FROZEN PIPE CLAIMS

FROZEN PIPES AND WATER DAMAGE 

It’s February! And as temperatures across the US trend toward extreme, sub-zero climates and severe wind chill factors threaten to freeze and burst a great deal of pipes! But, keep in mind that as temperatures rise, ice and ice dams may cause further damage to doors, windows, drywall, flooring and paint. Insurance claims for water damage, in general, have increased to nearly 50 percent of total claims filed in recent years, each averaging around $10,000 in cost. Its therefore understandable why insurance companies would want to avoid these claims as much as property owners do.

Expectedly, there are greater numbers of frozen pipes claims in colder climates. Areas with older homes (where contractors were commonly using cast iron instead of PVC piping up until the 1980s) are prone to a greater volume of damages due to pipe corrosion. When determined that damage from a frozen pipe could’ve been easily prevented, most policyholders will be denied by their insurance companies. It is therefore of paramount importance to educate policyholders on the preventative measures they can take to keep pipes from freezing wherever possible. 

FROZEN PIPE CLAIM BEST PRACTICES

As a field or desk adjuster, there are several items to discuss and document on a water loss from frozen pipes. Here are some great things to document

  • Ask the insured if heat was maintained on the risk?
  • Ask the insured if the property have been vacant for any time period leading up to the loss.
  • Ask the insured to have the plumber/handyman to leave the section of damaged pipe with instructions to show it to the field adjuster and to retain the piece until the claim is settled.
  • Ask the insured to have the repair contractor to separate out cost for access to plumbing from the cost of the actual repairs.
  • Ask the insured to involve mitigation experts depending on the severity to ensure that unknown/hidden damages are identified.
  • Field adjusters should take a picture of the thermostat showing the interior temperature.
  • Field adjusters should take good overviews of the area the plumbing lines are located and images showing the damaged section or repair sections of supply lines. 

FROZEN PIPES COVERAGE

Each policy and individual state case law will have different criteria to determine if damages from frozen pipe claim will be covered. It is therefore important that as a local claims adjuster, you are current with the ongoing developments in your state’s industry to ensure that the insured individual’s claim isn’t covered or denied on a technicality. 

When applicable Frozen Pipes Coverage will include:

  • Water damage to home, property and/or contents, including personal effects, furniture and electronics. 
  • Costs relating to accessing plumbing, as in repairing drywall and flooring. 
  • Additional living expenses (or ALE) should homes become uninhabitable or need to be mitigated for mold and mildew damage. 

At Vector Risk Solutions our client’s experience is the most important part of the claims process. We strive to lay a foundation of trust and look for the path of least resistance to resolution. We work to educate our team, so that our adjusters can provide outstanding service to our client base. Our knowledgeable and experienced claims adjusters are posted nationwide, to be available at a moment’s notice at any local claims site. 

 For more information on the complexity of frozen pipes claims or assistance with investigating related losses, contact us at 1-800-451-0798 or email any assignment to claims@vectorrisksolutions.com. We’ll be happy to help you find unique solutions to complex issues created by cold weather.

 

The Complexity of Fire Losses

There are a variety of reasons why adjusting a fire loss is expected to be one of the more complex claims an adjuster may face. They can range from anything as minor as smoke damage to as severe as a home being reduced to nothing more than a pile of ashes. The complexity of these losses is not just the magnitude of the property damages but many times the emotional burden that is undertaken as you help an insured who has lost everything.

FIRE LOSS ADJUSTMENT NECESSITIES 

A DELICATE BEDSIDE MANNER 

Fire damage can be emotionally devastating for people who have lost their homes, belongings, or have had their entire family displaced. It’s the most delicate time to try and have a complex conversation about the details of a loss. The adjuster must have the wherewithal to consider the emotional effect the fire has on the policyholder, and proceed in a way that helps sooth anxieties as much as possible, while keeping the claims process on track.

HONESTY AND ACCURACY 

The insured, of course, will be anxious to learn how much coverage is available and if living expenses, cleaning and/or restoration services are covered. Sadly, sometime these are difficult conversations if the policy is underinsured or has limited coverage.

It is important for insurance companies to work with reputable claims firms who are well known for hiring adjusters who exemplify compassion and customer service. At Vector Risk Solutions, it is of paramount importance to us that our adjusters understand empathy and know how to communicate clearly and compassionately with clients, especially during times of high vulnerability and stress. 

