Not all, but may bad faith Insurance companies intentionally delay, deny and underpay claims. Of course, these tactics are improper, unethical, and immoral but in a pathetic attempt to gin up business for their defense law firm, a recent blog post targeting bad faith insurance companies outlines the benefits of purposely delaying insurance claims as an “effective legal strategy.”
That’s right! Insurance company defense law firms are promoting how insurers benefit by intentionally delaying claim payments to help themselves!
This shocking admission unscrupulously suggests weaponizing insurance companies to put pressure on policyholders and force them to settle for an amount favorable for the insurer. The blog post was removed from the law firm’s website after they were contacted by the Dallas Morning News. We see these tactics daily but have never seen a statement like this. Read>>Insurer’sBenefit by Delaying Claims
In our years of experience settling large and complex property damage insurance claims, we’ve come across several insurers who deploy delay schemes to frustrate and wear down policyholders. This blog post shows just how egregious, unconscionable and low some insurers and their legal representatives will stoop.
“Absolutely astounding,” was the reaction of J. Robert Hunter, retired Texas Department of Insurance commissioner. “We knew many insurers operate this way, but I’ve never seen the strategy admitted like this.”
Risk Management just keeps getting more challenging for real estate owners. Insurance premiums and deductibles are skyrocketing. Policy benefits are being diluted and the Texas Supreme Court characterizes the claims process as “adversarial.” We encourage Policyholders who don’t want to be the victim of wrongful delay, deny, and defend schemes to consider ourtrack record for settling claims fairly and promptly. Holding insurers accountable, properly documenting claims, and successfully avoiding unnecessary litigation is the best path to indemnification.
If you’re dealing with a property damage insurance claim, please do not wait for delays or underpayments. Contact us at the beginning. If you have an open claim that is delayed or underpaid, you’re not alone, we can step in at any time during the claims process to help you get the settlement you deserve.
Insurance Companies Have Experts Working For Them, You Should Too! ™
Since January of 2022, there have been numerous fires at food manufacturing plants across the country. Can We Talk About the Plant Fires? caught our attention. The recovery process for these food processors to get back to business concerns us considering the number of policyholders we assist in overcoming delays and underpayments. Decades of experience as a Public Insurance Adjuster helping owners of commercial real estate properties settle fire insurance claims inspired us to write What You Need to Know about Plant Fire Insurance Claims for Packaging Strategies.
What You Need to Know about Plant Fire Insurance Claims
In February, a boiler exploded at a Shearer’s Foods potato chip plant south of Hermiston, OR. Image courtesy of Jeff Schwenk
Insurance companies may not necessarily be in a big hurry to pay up, here’s what business owners need to know about fire insurance claims.
The number of recent food processing fires has caught national attention. Safety, food supply, and propaganda are certainly concerns, but so is the recovery process to get these food processors back to business.
Avoiding a double disaster following a fire or any other peril means getting the full benefit of your policy coverage fairly and promptly while avoiding unnecessary underpayments, delays, lawsuits, or appraisals.
Knowing your rights, remedies and having a risk management strategy in place to assist you to meet the burden of proving your claim makes all the difference in settling insurance claims fairly and properly.
While there is an implied duty for insurers to act in good faith and handle claims properly, the burden of proving claim damages is on the policyholder. Herein lies the foundation of the inherent conflict of interest built into the insurance business model.
The Adversarial Relationship Claims Create
When a policyholder pays their premiums, they are considered an asset to an insurer. However, when a policyholder has a claim, you are considered a liability. The moment a policyholder files a claim, the insurer has representatives in place to protect their interests, not the policyholders. There is an asymmetry of information. Your insurer wrote your policy and knows insurance code statutes, case law, damage, and risk models. Meanwhile, policyholders typically don’t understand their entire policy and know their rights or options available to protect their interests. Then there’s an asymmetry of power. Policyholders have no negotiating power when purchasing a policy. Insurers have the policyholder’s money, they have their terms in the policy, and their representatives in place to manage their risk of liability from policyholders with legitimate claims in need to be properly indemnified from their insurer.
