Post Snowpocalypse Insurance Claims

Posted on March 20, 2015

The snow has melted, but what has been left behind in its wake are plenty of damaged homes, and people dealing with costly repairs and insurance companies.

We ran into Steve Aronson of Aronson Insurance recently as he was discussing with a client the ins and outs of filing a claim related to snow damage. He shared information that we thought would be helpful for others to know, so we invited him to offer some insight into the process.

First, most insurance companies do not have the staff to handle such a large claim load so they have had to employ emergency measures to keep the claims moving.

1. They have brought in “storm chaser” adjusters from other parts of the country. These adjusters are not necessarily familiar with our area, our construction type, and of the costs to build in the Boston area. While these traveling adjusters won’t be able to finish most claims, they have done a great job of making initial contact with policyholders, making initial assessment, and getting the claim moving.

2. Wet areas, including insulation must be dried completely and quickly to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to care for their property. If the homeowner has to do some work to the home before the insurance company adjuster gets there, they are well advised to take lots of pictures, and save any damaged property.

3. After a claim has been filed, policyholders can include the cost of clearing their roof and removing ice dams in order to reduce further damage. Claims adjusters are approving “reasonable” quote amounts for this work. However, less scrupulous contractors took advantage of many homeowners panic, and charged exorbitant rates. Insurance company adjusters need to be flexible in these cases.

4. Some Insurance companies are issuing a ‘claims advance’ initial check. Policyholders can use this as a 1st payment to their contractors so that the repair work can commence.

5. While initial assessments and advance payments were made by insurance companies, reputable contractors need to be engaged by homeowners to give a firm assessment/estimate of the ultimate repair costs. There may be cases where adjusters and contractors simply can’t agree. Fair negotiation needs to take place so that the homeowner is not disadvantaged.

Steve concludes by stating, “Insurance agents and brokers need to step in and assist their clients. This is an opportunity for them to shine, rather than disappear or simply blame the insurance company if things are not going well.”

Thanks to Steve Aronson for providing this content.

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