A PRELIMINARY CHECKLIST 

Assuming there is no origin and cause questions, some of the major items an adjuster must first take into consideration involve whether the risk is over or underinsured, owner or tenant-occupied, and what coverages and limits are available such as Personal Property, Additional Living Expense, Ordinance and law,  or Replacement/ACV coverage in the existing policy. 

UNDERSTANDING IMPORTANT TERMINOLOGY 

It can be helpful for adjusters to clarify the meaning of these terms for policyholders who may not be as well-versed in the vernacular of insurance claims:

Actual cash value (or ACV) is considered to be replacement cost less depreciation. 

Replacement cost coverage is replacing materials with that of equal quality. 

Personal Property is defined as contents

Depreciation is a loss of value due to wear and tear, deterioration, or destruction. 

ALE (or additional living expenses) are debts that would not have incurred had the fire damage not occurred.

A loss that completely annihilates a structure, or renders it useless, is referred to as a total loss. Total losses completely exhaust a policyholder’s applicable insurance limit, which is why an asset may be referred to as “totaled.” 

At Vector Risk Solutions, we pride ourselves on the measures we take to educate our team so that our adjusters can provide outstanding service that exceeds the expectations of our clients. Our knowledgeable and experienced claims adjusters are posted nationwide, to be available at a moment’s notice at any local claims site. 

For more information on the complexity of fire losses, contact Vector Risk Solutions by calling us at 1-800-451-0798 or fill out the form on our contact page. We’ll be happy to help you find unique solutions to complex issues created by fire damage.

2020 Fall and Winter Weather Predictions

Like putting on the Christmas album before we’ve sat down to Thanksgiving dinner, it seems early to begin talking about winter while hurricane season extends beyond average expectations. But the recent warming trends that have caused record breaking hurricane activity in the Gulf this summer are expected to affect eastern and northern parts of the United States in the coming winter, with below-normal average temperatures in the western portion of the nation. With cold temperatures and snow in the north, droughts in the south, other parts of the U.S. could experience record breaking rainfall and precipitation. While upcoming fall forecasts are relatively mild, winter looks quite different from last year’s almost snow-free winter across the U.S.

What Average Temperature Changes Mean To Fall Storm Seasons  

Predictions based on the cooling of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean are a main variable known to influence the weather patterns that follow. This summer, above average warmth was recorded from near the Mississippi River all the way to the West Coast. From the Northeast across the central states to the West Coast, most cities in the U.S. are expected to experience warmer than average temperatures this fall. This makes the chances of an early snowfall season far less probable and the potential for drought much more likely. However, parts of the U.S. that saw cooler-than-normal temperatures are expected to have more difficult weather.

 

A Winter Weather Preview

As the leaves begin to change color and fall from the trees, above normal rainfall is expected to span the Deep South to the Northeast, as well as throughout the Pacific Northwest. Snowier periods will last longer in regions farther north, compared to the drier regions. Policyholders in the North can expect to see cooler-than-average temperatures with heavy snowfall and intense cold snaps.

 

What Insurance Carriers across the U.S. can expect from Fall and Winter 2020

Because of the change in average summer temperatures, it is probable that the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern regions will experience blizzards and bomb cyclones. According to The Farmers Almanac, the Great Lakes region will also see above-normal snowfall in the western Dakotas, northern Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, eastern Washington and Oregon. Eastern Ohio, Kentucky, and the Southern Plains can expect to receive copious amounts of rain, sleet and snow in early 2021.

Across the Southwest, Arizona, and southern California and Colorado, are expected to experience a mild winter, which is not good news considering drought conditions are literally spawning kindling for increasingly ferocious fire seasons. The Tennessee and lower Ohio River valley regions will be winter’s “wild card.” A rather intense weather system is expected to keep a mix of winter storms active here.

 

Who’s ready to say goodbye to 2020?

We are!! But not without adequate precautions and preparations taken for what 2021 could hold. Afterall, most of us owe 2019 a sincere apology! So, no matter where you are, break out those parkas, rain slickers and puffy winter coats. Currently changing weather patterns and intense winter weather systems are sure to keep the U.S. well acquainted with catastrophe and the need for reliable and effective insurance partnership. It’s only a matter of time before we receive an inundation of frozen pipes, fires,  

At Vector Risk Solutions, we are looking ahead. Our catastrophe services can be implemented at a moment’s notice. If your policyholder is experiencing a loss and you need to provide them with a reliable, trusted, and accurate adjuster, choose Vector. We know that the nature of catastrophic events are complex, and each claim is unique. It is our goal to see that our clients persevere in times of uncompromising natural devastation.

