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-e1664458660318.png5211000Scott 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
Texas Winter Storm Will Yield largest Claims Event In History
Texas Winter Storm Will Cause $18 Billion In Estimated Damages
With billions of dollars in damage expected from the historic Texas winter storm, a state regulator plans to collect data from property insurers to assess costs stemming from a crippled electrical grid, roofing collapses, broken pipes, and other problems, a spokesman said on Friday, February 19th.
Texas insurers expect “…hundreds of thousands of claims…” said Camille Garcia, Insurance Council of Texas spokeswoman on Thursday.
Bitter cold weather and snow have paralyzed Texas since Sunday, February 14th, shutting down much of the state’s electricity grid and freezing pipes and waterways, leaving communities across the state either without water altogether or forced to boil it for safety.
“We expect this to be a large event, but we just don’t know how large it will be,” said Texas Department of Insurance spokesman Ben Gonzalez, noting that the data inquiry mirrors the regulator’s process after other major storms, such as hurricanes.
The process, set to begin in the coming weeks, comes as one firm that models catastrophe risk estimated at an $18 billion tab for property insurers.
Do you have additional questions on filing a claim? Ready to get started? Reach out to ICRS for more information today!
https://www.insuranceclaimrecoverysupport.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Insurance-Claim-Recovery-Support-Winter-Storm-Damage-Claim.jpg9601280Scott Friedsonhttps://www.insuranceclaimrecoverysupport.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/ICRS-Insurance-Claim-Recovery-Support-Lakeway-Texas-Logo-ColorNew1.pngScott Friedson2021-02-22 13:55:122021-09-21 08:51:09Winter Storm Will Yield largest Claims Event In Texas History
Matching is one of the most difficult issues to handle within the world of property insurance. For example, if after a hail storm, part of the owner’s siding is damaged, and their siding company no longer carries the existing siding, what is one to do? Should the entire property’s siding be replaced or is it acceptable for the siding company to simply repair the damage with “material of like kind and quality” or with “similar material.”
In the world of property insurance, there are many cases that lead to difficult decisions. One such case is matching statutes. Matching statutes refer to a situation in which some part of a structure’s siding was damaged and the company no longer carries that particular type of siding. What should the owner do? Should they replace all their siding or just repair it with a similar material? In this blog post, we will examine Texas’s law on how to handle these types of situations.
What is one to do when their property’s siding company no longer carries the existing siding? Should the entire property’s siding be replaced or is it acceptable for the siding company to simply repair the damage with “material of like kind and quality” or with “similar material”. This blog post will explore matching statutes in Texas.
Matching is one of the most difficult issues to handle within the world of property insurance. For example, if after a hail storm, part
of the owner’s siding is damaged, and their siding company no longer carries the existing siding, what is one to do? Should the entire property’s siding be replaced or is it acceptable for the siding company to simply repair the damage with “material of like kind and quality” or with “similar material.”
The Matching requirements for Texas are as follows; “Parol evidence rule. If a contract is ambiguous, extrinsic evidence may be relied upon to construe it.”
To read the Matching Statues for each state, click HERE.
Don’t let your insurer underpay or delay your Insurance Claim
Business owners trust the licensed public adjusting firm Insurance Claim Recovery Support, LLC (ICRS). We are one of the country’s oldest and leading Commercial and Multifamily insurance claim specialists with over $100M in claims settled fairly and promptly. We exclusively represent the interests of and advocate on behalf of policyholders and we’re not attorneys or contractors.
Policies typically require you to file your insurance claim promptly and the settlement process can be taxing. Interpretation of insurance policy language, settlement negotiations and meeting the burden of proving what you are rightfully owed can frustrate you to a point where you may even think about using your insurance company. Almost everyone we’ve ever helped felt the same frustration you do and very often we help policyholders successfully avoid unnecessary litigation. If you are dealing with a large commercial or multifamily property damage insurance claim, I urge you to consider the possibility of protecting your interests, being proactive and do not wait or waste your valuable time dealing with an insurance claim that you anticipate may be delayed or underpaid.
100% of the claims we represent have resulted in faster and/or higher settlements than the insurer’s original offer and we work on contingency, no recovery no fee. Everybody deserves a fair settlement, but the expertise required to successfully navigate the claim process is best left to experts who know how to win the repair vs. replace disputes associated with hail insurance claims.
Insurance companies are for-profit businesses. Minimizing your claim increases their profits. Why allow your carrier’s hired adjuster to document and settle your claim when they don’t represent your interests? Whatever stage your insurance claim is in, we solve insurance claim problems. I look forward to answering any insurance claim questions you may have.
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