Larry Bache, who will talk about Hurricane Sally claims in Florida, was debating with Derek Chaiken in our Los Angeles office about smoke residue claims versus char claims from the California Wildfires when I came up with the brilliant idea of holding an impromptu seminar with Merlin Law Group attorneys about all the ongoing catastrophes, on my Tuesdays at 2 With Chip. Deborah Trotter is licensed in Louisiana and will join us about Hurricane Laura claims. Ashley Harris is licensed in Alabama and will join us in about Hurricane Sally claims there. I am licensed just about everywhere but will concentrate on Texas claims from Beta.
One of the most interesting discussions I’ve had recently was with Larry Bache and Derek Chaiken, concerning the costs needed to prove a smoke damage case. They were discussing the costs to prove and remediate homes devastated by wildfires in California and Colorado. It is easy for many insurers to challenge purely smoke damage claims, do nothing, and then say, “prove it.”
In my mind, most of these “expert” costs to “prove it” should be paid for by the insurance company. Still, can you really trust an insurance company response if they sent out an expert to review the situation?
I noted this concern in Insurance Company Experts Are Often Biased And Outcome Oriented, and Experts Regarding Causation Can Be More Important Than Witnesses — or, Don’t Believe Your Lying Eyes When Your Insurance Company Hires an Expert.
Unfortunately, many experts hired by insurance companies following the losses, as we will discuss later today, are not paid to fully and as carefully look for all the damages and benefits to which a policyholder is entitled. Instead, some insurance company experts write reports which indicate otherwise and reduce the amount of claims payments. I understand that many in the insurance industry may disagree with my last sentence, but a non-profit association was started to combat what they feel is a plague of fraudulent and biased reports harming policyholders and restoration contractors, as I noted in, American Policyholder Association Makes Resonating Comments About Insurance Fraud Against Policyholders.
I took a deposition yesterday of an independent adjuster who said that the insurer, through its desk adjuster—who never went to the loss site and never spoke with the insured customer—was making decisions on the amount to be paid relying solely on a non-licensed expert consultant to determine the evaluation of the building damages. Are company and independent adjusters becoming replaced by surrogate non-licensed consultants making adjustment decisions? My view is “yes,” but I am curious about what others in the insurance claims industry think.
We will discuss the basics of claims adjustment requirements from each of these states in our Livestream panel discussion today. Hope you can attend, and you can ask questions in advance.
Thought For The Day
One must not let oneself be overwhelmed by sadness.