As Hurricane Season Continues, Numbers Can Be Deceiving

FACT: In September, 1999, Hurricane Floyd made landfall at Cape Fear, North Carolina as a Category 2 hurricane, with 105 mph winds. It produced heavy rainfall, which led to extensive power outages and severe flooding, that damaged thousands of homes. At the time, it was considered the most catastrophic storm in 40 years–not because of the wind, but because of the rain.

It’s a widely held belief, that the higher the storm category number, the greater the destruction the storm will leave in its wake. The strength of a hurricane (categorized by the Saffir-Simpson scale) is based on wind speed. A tropical storm becomes a hurricane once its sustained winds reach up to 74 miles per hour. As wind speed intensifies, the storm category may increase from a level 1 to a level 5.

But, numbers can be deceiving. An exception to this rule was exemplified in Hurricane Sally’s recent hit to our southeastern coast. Making landfall as a Category 2 storm (with 105 mph winds) Sally decreased to a Category 1. As she slowly moved in, communities along the AL/FL gulf coast saw torrential rains and storm surges leaving half a million Americans without power for days.

Though Sally may have lacked the wind speeds of her CAT 5 predecessors– storms like Irma and Katrina with winds that were powerful enough to flatten buildings and turn loose debris into projectile ammunition– Sally’s sluggish speed allowed more time to inundate the coastline with torrential rainfall.

No Water Too Deep 

In anticipation of the vastly fluctuating weather patterns and rising sea levels, Vector Risk flood adjusters are experienced in handling large quantities and varieties of claims associated with catastrophic flooding in the southeastern United States. Our policyholders own residential, manufactured, travel and trailer homes, as well as small commercial and large commercial buildings. Dealing with a flood loss is devastating on any scale, and it is imperative to work with a firm that is equipped to handle the stress and overwhelm that will certainly accompany a calamitous storm season. 

Each year the chances for flooding are predictably high in our territories, and 2020 is distinctly no exception. We keep our process simple, so as to carry out tranquil, solution-oriented protocol amidst what are often dramatically chaotic circumstances. Upon receiving an assignment, an NFIP certified flood adjuster will come out to inspect the property as soon as the flood waters begin to recede. At Vector Risk Solutions, our professionals work efficiently to quickly assess damages and expedite the claims process.

 

We’ll Keep You Afloat

Property owners along and inland of the Gulf Coast are on high alert that they need protection against catastrophic flood damage, and insurers are experiencing an unprecedented influx of more claims to process. With hundreds of experienced, skilled and licensed adjusters on our roster, we are not only equipped to handle a variety of claims, but are able to give special attention to a large quantity of new cases at once. Our clients consistently report significantly lower adjustment expenses and greater customer satisfaction after working with our firm. 

At Vector, we understand that the nature of flood loss is complex, and each flood claim is unique. If your policyholder is experiencing a catastrophic flood loss and you need to provide them with a reliable, trusted, and accurate adjuster, look no further. 

Contact Vector Risk Solutions today and get out ahead of the next storm.

CAT 5 Survival Guide

Fact: the 2020 Atlantic storm season is the first on record where nine tropical storms formed before August, with thirteen forming before September. Between Hurricane Hanna, Isaias, Marco, Laura, and Sally, this hurricane season is poised to be especially destructive – one might even call it a “Category 5 Hurricane Season”.

A true Category 5 is the highest classification that can be given to an accumulating storm. Winds of more than 157 MPH can be expected to destroy structures and cause week-long power outages, leaving affected areas uninhabitable for months or more. As insurance professionals, it’s our job to be available and on call amidst the most catastrophic of situations.

Your Claims Survival Plan 

Taking care of policyholders is your top priority as an insurance professional.

In order to maintain security during a chaotic storm season, it’s imperative to implement claims management solutions that are effective, and hire a reputable and experienced claims firm that can be trusted to provide first-rate solutions. We prioritize the client experience of the insured during a very stressful and chaotic situation, while working closely with the insurance carrier to streamline the claim experience.