This win-lose value proposition has caught the attention of the Supreme Court of Texas stating, “the insurance claim process is inherently adversarial. The adversarial process begins as soon as a claim is filed and ends only when the resolution of the claim is finally determined and accepted by the parties.” Barbara Technologies Vs. State Farm Lloyds
Insurance Claim Disputes
Insurance companies are masters at pontificating the belief that you’ll be covered under your policy. However, insurance claim disputes are a common scenario that leads to underpayments, delays, and lawsuits. It’s easy to assume that disagreements about whether or not damaged property should be repaired or replaced seem obvious but overcoming an insurer’s argument to repair damages that you believe need replacement may take more than just an opinion.
That goes for the insurer too. Insurers handle claims every day and are aware of damage related to heat, moisture, acidic gases, and combustion by-products. “For an insured (handling one claim) to level the playing field, appropriate representation is necessary for a full assessment and proving all damage” as noted by Jeff Schwenk, President, Continental Machinery Company.
Proving a claim and getting a fair settlement can be rigorous and require a precise strategy. Questioning the legitimacy of your insurer’s position, disputing items such as excessive depreciation, including overhead and profit, required building code upgrades, ordinance/law coverage, professional fees, business interruption income loss calculations, OSHA safety requirements, ADA, preparing replacement cost valuations, interpreting policy language, as well as understanding conditions and terms related to debris removal, water extraction, smoke removal and mold remediation ensuing from a fire insurance claim, are liabilities policyholders with a fire insurance claim must endure. For example, a liability many policyholders are unaware of is that if your fire suppression system is not operational, your policy may require you to hire security on-site 24/7 or you could suffer a loss of benefits.
Endorsements for Extra Expense Insurance is coverage that pays for our company’s ordinary expenses after a disruptive incident it provides cash to help your business stay operational while the property is being repaired or replaced without this financial assistance, businesses that suffer a major loss might have to close permanently.
Code enforcement officers may require code upgrades for properties that are older. Most insurance policies do not pay for code upgrades before that expense is incurred by the policyholder. Code upgrades typically have separate dollar limits from the rest of your insurance policy and can be tricky points when interpreting your policy language and benefits.
The list goes on and on. To reasonably comply with most policies associated with large loss insurance claims, policyholders endure numerous details including disputing insurer retained expert reports and asserting policyholder retained expert opinions, submitting department of insurance bulletins, evidence of damage, evidence of occurrence, 3rd party credibility, and making a reasonable demand for payment to the insurance company.
Understandably, most policyholders simply don’t know what to do or where to start. You have options, rights, and remedies to settling property damage insurance claims. The best non-litigious approach while still preserving your consumer rights is by working with a licensed, ethical public insurance adjuster on a contingency fee basis to represent your interests.
There’s a lot of risk in owning commercial real estate. Property owners’ buildings are always at risk and it’s just not right when insurance companies do not pay fairly and promptly. Many policyholders have certainly felt the urge to hire an attorney, file a lawsuit to sue their insurance company, and go through subpoenas, depositions, discovery, mediation, and court when they are convinced their insurer has acted in bad faith. What many policyholders have found is that the legal process takes a lot of time, adds stress and so much of the documentation requirements to prove up a claim in a lawsuit are included in a legitimate public adjuster’s claim submissions. Many have found the best course of action in settling a claim is to engage ethical, experienced, and non-litigious public insurance adjusters at the beginning of a claim who know how to personally and factually present evidence that supports your position, comply with policy terms, assert relevant statutory insurance codes, knows how to compel an insurer to perform fairly.
Our successful approach has helped commercial real estate property owners realize maximum insurance claim settlement results in minimum time without unnecessary litigation for over a decade. Insurance companies have experts working for them. You should too.
Best of all, there is no fee for his services if there’s no recovery. That, however, has never happened.
Insurance companies manage risk. So, if a policyholder has exposed all of the insurer’s liability in writing with supporting evidence, documentation, presented a valid argument for coverage, exhausted all reasonable and necessary efforts to avoid unnecessary litigation to settle a claim, and is still forced to sue to settle an insurance claim dispute then a claim may be ripe to consider filing complaints to the department of insurance and retain a board-certified insurance attorney.
The Advantages of Delaying a Claim
Many bad faith insurance companies not only deploy tactics to wear down policyholders but some of their defense attorneys who represent them promote that delaying claims may provide several benefits for insurers. First, they know delaying a claim puts pressure on policyholders. They know you may be dealing with mounting bills for property damage, legal fees, and medical expenses. Most people cannot afford to continue fighting insurance companies for a prolonged time. This means that most policyholders will be forced to settle for an amount favorable for the insurer by wearing down a claimant instead of continuing to negotiate with insurance companies for an extended period. In other words, they know that delaying claims forces policyholders to accept lower settlement offers.
