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Posted in Business and insurance

Florida Claim Help

Summary

A devastating natural gas explosion in a Toronto suburb serves as a rude awakening for a group of homeowners. The amount of insurance they think they have is not what they’re offered by their insurance companies. Rather than settle for less, the homeowners form a self-help group to fight their case. And they enlist the help of public insurance adjusters, independent agents who will do their own damage estimates and then take on the insurance companies.

More Information
We all buy home insurance hoping we never have to use it but if disaster strikes, we expect to be looked after. That’s what a group of Ontario home owners thought after a gas explosion rocked their neighborhood. Instead, they ended up in a bitter dispute with their insurance company.

On July 31, 1996, the quiet neighborhood in Thornhill, north of Toronto, was shattered by a natural gas explosion in a basement. One house was blown apart. No one was killed but six people were injured. Two of them, seriously. Roofs were lifted, windows were shattered. Walls bulged. In all, 11 houses have been condemned and unfit to live in.

Natural gas explosions can be devastating. The Calgary fire department conducted this controlled blast as part of a training exercise. It gives you some idea of what happened in Thornhill, where the explosion was blamed on the newly-installed gas water heater.

The homeowners in Thornhill had home insurance. One house was insured for one-hundred-eighty-two-thousand dollars to cover the cost of replacing the house.… Read the rest

Posted in Business and insurance

Florida Mold Adjuster

When Beverly Hammond discovered black and green mold growing in her hall closet last fall, she wanted her family to evacuate the house immediately.

She suspected the gooey fungus was causing her husband’s frequent nosebleeds and her 16-year-old daughter’s sudden memory loss. Toxic mold can cause such symptoms, she knew, but she had no idea where her family of four could move.

So, Hammond set up six tents in her backyard in Seabrook, east of Houston. Her family has been living in this encampment for six months. And the first insurance adjuster showed up only six weeks ago, Hammond says. She fears it will take months before her house problems are resolved.

“The whole game of insurance is not to pay,” she says.

Like thousands of other distraught homeowners, she feels betrayed by the insurance company she had paid to help in a catastrophe.

All over the nation, the American dream of homeownership is being hampered as insurance companies become inundated with costly mold claims stemming from water damage.

In Texas alone, the top five insurance carriers saw their mold claims quintuple in a year.

The carriers paid more than $1 billion on mold settlements the past two years, according to the Texas Department of Insurance.

Texas and California have had the highest number of claims for mold. As a result, many people there are finding it nearly impossible to get insurance when trying to buy a house.

Toxic mold is not the dark scum often found around the bathtub. Instead, it can grow unseen behind walls and on wood as a result of a water leak.… Read the rest

Posted in Business and insurance

Public Adjusters in Florida

Public claims adjusters can level
the playing field for you

By Joe Frey

Your house has just been badly damaged by an earthquake: foundation cracking; wall collapsing; roof leaking. Many homes in your neighborhood have been hit just as hard and insurance company claims adjusters are becoming more prevalent than dog-walkers. You can’t remember the last time you looked at your homeowners policy. Do you know what you’re entitled to?

Unfortunately, most people don’t know the details of their policies because they are chock full of legalese. However, in the case of home or property damage (not auto-related), consumers can turn to public claims adjusters to decipher their policies and get them a fair settlement with their insurance company.

Public adjusters work for both individuals and businesses, but most cater to the individual policyholder. Jim Dilks, a public adjuster with Tri-State Public Adjusters, based in Bensalem, Pa., says that about 80 percent of his company’s business comes from homeowners.

“Insureds don’t need to hire an adjuster for a fire on the gas range and a little bit of smoke damage,” says Stephen R. Figlin, president of TAG-The Adjusters Group, based in Philadelphia. However, you should hire an adjuster if your lifestyle is significantly disrupted. That is, when you can’t handle finding new living arrangements, filing a claim, and arranging for a damage survey of your property, you should bring in a public adjuster.

Public adjusters have to follow the guidelines written in their state that say what they can and can’t do.… Read the rest