 

Good Investments and Best Practices 

One of the best investments to be made in the face of ever changing weather patterns and costly storm seasons, is choosing to work with an effective and thorough independent adjusting firm. Make sure to hire a company with good, long standing relationships, that covers many areas spanning a large territory. Time is a precious commodity amidst a strong surge of catastrophe claims, and it is necessary to get the job done correctly the first time. Make sure to choose a firm that is well respected for the adjusters they employ.

What to Look For in a CAT Adjuster

A license alone doesn’t make a good claims adjuster. At Vector Risk Solutions, our adjusters extend our company ideals, and are selected to represent us based on their proficiency, attention-to-detail, character, and experience. 

A Vector Risk adjuster understands the insured is suffering a loss, sometimes a devastating one. These interactions must be handled carefully, compassionately, and professionally. More importantly, having the ability to meet the needs of the insured in a timely, efficient manner will save resources for both firms and clients. Pushing through as many claims as possible in a day often leads to sloppy, or incomplete work, that needs to be redone. At Vector, it is imperative to us that our adjusters work efficiently, but effectively. The quality of their education and on the job training creates a level of experience in our adjusters that is necessary to meet and uphold the Vector standard.

Your Recovery Plan

At Vector Risk Solutions, our catastrophe services can be implemented at a moment’s notice. No matter the circumstances, it is our goal to see that our clients persist and thrive in times of uncompromising natural devastation. Choose Vector Risk Solutions to make sure you are able to handle claims effectively at the height of the hurricane season. Contact us today to get started with your catastrophic claim management solutions. 

Flood Claims Experts

“Determine the thing that can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way.” – Abraham Lincoln

Everyone, including us here at Vector Risk Solutions, has been watching 2020 unfold in shock, like a movie you can’t take your eyes off.  It’s been absolutely crazy so far and where it’s going next is anyone’s guess.  For our 2020 insurance adjuster world, we have a couple of positive plot developments today, followed by the entrance of our hero, Vector Risk Solutions, of course, to save YOUR day!

Flood CLAIMS 

You’re no doubt aware that recent regulation changes enacted in July 2019 now allow homeowners in certain limited markets to purchase flood insurance from private insurers (not solely the National Flood Insurance Program).  Advanced flood modeling techniques have aided private insurers in creating residential flood policies, and most importantly, lenders are beginning to accept these policies.  From what we know about climate change and rising sea levels, the market for flood insurance isn’t going away any time soon.

Sophisticated flood models now indicate that our present understanding of flood risk is actually already insufficient.  According to Matthew Eby, founder and executive director of the First Street Foundation, a group of academics and experts based in New York City, the number of US properties at risk for flood damage is far higher than existing FEMA estimates.  First Street’s evidence, reported in the June 29, 2020 issue of the New York Times, shows that 14.6 million properties are at risk of experiencing a 100-year flood, nearly double the 8.7 million estimated by FEMA.  The increase is linked to better data on inland flood risk, including increased rainfall due to climate change.  Analysis for Gulf Coast and Mississippi River properties, however, showed a slight decline, according to First Street, since FEMA has historically focused so much flood analysis on those regions those numbers are relatively higher.

Flood Claims Adjusters

With private flood insurance now in the picture and new analysis of inland flood risk putting property owners on notice that they may need protection against devastating flood damage, insurers will have more claims to process than ever.  Vector Risk Solutions to the rescue!  We have over 400 hundred independent adjusters on our roster, all highly skilled and licensed in states which require licenses.  Many of our adjusters have multiple licenses.  All our independent adjusters meet the high standard of our three core values: integrity, ingenuity, and excellence.

Vector can not only provide dedicated and experienced adjusters to handle claims.  We also consult with insurer clients to evaluate their claims processing and maximize productivity through streamlined, improved procedures.  With our inclusive training and implementation process, Vector creates consensus and thorough understanding of new processes.  Our clients consistently report significantly lower adjustment expenses and greater success in meeting and exceeding performance goals after working with Vector Risk Solutions.

If you’re already issuing, or are considering, new residential flood policies, Vector is your go-to for quick, expert flood claims adjusting.  And for whatever other adjusting challenges 2020 throws your way, Vector Risk Solutions are experts in the fields of catastrophe adjusting, commercial agribusiness, commercial claims, liability, TPA & consulting, and appraisal services.  Let us show you what we can do!