Delaying claims can lower insurance company costs in other ways. For example, when an insurance company faces a surge of property damage claims, they can delay some of them to avoid mass payouts all at once. This limits the financial stress on insurers, shifts it to the policyholder, and allows insurers to invest funds from your paid premiums to earn interest revenue and offset some of the costs.
You wouldn’t have the IRS prepare your tax return and tell you what you owe. So why would you let your insurance company prepare your claim file for you and tell you what they’re going to pay you?
Are some insurance companies so sinister they would improperly handle any of these food plant claims to further prolong the recovery process? Hopefully not but perhaps the most shameful part of every insurance claim is that a portion of every policyholder’s premium is allocated to claims handling expenses.
This leaves some policyholders feeling they are paying insurance company adjusters to work against them as their adversaries and that’s just not right.
In 2019, ICRS public insurance adjusters settled a 700,000 square foot food manufacturing insurance claim that was originally denied by the insurance company in one year for millions of dollars without filing a lawsuit.
https://www.insuranceclaimrecoverysupport.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Food-Plant-Oregon.png6101170Scott Friedsonhttps://www.insuranceclaimrecoverysupport.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/ICRS-Insurance-Claim-Recovery-Support-Lakeway-Texas-Logo-ColorNew1.pngScott Friedson2022-07-12 19:13:152022-07-16 19:26:03What You Need to Know about Food Plant Fire Insurance Claims
The U.S. experienced unprecedented severe winter weather, including snow, ice, and freezing temperatures causing significant water damage to multifamily and commercial properties. The insured losses caused by winter storms, 2021 will likely exceed $50B. Read below to see what you need to know about insurance policies.
The good news is that most insurance policies cover damage caused by water, snow and ice. However, understanding your policy and avoiding disputes between insurance carriers and their policyholders concerning what a policy covers and what is excluded can be complex.
“Our advice,” say Insurance Claim Recovery Support CEO, Scott Friedson, “is review your insurance policy to determine your specific coverage. Some areas of damages often covered by multifamily or commercial property policies due to snow and freezing ice conditions may include water damage, pipe bursts, business interruption, building or roof collapse and ice dams.”
Virtually every region of Texas has been hit which could make this storm the most expensive in U.S. history. “The honest truth about insurance claims,” say Public Insurance Adjuster Friedson, with over a decade of experience settling large losses,” is that Policyholders bear the burden of proving their claim while Insurer’s have a duty to indemnify the insured in good faith. You can hope or you can plan but either way, if you have a claim, your insurance company’s representatives will adjust your claim, ‘their way'”. Engaging the public adjusting firm ICRS at the beginning of the claim process can make a big difference.
Before and after a winter storm, it is essential to know what to do should you run into any damage, emergencies or freezing. To learn about everything you need to know about your insurance policies and winter storm damage insurance claim, CLICK HERE.
https://www.insuranceclaimrecoverysupport.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Picture1.jpg646857Scott Friedsonhttps://www.insuranceclaimrecoverysupport.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/ICRS-Insurance-Claim-Recovery-Support-Lakeway-Texas-Logo-ColorNew1.pngScott Friedson2021-02-18 14:00:262021-12-10 16:55:10Insurance Policies and Texas Freeze: What Policyholders Need To Know To Survive “Largest Insurance Claim Event In History”
Avoiding Unnecessary Litigation With a Public Adjuster
Commercial contractors and their clients carry a lot of risk managing the time and expenses of dealing with insurance claims and unnecessary litigation. Overhead and profit, general conditions, policy language, interpretation of policy, code upgrades, negotiations, statutes, estimates, engineer reports, adjusters, attorneys, and appraisers are just a few of the factors to consider when settling an insurance claim. What is the best way to settle a large-loss property damage insurance claim?
Savvy contractors turn to a trustworthy public adjuster who legally negotiates and interprets policies on behalf of a policyholder to settle property damage insurance claims fairly and promptly.
Public adjusters are licensed and bonded in nearly every state. Their process includes reviewing the insurance policy for benefits and exclusions, inspecting buildings for damages, negotiating with the insurance company for maximum settlement in minimum time, helping to avoid unnecessary litigation and meeting with the insurer’s adjusters or representatives on site. A good first step is a line-item estimate to support the damage model and a request for an advance on a covered loss so the policyholder can get reimbursed for incurred mitigation expenses and start immediate repairs. Negotiating the full and final claim for the remaining policy benefits owed on a large loss often requires the expertise and authority of a public adjuster to get a claim settled fairly and promptly. The best public adjusters and contractors work together as a team.
