In this installment of my Oklahoma Coverage Series, I will address issues recently reported to us as being significant and frequent disputes between Oklahoma carriers and their policyholders relating to roof replacement claims.

Failure to Investigate Building Code

Roofing contractors and public adjusters in Oklahoma tell me that insurance carrier field adjusters not only fail to investigate building code requirements on their own, but also fail to accept documentation regarding building code requirements when provided to the field adjuster from the policyholder’s representative.

Kevin Witten, of Norman, Oklahoma’s Witten & Associates Public Adjusters, reports his experience has been that carrier field adjusters rarely investigate building code requirements on their own. Even worse, a majority of the carrier field adjusters with whom Kevin has dealt even refuse to acknowledge building code requirements when Kevin has done their work for them.

"I can’t tell you how many times I have been on a roof with a carrier adjuster that has agreed to full roof replacement for the policyholder," Kevin explains. "I then hand the carrier’s field adjuster irrefutable documentation relating to the building code requirements for the roof replacement." Instead of gratitude one might expect for someone helping to get their job completed correctly, Kevin shakes his head and says, "the field adjuster’s typical reply is that they ‘aren’t allowed to write for code’ or ‘that will have to be handled on the back end’."

Failure to Replace All Components

As has been reported to us from states all across the country, Oklahoma carriers often refuse to replace all roofing components, even when a complete roof replacement has already been acknowledged.

"More often than not, carriers refuse to replace any metal component because they say the component’s functionality would not have been compromised," says Vertex Roofing & Construction’s Donnie Seburg. "The carrier desk adjusters making those decisions have obviously never been involved in actually tearing off and replacing a roof," notes Mr. Seburg, "or they would understand the futility of trying to perfectly reshape and reattach any metallic roofing component."

Failure to Pay General Contractor O&P

As we’ve also seen in many states around the country, Oklahoma field adjusters often refuse to include General Contractor Overhead & Profit.

"The most distressing aspect of the recent O&P refusals in Oklahoma," explains Mr. Seburg, "is the fact that no O&P allowance is provided in the estimate no matter how many trades are involved. For years, carriers have tried to refuse O&P when less than three trades are involved. Recently, though, Oklahoma carriers are trying to refuse O&P even when the repairs require plenty of trades to follow the carrier’s previous protocol for paying O&P."

What Does This Mean for Me?

As explained in my previous post on Oklahoma Coverage issues, time may be running out to bring a lawsuit against the carrier if your property was damaged as part of the rash of storms that hit Oklahoma in 2013. We encourage Oklahoma policyholders to examine their claims to see whether any of the referenced claims handling deficiencies existed in their claim as well.

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