INSURANCE CLAIMS UPDATE

In June, our blog covered the growing number of COVID-19-related business interruption claims, and whether or not those claims could, or likely would, be paid.  Since then, more interruption claims have been filed, rejected, and proceeded to litigation.  Because it appears we’re looking at a new wave of COVID cases, it’s reasonable to expect more interruption lawsuits and government response.

BUSINESS CLAIMS LITIGATION

Notable among new denied claims litigation is a business interruption lawsuit filed by Portland, Oregon business owners who urged Governor Kate Brown to shut down the state in the spring so that they could file business interruption claims based on her exercise of civil authority.  Plaintiff business owners were then outraged to discover that their claims were denied.  State shutdown orders don’t include physically cordoning off the businesses as we usually see required by the interruption coverage terms. (In hindsight, someone should have read the policy first.)

Fifteen minor league baseball teams are suing over denied interruption claims in Pennsylvania federal court. Plaintiffs include the Chattanooga Lookouts and the Amarillo Sod Poodles.

FEDERAL AND STATE BUSINESS INTERRUPTION CLAIMS LEGISLATION

As we anticipated in June, Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) has introduced the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act (HR 7011) in the House.  The bill would require the Fed to shoulder 95% of losses above the deductible, up to $750 billion. Mike Thompson’s (D-CA) grandstanding Business Interruption Coverage Act has, predictably, stalled in committee.  Several states are attempting similar legislation, but have faced strong counter-efforts from industry trade groups, including APCIA (the American Property Casualty Insurance Association).

Louisiana’s COVID insurance bill has passed the state’s Senate and advanced to the House, making it technically the leader among state efforts to force payment of business interruption claims which were denied based on policy exclusions. However, the bill was amended by the Louisiana Senate to remove the requirement of COVID-19-related business interruption coverage, so SB 477, even if passed, wouldn’t apply retroactively to claims filed prior to enactment.  All other similar state bills remain in committee or have yet to be introduced.

CIVIL DISORDER AND FUTURE HURRICANE DAMAGE

Meanwhile, the riots and related looting as an unfortunate side effect of the Black Lives Matter movement (while not anywhere near the financial impact of COVID-19) have achieved the distinction in our industry of being the first ever riot and civil disorder catastrophic event to occur in multiple states.  As of June 25, these damages are projected by analyst Meyer Shields to be “relatively modest”.  By way of comparison, the 1992 Los Angeles riots set new US records with damages at $1.4 billion, inflation adjusted.

Considering the above-average hurricane season predicted for this year (described in our May blog post), it looks like 2020 will be a historic year for our industry.  If you haven’t contacted Vector Risk Solutions about our independent adjusters, you’d better get right on that.  Get started with us today and be prepared for the second half of a year of unprecedented claims!

BUSINESS INTERRUPTION CLAIMS DURING THE PANDEMIC

Can Insurance Save Our Economy from COVID-19?

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, business interruption claims have become a national topic.  Pundits, insurance commissioners, trade spokespersons, national legislators, and even POTUS are weighing in on whether existing insurance contracts are enforceable by businesses now experiencing losses due to mandatory civil closures and other pandemic-related causes.

President Trump, speaking at a daily White House Coronavirus Task Force Update in early April, said that while some insurance policies specifically exclude pandemic coverage, “in a lot of cases, I don’t see it. I don’t see reference, and they don’t want to pay up. I would like to see the insurance companies pay if they need to pay.” These comments sent many lawyers to the courthouse to file a plethora of unwarranted lawsuits and burdened insurer’s across the country with defending the facts of the policy against the president’s implication that the “coverage” exists and they should “pay up”.

The question, though, isn’t whether it would be great for the economy if insurers swooped in and cleaned up the whole economic fall-out of an unprecedented national pandemic. The question is whether existing policy language creates a contractual obligation for insurers to pay and a bigger question of, Can they afford to pay?

Are COVID-Related Interruption Claims Covered By Existing Policies?

Feasibility aside for the moment, most “all-risk” policies wouldn’t cover these losses because, as we understand but the general public does not, pandemic-related losses do not cause “physical property damage”, a required trigger on most commercial policies for the extension of coverage for business interruption claims.  Plaintiff insureds might allege that the virus itself is a hazardous substance, and its presence at the business location constitutes property damage.  This strategy might mirror federal cases in New Jersey, Oregon, and New Hampshire, where the presence of ammonia or other harmful gases was found to be “property damage”.  However, if a plaintiff’s own house, car, church, grocery store, and every other place in the country is also filled with the same harmful substance (the virus), could one argue that subrogation needs to be equally extended to all of the above parties for contributing to the loss…the argument sounds as ridiculous as the strategy. 