Deadlines and Timing
The first deadline to be aware of is when a claim can be filed. Some policies allow filings to happen only within a year from the date of the loss.
Another important deadline deals with business interruption claims. Typical business interruption policies only provide loss of income benefits for a year from the date of loss. If a property damage claim isn’t settled within the same time frame as a business interruption claim, the policyholder could run out of time on his/her business interruption claim before the property is completely fixed and back in business.
How Can Public Adjusters Help Insurance Claims?
It is important to bring a reputable public adjuster into the process immediately when dealing with a large commercial loss. Though a public adjuster is able to come on board at any time or can even reopen closed claims, the time savings and ultimately getting a fair settlement amount are invaluable to both policyholders and contractors.
The whole process can be far more balanced when a good public adjuster is retained immediately. Public adjusters can hold insurers accountable. Insurance companies are required by law to give equal consideration to anything presented by a public adjuster that supports the insured’s claim in meeting the burden of proof. If policyholders wait to hire a public adjuster until after the insurance company partially paid some, but not all, of the money a claimant believes is owed, a supplemental claim can be opened by a public adjuster.
Policyholders carry the burden of proving their claim to an insurance company. Without considerable training and experience, navigating the process is a considerable challenge. Waiting for the insurer to make a coverage determination before engaging a knowledgeable public adjuster can cost a lot of time and money. All too often, after a property suffers damage, the policyholder files a claim, and then waits. Waiting and hoping that the insurance company will do the right thing can be very expensive.
Quite commonly, an insurance company sends out its representatives to document the company’s interests, not those of the policyholder. When no one is representing the policyholder’s best interest with any legal authority and the insurer knows it, settlement results tend to be disappointing.
Overturning coverage determinations takes some time. Insurance companies take their time in responding and defend themselves ferociously. Business owners who know time is money retain a public adjuster the moment they have a claim.
Every situation is different, and not every claim warrants the use of a public adjuster. Big claims can lead to big disputes.
A property owner’s insurance claim on a 700,000-square-foot (65,032.1 m2) facility was initially denied. Preparing to sue the insurance company, the property owner’s insurance broker suggested they consider a public adjuster. With the public adjuster’s help, the denial was completely reversed, and the claim was settled for seven figures.
Insurance appraisals cost policyholders money and cannot be performed on contingency of outcome. Plus, there are very few rules and usually no time frame to compel insurance companies to perform. As a result, large appraisals can take one to two years. In addition, most policies contain less-than-amicable terms for policyholders, whereby the insurer typically retains the right to deny any appraisal award even after it has been made.
Subpoenas, depositions, mediation, and courtroom trials can be expected in lawsuits. Many cases do not make it to court because insurance companies often settle claims in mediation. That may sound good on the surface, but this could backfire.
Let’s say a policyholder believes he/she is owed $2.1 million in damages because he/she has $1.5 million in property damages plus $600,000 in legal fees. During a required mediation, an insurance company may say, “We’ll pay no more than $1.9 million.” Figuring out repair costs and fees or letting a jury decide can be a difficult decision. An attorney may turn to a policyholder in mediation and say, “This is a business decision you’re going to have to make. We can take this bird in the hand, or we can roll the dice and go before a jury.” A lot of times, people will just settle, which you rarely hear about because they also have to sign a confidentiality agreement.
There are several reasons first-time clients of public adjusters often become long-time clients: less time, less stress, protection of rights, fewer disputes, professional documentation to support the maximum settlement, lower costs, most work on contingency, and peace of mind knowing that a licensed advocate is fighting for full policy benefits so you can take care of business. These are all invaluable benefits.
Insurance companies have experts working for them. You should, too!™
https://www.insuranceclaimrecoverysupport.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/ICRS-Insurance-Claim-Recovery-Support-Blog-Money-Matters-Image.jpg430675Scott Friedsonhttps://www.insuranceclaimrecoverysupport.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/ICRS-Insurance-Claim-Recovery-Support-Lakeway-Texas-Logo-ColorNew1.pngScott Friedson2020-07-06 12:03:022022-05-17 06:45:53Avoiding Unnecessary Litigation With a Public Adjuster
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