may have received from the massive storms of the day, it was just the beginning of the turmoil ahead for Dallas/Fort Worth property owners. With many homes demolished and lives uprooted in the wake of an unbelievable 11 confirmed tornadoes in one afternoon, it is hard to imagine that an insurance company might deny a tornado damage claim for its policyholders. However, the truth is that claim delays, disputes, and denials occur often in the insurance industry. The good news is that Morrison & Morrison Inc. has the information to help tornado victims get the most out of their insurance claims.

“It is not uncommon for property owners to experience a disaster after the disaster,” says Clay Morrison, President of Morrison & Morrison Inc. “We’ve already been getting calls where the insurer should have totaled the property for a total loss, but instead the insurer is treating it as a partial repair.”

Similar to the way that “location, location, location” is known as the key to buying property, “document, document, document” is the key to successful insurance claims. It is vital to extensively document all tornado damage done to the property. This entails taking photos and video of the property, contents, and debris prior to moving or disposing of anything. All tornado damage should be noted in order to avoid disputes later, and damaged contents should not be disposed of even if it appears to be a complete loss.

Another element of documentation is keeping written receipts for all expenses, especially if paid in cash. This includes receipts for payments like contractor fees, hotel and restaurant charges, cleaning, storage, etc. Also, be sure to only give copies of photos and documents to the insurance adjuster instead of the originals of any of the documentation. It is vital that proof exists to substantiate your insurance claim, so keeping the originals is the safest way to ensure that documentation is not lost.

Also document any dealings with contractors. Make sure you are given copies of contracts, and that they contain a clear estimate of charges.

Even after substantial documentation of tornado damage, if a property owner experiences insurance claim delays, disputes, or denials, it is important to contact a professional public adjuster like those at Morrison & Morrison Inc. for help.

“Don’t dig the hole that you’re in any deeper than it already is. Get a professional public adjuster who represents only you before you harm your position in the claims process even further,” advises Morrison.

About Morrison & Morrison Inc.
Morrison & Morrison Inc. is a property loss consulting firm and licensed public insurance adjusting group, based in League City, Texas. The company is an authority on assessing, documenting, and negotiating property claim damages. They can help determine the true amount of damages, handle the adjustment process, deal with the insurance company, and if needed, manage the appraisal process. For more information about the company, please visit http://www.publicinsuranceadjuster.net/

McAllen Hailstorm Shocks Residents: Victims Get The Most Out Of Their Insurance Claims

League City, TexasApril 24, 2012 – Astounded residents of McAllen, Texas were blindsided on the evening of March 19, 2012 when a hailstorm hit their city unlike anything seen there before. McAllen was hammered with torrential rain, winds at gusts of 75 mph, and golf ball to baseball sized hail that fell continuously for nearly an hour. The scene was unbelievable to property owners when they looked outside to find huge accumulations of hail on the ground and damage to their property.

That was just the beginning of the turmoil ahead for McAllen property owners, as many are now learning that it is not uncommon for insurance companies to deny hail damage claims for its policyholders. Claim delays, disputes, and denials occur often in the insurance industry. The good news is that Morrison & Morrison Inc. has the information to help hail damage victims get the most out of their insurance claims.

The first step is for property owners to look for signs of hail damage themselves. Look for loose granules on asphalt roof shingles. Also check for granules in rain gutters and downspouts, because the loose granules will eventually wash away. Finally, look for hail dents in exposed surfaces like vents, siding, decks, and also automobiles.

However, it is not enough for a property owner to complete all inspections him or herself. It is not uncommon for hail damage to be unseen, so it is necessary to have it inspected by a professional. Roofs are especially at risk of hail damage and often sustain more harm than it appears.

“There can be extensive damage to a large commercial flat roof,” says Clay Morrison, President of Morrison & Morrison Inc. “and the owner won’t know it until even a year later. Also, you can have multiple fractures in a tile roof that you won’t know about without close inspection.”

