Irma, Your Customers and Their Insurance

In the wake of Irma Naples, Florida is experiencing a highly unprecedented situation that will continue to place an immense strain on the insurance industry and claims. This strain has caused an influx of unscrupulous, untrained and self-serving insurance industry professionals in the Naples area. As a construction professional, it is critical that you inform your current customers of certain issues in the event any of your work was damaged by Hurricane Irma.

Although insurers maintain some adjusters across the U.S. year-round they must redeploy staff from other areas or hire contract workers to fill gaps when catastrophes like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma strike. A lot of companies are scrambling to find enough insurance adjusters now to handle Irma’s claims and “[t]he one-two punch of Harvey and Irma is no question challenging to the industry,” said Kenneth Tolson, who heads the U.S. property and casualty division of Crawford & Co. Insurers and industry groups said thousands were headed to affected areas from other parts of the United States. An abundance of these adjusters are not licensed by the State of Florida. Novice errors, hastiness and/or not being familiar with software used for loss estimates can reduce or delay insurance payments adding to difficulty many of you are already facing. In fact, over the course of handling numerous claims in the wake of Irma, nearly every initial inspection/appraisal has been undertaken by someone who is not native of Florida. In order to ensure that any of your customers are informed appropriately, we suggest you make certain they obtain the following information from any adjuster or inspector that comes to their home: (1) Full name and contact information, preferably a picture of their driver’s license; (2) Information regarding, and/or copies of, any licensure(s) and the state in which they are licensed: (3) Proof that they have been contracted by or are affiliated with your specific homeowner’s policy company; (4) The contact information of the claims handler at your insurer who deployed them to the home; (5) A list of what they have inspected and the time spent at the home; and (6) Summation of their findings.