For over 20 years, I’ve represented homeowners in front of large insurance companies. I spend my days assisting my clients in the preparation, presentation, negotiation, and adjustment of their insurance claims. Today, I’m sharing an experience I had while handling a property damage claim in Winnetka:
How did you first become involved with this claim?
One day, I received a call from a former client. I’d helped him with a water damage claim at one of his rental properties in 2004. This time, he was calling to ask if I could help his parents. They were an elderly couple and they owned a home in Long Beach. Someone had driven a car through the wall of their living room.
What was your reaction to this call?
At first, I was surprised to hear the details of the case, but we quickly got down to business. When you’re dealing with water damage or fire damage, it’s easier to determine your coverage limits. I knew that a claim like this would be complicated, and I wanted to ensure that the couple received the full settlement they were owed. Most homeowner policies will cover “sudden and accidental events”. Although this incident certainly qualified, I anticipated they’d receive some pushback from their insurance provider regarding the enlistment of a structural engineer.
With a case like this, where do you begin?
I began by visiting the home in person. After speaking with the couple, I discovered that the insurance company’s adjuster had already visited the property. Following his visit, he’d hired a restoration company. The team came to the house to repair the stucco, drywall, and paint.
Did the engineer find structural damage?
The engineer opened the walls from the inside and discovered that the mainframe was cracked.
After we showed his findings to the corporate adjuster, the company reimbursed us for the inspection fee. Over the next few weeks, we worked with the engineer’s recommendations to rebuild the walls, support the ceiling and close the hole in the wall. This process took time because the couple was living in the home during repairs. We also needed to secure city approval for certain modifications to the structural frame.
How was this claim resolved?
In the end, the couple obtained a very large settlement because the repair process required special engineering. With time, we were able to return the home to a pre-loss condition. The wall looks brand new and the structure is reinforced and sound.
I formed a close, personal relationship with these homeowners. The wife was welcoming and friendly while the husband was a veteran, always ready to lend a hand with repairs. Both the husband and wife told me that they were extremely grateful for my assistance in negotiating with the insurance company. As I look back on this experience, I’m reminded that homeowners like these are the reason that I do what I do.