In a catastrophic event like Hurricane Matthew, often insurance adjusters are spread thin with a large number of claims and time pressures to close claims. The insurance adjuster that comes to your home or business will likely not have the time to give your claim the attention it deserves. Even worse, personal property and business personal property claims are often time consuming and will likely receive even less attention.


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Greetings from my home in Boca Raton (smack dab in Hurricane Matthew’s path), just a few hours before the brunt of Hurricane Matthew is felt in Florida.  I would be remiss if I did not impart a last minute tip that could save folks a whole heck of a lot of headache when insurance claims start to arise from Hurricane Matthew – if you have not already done so, use these last few hours before the storm to adequately document the interior and exterior of your property … photos, photos, videos, videos, photos, videos, videos, photos … then some more photos and videos.  And, better yet, try to date and time stamp your photos and videos.


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When the storms of 2004 and 2005 slammed Florida and the Southeast, policyholders had a duty to notify the carrier of the loss and sometimes things went wrong during these communications. Part of the problem was because many claims were just telephoned in and many of the carriers used untrained adjusters who did not have the experience on how to handle and adjust hurricane losses. Many policyholders addressed this problem by hiring licensed public insurance adjusters to handle their claims; representation by lawyers well versed in this area of insurance law was also common with these hurricane losses. Today, policyholders still have a duty to notify the insurance company of a claim, and even with all the advancements in technology, you need to make sure your insurance company is properly on notice.


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Supplemental claims are becoming more common, especially on large projects where additional loss and damage may be discovered while completing the repairs or replacement. But what happens when the insurance company places conditions or limitations not contained within the policy upon the submission of a supplemental claim for additional or missed damages?


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Note: This guest blog is by Curtis Hutchens, an AV Martindale Hubell preeminent lawyer, a Florida Supreme Court Certified Civil and County Court mediator, a qualified arbitrator and a Windstorm Insurance Network (WIND) Umpire and Fellow and serves as President of WIND. He also serves the legal community as a Florida Bar Grievance and Fee Dispute Mediator and Arbitrator. He has earned the insurance industry designation of Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and serves as VP of his local CPCU society.

Follow these ten tips to get your property/home damage claim paid faster and in full. Your insurance carrier receives hundreds of claims, many of which are similar to yours. As the claims come in, the insurance company triages each claim and categorizes them as easy to pay, deny, investigate, or litigate. Most companies would challenge this characterization of their triage process as overly simplistic. Insurance carriers insist that they handle each claim individually based on the policy language, the facts of the loss and the law that applies. Regardless, your job is get your claim into the “easy to pay” category as soon as possible. You cannot eliminate the need of the company to investigate or adjust the claim, but by following these ten tips, your claim will be paid fully in the shortest time possible.


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Depending on who you talk to, some would say that our economy has recovered or improved since the recent recession. However, there are many individuals—in particular, homeowners—who are in financial difficulty and have no option but to file for bankruptcy. If you are going through the bankruptcy process, and you have an insurance claim pending, it is imperative you list or disclose the claim in the bankruptcy petition or amend if you have to. Here is the reason why.


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In California, there’s not a lot of case law specific on what an insurer must do for an insured after a loss regarding contents/ personal property claims. If a fire occurs or water loss, an insured is often place in a position where there their worldly possessions are ruin, destroyed, or in need of cleaning or repair. Over the last few months, I’ve been dealing specifically with disgruntled insureds frustrated with how various insurers are dealing with their respective contents issues. For the average insured, a large water or fire loss is, thankfully, a once in a lifetime experience. At those times, an insured is the most vulnerable and looks to their own insurer for guidance. It’s only after an insurer has provided poor or little guidance that an insured comes to me for help through their difficult situation.


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A major problem insureds regularly face after suffering a loss of any kind is documenting their contents claim. Most people do not keep receipts or detailed lists of all contents of their homes and proving proof of your lost contents can become very difficult. Even if you keep a list, it is entirely possible that the list was lost along with all of the property.


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