People are amazed at what it takes to resolve claims today.
Carrollton, TX (Vocus) October 19, 2010
Suncoast Claims Inc announced the tornado damage claim has settled on Dr. Lawrence Kennedy's landmark North Church. The tornado damage to their building housing their offices, classrooms, multi-media productions, and sanctuary was settled by Suncoast Claims Inc, a Texas public adjuster company and policyholder advocate that handled the insurance wind claim on behalf of the Carrollton, Texas church.
Suncoast Claims Inc., a Texas-based public adjuster firm, inspected the damage with the insurance company representative within 24 hours of the loss. The tornado peeled back part of the large roof, exposing the sanctuary to sky. Heavy rain with the high winds resulted in damage to many rooms as well as the television studio and sanctuary.
The large air conditioners on the roof, as big as boxcars, had been rolled over or picked up and dropped, damaging the curbs mounting them to the roof. Electrical and gas lines were plucked up and left in a tangle against the parapet walls.
“We are licensed to work for the insured, the policyholder, as their advocate,” said Don Wood, President of Suncoast Claims Inc. “On complex or contested claims like this damage at North Church, they needed a public adjuster with technical skills and experience,” said Don. “We understand the policy fine print, the rebuilding process, and the claim settlement requirements. We are truly on the policyholder's side in the damage settlement process.”
Don says there are only three kinds of adjusters. Insurance companies typically use independent adjusters to handle their claims. Occasionally a policyholder will see the second kind, a company adjuster, but the effect is the same. Both work for and represent the company that pays them. The only type of adjuster that works for the policyholder is a public adjuster. Their fees typically come out of the settlement. They are usually more experienced than the company’s representative. They work only for the insured, not the insurer.
“Dr. Kennedy faced an uphill battle with his insurance carrier. The damage was extensive, but the church needed to continue to operate." Due to the structural damage, an engineer prescribed the curb and metal decking repairs. Long-reach cranes had to remove and reset the large equipment. "During all of this,” Don said, “the church continued operations, including a day-care that required safety and security for the children. Incredibly, the insurance carrier continued to resist a full settlement.”
Don said, “We brought in a forensic engineer who is also an architect and a building code specialist. He brought a scanner and mapped the entire roof, documenting water trapped between the layers of roofing. Even the areas that did not appear damaged were water saturated. Water was migrating and leaking into the building in dozens of places."
“The church continued operation with temporary repairs and roof patches. At our recommendation, the church began the process of legal consultation with an attorney specializing in insurance litigation.” Don said, “We guide our clients through the whole process, but at the stage of either litigating or demanding appraisal, we ask our client to consult with an attorney. We are not attorneys, and do not want them to surrender any of their legal rights at this point due to a misstep. The appraisal clause of the policy was invoked as a result.
"Appraisal without professional help can be risky - since appraisal awards are binding, experience is vital. We recommended a competent independent veteran adjuster and appraiser, who flew into Texas for meetings with the insurance company’s designated appraiser. The appraisal panel ultimately issued an award that was near our original estimate," Don said. "Now the church’s attorney will look at any remaining issues.”
“People are amazed at what it takes to resolve claims today.” Don added, “On claims like this, without a public adjusting company like Suncoast, it would be difficult for policyholders to be made whole, because the estimates provided by the insurer were so low. Policyholders must be vigilant to overcome a well-documented industry-wide trend toward low property claim settlements and rapidly get help to get whole.”
Call Suncoast Claims to discuss your property insurance claim. Don Wood, President of Suncoast Claims Inc., is a licensed public adjuster and a former commercial and industrial builder. He has served as a staff company adjuster, independent adjuster, and estimator. He is a member of the Texas Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (TAPIA), as well as FAPIA (Florida) and NAPIA (National), and is a Windstorm Network certified umpire for insurance loss appraisals.