Unfortunately, there may be more pressure on insurance companies to wave magic wands and fix the economy.  Class action lawsuits over denied business interruption claims are forming and lining up in court to be heard (to name just a few:  Bridal shop class-action over biz interruption claim denial; Pizza restaurant class-action; Midwest restaurants class-action; New Jersey restaurant class action). A Texas plaintiff movie theater is now suing Lloyd’s of London over a $1 million policy with a specific endorsement for pandemics caused by SARS-mutated viruses, which COVID-19 is.  After witnessing Ebola, Lloyd’s created this policy endorsement to plug the pandemic loophole, although hardly anyone could have imagined business interruptions on our current global scale.  Lloyd’s denied the theater’s claim because the endorsement doesn’t explicitly mention COVID-19, but this kind of hair-splitting over undefined policy terms can only be settled by expensive litigation and attracts negative press and political attention.

A group of small businesses in California is trying a different approach to their losses.  They filed a class-action suit against China, alleging business losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Don’t hold your breath on that one.

Can Insurers Fund a National Bailout Via Interruption Claims?

On March 26, the Association of Property and Casualty Insurance estimated that business-closure losses for employers with fewer than 100 workers would total $220 billion to $383 billion per month. Then on April 6, those numbers were updated to $255 billion to $431 billion. (Note: these projections are ALL losses, not just those suffered by businesses that had purchased business-interruption coverage. Still, those are huge numbers, and more than the insurance industry could possibly absorb.

As North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey said in his April 17 letter, “Standard business interruption policies are not designed to provide coverage for viruses, diseases, or pandemic-related losses because of the magnitude of the potential losses,” Causey said.

Causey went on, “Insurability requires that loss events are due to chance and that potential losses are not too heavily concentrated or catastrophic. This is not possible if everyone in the risk pool is subject to the same loss at the same time.”

Legislative Response To Denied COVID Claims

Legislators are scrambling to transfer businesses losses to insurers, even if they have to essentially re-draft existing insurance contracts.  Mike Thompson (D-CA) and eight Democratic co-sponsors have introduced House Resolution 6494, which would require insurance companies to offer interruption insurance for any viral pandemic.  It also appears from the language on its face that coverage exclusions in existing policies for business interruptions caused by viral pandemic, including our current COVID-19 pandemic, would be rendered void.

While this partisan effort from California might win applause from the sponsors’ constituents, it’s doubtful that the courts would support this unilateral attempt to rewrite existing contracts.  This House Resolution appears more grandstanding than a serious attempt at legislating since it’s almost certain to fail.

Representative Carolyn Maloney’s (D-NY) work-in-progress, a Pandemic Risk Insurance Act (“PRIA”), appears somewhat more likely to succeed.  This proposal would bring in the federal government to share risk on future business interruption policies, similar to our existing Terrorist Risk Insurance Act.  Some in the insurance industry have responded that paying all pandemic-related business interruption claims would wipe out reserves and preclude paying any other types of claims.

The future of this proposed legislation, and the growing number of lawsuits over denied claims, is uncertain.  For now, we wait to see the outcomes.  Meanwhile, the economic fallout from COVID-19 mounts and the cost of defending against these claims will only continue to rise.

Hurricane Season 2020

Handling catastrophic claims caused by hurricanes is a standard part of our business, and Vector Risk Solutions’ independent adjusters have both experience and well-honed procedures to handle these claims quickly and smoothly.  Even though these claims are routine because we expect and prepare for them every year, the devastation hurricanes create is anything but routine to insureds with damaged and destroyed buildings, interrupted businesses, and even injuries and loss of life.  When you need fast claims resolution during the 2020 hurricane season, Vector Risk Solutions is standing by to ensure a quick inspection and complete resolution for you and your policyholders.

