Within moments, a fire can engulf your property and interrupt your business indefinitely. As you concentrate on the safety of all occupants and how to stay in business, you will also need the time to prepare a thorough insurance claim covering your loss.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, business owners and organizations suffer $2.3 billion in commercial and industrial property losses each year.
Fire claims are especially complex for the different types of damage they cause, all of which have to be documented and proven to your insurance company. For example, fire can create serious damage from smoke, burning residue, and corrosive substances released in the flames. There can also be substantial water damage from the effort to extinguish the blaze. In the aftermath, your property and valuables may be exposed to the elements and become more damaged if not addressed immediately. As the policyholder, it is your responsibility to minimize the damage while you focus on keeping your business running. Do you also have the time to handle your fire insurance claim?
During the fire insurance claim process, your insurance company may present an offer they think is sufficient based on their own damage assessment. Who’s looking out for you? Our public adjusters work only for your interests to evaluate, document, and prove the full scope of loss and negotiate your claim for the maximum amount. We are policyholder advocates for New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina fire damage claims, offering our expert public adjusting services to help you recover more, sooner.
Make sure you fully understand the meaning of each of the following before you move forward. Feel free to reach out to us for a no-cost discussion about your claim.
What is my agent/broker’s role?
The insurance company hired a construction estimator. What do I need to know?
Why is a claim strategy so important?
Am I impacted by coinsurance?
Can smoke damage be removed/neutralized?
How can you identify/document items that are totally destroyed?
Your insurance company pays less if you clean/restore as much of your equipment and improvements as possible. Is that a good idea?
How do the smoke and the water used to fight the fire affect your machinery? Your computers, equipment, and other electronics?
If water used in suppressing the fire causes mold and fungus, is the ensuing damage covered?
Asbestos, lead, and other hazardous materials can have a major impact on your claim. Are you aware of how to properly address these in order to prepare your claim and to avoid future liability issues? Hazardous materials such as asbestos and lead can be expensive to address. You want to make sure to not cut corners when addressing this issue. You want to make sure to not cut corners when addressing this issue.
Code Upgrade coverage is very important when rebuilding after a fire. How does your insurance policy address code coverage? Also, what about any Green building upgrades? Checking the correct building codes before you prepare your claim is critical.
What happens when the insurance company engages a forensic accountant? What is his/her role? Why can’t your accountant just prepare your claim? You will have to produce your financial statements and possibly your tax return. You may need to recast your financial statements? If so, why? What are extra expenses? What can be included?
What are expediting expenses? How do they differ from extra expenses?
How much of my time will this take?
What is pressurized smoke?
Property Damage Losses Commercial Claims Recovery Process
Life & Safety Issues
Mitigation of Damages
Establish A Preliminary Recovery Plan
Evaluation of Coverages
Valuation Of Damages, Claim Preparation, and Documentation
All insurance policies have their 'gray’ areas, and ours was no exception… I was particularly impressed with… your team’s ability to navigate through those areas and present them strategically… in the best light for your client. I really believe that our final claim resolution was significantly better than it would have been.
Donald C. Wood
President and Chief Executive Officer - Federal Realty Investment Trust