The tornado season of 2012 is underway and already it has been active. Numerous reported tornadoes hit throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex on April 3, 2012 not to mention the devastation of Tuscaloosa and Birmingham.
As many home and building owners are gathering their personal effects and assessing their immediate situation, for professionals, it is time to help assess one’s damage and to properly assist in preparing a claim or restoring a building based on years of experience doing just this.
Now is the time that community leaders and homeowner association boards have to make hard decisions; and selecting the right professionals to get the job done is job one.
Step One Restoration Plan:
Restoration plans in badly damaged areas has often times been pushed by insurance claim values; an understanding of the damage; as well as a knowledge of the current building codes which are critical in making decisions as to raze, replace or to restore a property. These plans will almost always not be occurring as quickly as one had hoped and there will be new adjusters assigned to files as some of the initial adjusters return to writing claims in their respective home towns. Decisions made by policyholders involve a delicate balance and careful understanding of an insured’s available coverages and exclusions, damages to the structure, and code changes since the original construction.
Hiring the right people to determine these needs can be the “penny that saved the pound.”
The right person may include:
- Insurance Appraisers: This is a process included in most property policies allowing for appraisal to occur. This process is an alternative dispute resolution that allows the values of the property damage, business interruption & contents to be resolved without extended litigation. In some cases, an attorney may be necessary to oversee this independent process.
- Roofing Contractors or Consultants: Roofing specialists can diagnose the cost and/or need for either re-roofing or repairing the roof system of a damaged structure. The National Roofing Contractors Association [www.nrca.net] is an excellent resource; another class act group is the www.rciowi.com or the RCI of which I am an active member.
- Exterior Envelope Replacement Contractors: Consulting an exterior specialty contractor greatly helps in making decisions on how to implement temporary measures. For the long run, these contractors can set out a plan for the replacement of the damaged exterior components starting with good framing, flashing, windows and then claddings. I recommend careful attention to weather resistant barriers and the selection of quality windows. In most cases, a specialty contractor will work under the direction of a general contractor or architect. A great organization for the selection of a waterproofing specialist or detailed construction consultant is www.eeba.org.
- Photographs: Digital photographs, both pre- and post-storm, can be instrumental in understanding damages later; be sure to have numerous photos of various areas of the damaged property. You can never have too many photos of the damages, both contents and property.
- Contents Experts and Appraisers: The use of an appraiser or interior designer is a sound way to establish and price the inventory of property affected by a tornado; www.ria.com can help in this respect.
- Counsel: In the worst of cases on either side, it may be time to think of hiring a lawyer to guide the prosecution or defense of a claim. www.findlaw.com or www.lexisnexis.com are excellent referral sources for the legal community.
The purpose of this information is to give a few opinions that may be of use to a person whose financial future lies on a good outcome with their insurer and to those charged with assuring that people are paid a fair dollar for their damage.
Complete General Contractors, Inc. specializes in hurricane damage restoration from residential, commercial, industrial and by municipality. John Minor has worked post-hurricane sites since Opal in 1995; his experience is far reaching – from the Carolina’s to Texas and all along the coast of Florida. The staff of Complete can meet with you to review your preparedness plan, and we will be there afterwards should you ever need us. We specialize in the actual restoration, prevention, as well as, dispute resolution of a claim. Call the company the pros choose – call Complete.
This information should not be substituted for professional legal advice; consult with your lawyer for legal advice and ask your insurance professional to discuss the details of your policy and insurance needs.