Recent Hurricane Activity and Damages

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2019 marked a fourth consecutive year of above-average hurricane activity.  The only other such period came in 1998-2001, during which Hurricane Floyd wreaked an estimated $6.5 billion in damages and 76 fatalities on its path starting on the coast of Africa, followed by slamming into the Bahamas before careening up the Mid-Atlantic to New England.  Three years ago (2017) we experienced the fourth worst Atlantic hurricane season on record during the satellite era, according to Weather.com, during which three Category 4 hurricanes, Harvey, Irma, and Maria, caused an estimated quarter-trillion dollars of property damage in the US.  That’s a huge amount of adjusting, and Vector Risk Solutions’ independent adjusters were in high demand as insurers worked overtime to settle record numbers of claims.

Hurricane Season Forecasts for 2020

Forecasters at Colorado State University also predict above-average hurricane activity in 2020, with an expected 16 named tropical storms developing into eight hurricanes, four of which are expected to be major storms in Categories 3, 4, and 5.  (By contrast, an average hurricane season consists of 12 named tropical storms resulting in six hurricanes.)  Meteorologists base their 2020 hurricane forecasts partly on weak El Niño effects this past winter and the possible appearance of La Niña, which typically heralds increased hurricane activity, as it did in 1998-2001. Click here to see the effect of La Niña on the four previous years of consecutive hurricanes.

VECTOR RISK SOLUTIONS AT YOUR SIDE

So what’s all this meteorology got to do with us?  You already know – no matter what the experts say, storms are going to blow and tons of damage claims are going to pour in; claims need speed and accuracy to resolve. Who do you call?  Since you want fast, expert adjusting that makes you the hurricane claims hero, you’re going to put Vector Risk Solutions on speed dial.  Come hurricane season 2020, you’ll be glad you did. 

Want to know more about our Catastrophe claim services? Email us at info@vectorrisksolutions.com

Information about previous hurricanes:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_hurricanes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Harvey https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Atlantic_hurricane_season

Additional 2020 hurricane forecasts:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/04/02/hurricane-forecast-2020-eight-hurricanes-predicted-form/5110828002/

 

Liability Investigations: Special Handling Required

Liability claims, in both commercial and residential contexts, can be complicated but are fascinating in scope and the variety of causes and damages. Slip-and-falls, vehicle accidents, product and construction liability, unlike weather-related claims, are typically caused by human errors, negligence, and wrongdoing.  After a tornado rips through your insured’s commercial building, the damage may be extensive but at least the cause is clear unless underlying construction or engineering defects contribute to the loss. In liability claims, though, the insured may be partly or even wholly the cause of the accident. The insured may not be the injured party (this would be your potential third-party defendant, more on this later), and due to this, liability claims, like construction defect claims, are more likely to become adversarial.

Investigative and Interpersonal Skills Required

So along with the adjuster’s usual toolkit of loss assessment and policy knowledge, additional interpersonal and analytical skills are absolutely necessary.  The liability claims adjuster who is respectful and relatable is better at getting information and detailed statements from the myriad of involved parties, including possible witnesses and experts.  An in-house adjuster who has an excess of claims to keep moving, or who just isn’t that good at establishing rapport and getting folks talking, isn’t as likely to get a true picture of the events leading to the claim.  Speed in addressing new claims is imperative, but the liability claim investigation must get all the facts from the parties and witnesses in order to correctly determine not just loss, but also cause and fault.

Some of these parties, notably an injured third-party claimant, will lawyer up right away, and these situations require an especially careful, persistent and expert approach.  Experienced independent adjusters understand the role and limits of attorneys who represent injured parties in the adjusting process. Vector Risk Solutions independent claims adjusters are experts at listening and analyzing all parties’ statements with the goal of settling these claims quickly and inexpensively, or making them go away entirely if possible.

Preserving the Record

Adjusting liability claims also require meticulous record-keeping, including making and preserving audio/visual recordings from all parties and witnesses.  When human actions are involved, a good photographic record can only go so far to explain the events which lead to the claim. Claimants, the insured and witnesses sometimes die or become disabled prior to settlement, so while a video recording of a witness statement, for example, isn’t a sworn deposition, it may be crucial later after memories fade and witnesses are lost if the settlement can’t or doesn’t occur quickly.

Vector Risk Solutions is confident that our independent claims adjusters have the broad-based expertise and knowledge required to accurately analyze and adjust liability claims as well as other commercial, residential, daily, catastrophic and agribusiness claims.  We stake our reputation on our adjusters, and we’re ready to prove to you why our reputation is deservedly the best in our industry.

Contact Vector Risk Solutions today to get started, by calling us at 1-800-451-0798 orsending us a message on our contact page