Similar to the way that “location, location, location” is known as the key to buying property, “document, document, document” is the key to successful insurance claims. It is vital to extensively document all hail damage done to the property. This entails taking photos and video of the property prior to moving or disposing of anything. Take pictures of any dented siding or broken windows, and photograph any roof shingle granules that may have washed into rain gutters or downspouts. All hail damage should be noted in order to avoid disputes later. Also take pictures of any hail on the property to document the amount of hail that occurred.

Another element of documentation is keeping written receipts for all expenses, especially if paid in cash. Also, be sure to only give copies of photos and documents to the insurance adjuster instead of the originals of any of the documentation. It is vital that proof exists to substantiate your insurance claim, so keeping the originals is the safest way to ensure that documentation is not lost.

Also document any dealings with contractors. Make sure you are given copies of contracts, and that they contain a clear estimate of charges.

Even after substantial documentation of hail damage, if a property owner experiences insurance claim delays, disputes, or denials, it is important to contact a professional public adjuster like those at Morrison & Morrison Inc. for help.

“Don’t dig the hole that you’re in any deeper than it already is. Get a professional public adjuster who represents only you before you harm your position in the claims process even further,” advises Morrison.

About Morrison & Morrison Inc.
Morrison & Morrison Inc. is a property loss consulting firm and licensed public insurance adjusting group, based in League City, Texas. The company is an authority on assessing, documenting, and negotiating property claim damages. They can help determine the true amount of damages, handle the adjustment process, deal with the insurance company, and if needed, manage the appraisal process. For more information about the company, please visit http://www.publicinsuranceadjuster.net/

Joplin Tornado Claims Examination – Tornado Insurance Claims

Misguided Trust with Property Insurance Companies for Joplin tornado claims?

Two weeks ago I was in Joplin, Missouri working on Joplin tornado claims. Joplin reminds me of a town copied directly from a Norman Rockwell painting.  The people are genuine, the youth are respectful and I can tell that a handshake is a readily accepted form of transacting business.  While the people of Joplin seem ready and willing to trust that their property insurance company has done the right thing for them following the devastating tornado that ripped their town apart in May, I found a much darker picture as I began to examine claims.

As my work on claims progressed, I began to notice some very disturbing trends on the Joplin tornado claims that no consumer seemed to be aware of. 

  1.  The first problem I noticed is that every property I examined appeared to be underinsured.  Underinsured means that the amount of insurance coverage selected by either the agent or the insured is not enough to cover the real cost of replacement.   At first I thought this was an anomaly, but not only did it appear consistently, it appeared consistently with two companies in particular.
  2. The next issue that I noticed was that all the estimates I examined from one company had made no allowance for overhead and profit.  Overhead and profit is a markup allowance added to the bottom line of an insurance damage estimate to allow for the overhead and profit of a general contractor.   Again, this phenomenon appeared on every estimate I examined that was written by the same insurance company.
  3. Next, I noticed that sales tax was missing from Joplin tornado claims estimates by the same company who had omitted overhead and profit.  Almost every city in America requires that business collect sales tax for their goods and services.
  4. Finally, the unit pricing allowed in the estimates by several insurance companies appeared to extremely dated and much lower than I would have expected.  I need to mention that the problems I noticed are prevalent with two insurers who are probably two of the largest insurers in Missouri.

I cannot tell you that every company has handled Joplin tornado claims in this fashion, but every estimate I examined was handled this way. Joplin seems to be recovering slowly, but I can imagine how many properties are underinsured, how many claims are missing overhead and profit, how many claim payments omitted sales tax, and how many folks are only now learning of these facts as they try to rebuild.

Time Running Out for Joplin tornado claims

Unfortunately Missouri has limited time frames to take formal action for any wrong doing, and at the same time most policies issued in Missouri specify that you must claim recoverable depreciation within 6 months or less in some circumstances.  These two factors, combined with a truly catastrophic situation make for the perfect storm when it comes to the consumer losing in the end.

I suspect that a huge percentage of Joplin claims were handled as I have described above.  If you have a loss from the Joplin tornado, I would strongly urge you to have a professional public insurance adjuster to examine your claim. Even if you were paid policy limits for your Joplin Tornado Claim, I suspect that you were not paid fully to replace your property even though your adjuster may have said that they have done everything they can.