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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Arizona Residents Learn that Rodents Cause up to 25% of All Fires Attributed to Unknown Causes

Almost everywhere across Arizona where people have settled, rats and mice can also be found. These rodents often try to live in and around people’s homes, schools and businesses as they seek shelter and food. While many people find their presence unsettling, they can also cause extensive property damage and even health concerns for building occupants.

In addition to chewing through wood, insulation and many other materials, rodents are known to gnaw on electrical wires and gas lines. This could result in a dangerous and costly fire. In fact, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health, “It is estimated that 25 percent of all fires attributed to ‘unknown causes’ are probably started by rodents gnawing on gas lines, electrical wiring and matches.” Rodents are also known to chew through water and drain pipes which could result in flooding and water damage as well as sewage contamination.

Rodents in people’s homes and buildings can also cause allergies and trigger an asthma attack in some people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that rats and mice can spread over 35 diseases. These diseases can be spread to humans directly, through handling of rodents, through contact with rodent feces, urine and saliva or through rodent bites. Diseases carried by rodents can also be spread to humans indirectly, through ticks, mites or fleas that have fed on an infected rodent.

“While most homeowners and commercial property insurance policies exclude coverage for gradual damage caused by pests such as rodents, most policies will cover sudden and unexpected damage,” said Tom Allen from Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters, LLC. “Examples of unexpected damage that would be included in many circumstances include fires and flooding events caused by rodents.” 

Arizona residents who face property damage due to fires and water damage can turn to the experts at Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters. Their building science and insurance claims experts work exclusively for policyholders to ensure that insured damages are comprehensively settled so that all of the repairs necessary to bring a residential or commercial property back to its original condition can be completed.  Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters also recently sponsored an educational video about rodent infestations, property damage and indoor environmental concerns that can be seen at:  

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Arizona’s Insurance Claims Experts Offer Tips to Keep Air Conditioners Running Smoothly

With 100° temperatures having already occurred across Phoenix and Tucson, a properly functioning central air conditioner provides a comfortable indoor environment for building occupants. In many parts of the state, air conditioning is an absolute necessity this time of year.

With several weeks to go before the official start of summer, most Arizona residents have already been using their AC for weeks if not months. In addition to providing cool air and ventilation, air conditioners help to remove excessive humidity from the air which can help prevent the growth of mold and the presence of dust mites. Most air conditioners also have air filters that depending on the quality of the filtration can help to remove particles, allergens and respiratory irritants from the air people breathe.

Air conditioner maintenance is crucial to ensure the units continue to operate, are energy efficient and provide good indoor air quality (IAQ). Some routine maintenance tasks can be handled by property owners while others may require the services of a qualified professional.

Basic maintenance tips include the following with the power shut off to the unit:
·         Remove debris and plant growth from around and inside of the exterior condenser
·         Clean the outdoor unit and its fins, but do not use a pressure washer to prevent damage
·         Look for bent or damaged fins and have them straightened
·         Check to determine if any excessive settling has occurred
·         Check  for damage and wear, and clean the evaporator coil
·         Inspect and clean the condensation drain
·         Replace old air filters, some units also have a filter for an outdoor air intake
·         Inspect duct work for signs of debris, contamination and obvious leaks
·         Checking airflow, thermostat accuracy and the amount of refrigerant, or if there are any refrigerant leaks, is often best handled by a qualified professional

“An improperly installed or maintained air conditioner may not properly cool a home or building and could pose a fire hazard in some circumstances,” said Douglas Waldie, President of Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters, LLC. “Arizona’s extreme temperatures can cause AC units to overheat and clogged condensation drains can create electrical hazards that could result in fires. Even new AC units can pose a fire risk as was the case when a major HVAC manufacturer recently recalled over 230,000 units due to electrical burn and fire hazards.” 

Residential and commercial property owners in Arizona who have suffered property damage due to a malfunctioning HVAC system or any other reason can turn to the experts at Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters to file, manage and resolve their insurance claims. Their public adjusters represent only policyholders to ensure all damages are recognized, documented, comprehensively managed and settled fairly. They also recently sponsored an educational video about air conditioner preventive maintenance and indoor air quality that can be seen at:

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Arizona Homeowners Learn Clothes Dryer Fire Prevention Tips and How to Respond if One Occurs

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, almost 3,000 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year and cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries and $35 million in property loss. The agency reports that the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires is failure to clean them (34%).

In addition to having a clothes dryer professionally installed to prevent fires, the U.S. Fire Administration recommends that people clean the lint filter before and after each load of laundry and that they clean the back of the dryer where lint can build up. Homeowners are also encouraged to clean lint out of the vent pipe every three months and have the dryer cleaned regularly by a professional, especially if it is taking longer than normal for clothes to dry. People also need to be sure to keep the area around the clothes dryer free of items that could catch on fire.

“Simple preventive maintenance can dramatically reduce the chance of a clothes dryer fire,” said Tom Allen from Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters, LLC. “For anyone who does suffer damage from a clothes dryer fire it’s important that they understand the extent of damage that can occur even from a small fire. While damage from flames is often obvious, smoke residues from a small fire can spread throughout a home or building causing costly remediation, repairs and the necessity to replace sensitive electronics that can succumb to the corrosive effects of smoke residues.” 

Clothes dryer fire damage and smoke residues are covered by most homeowners and property insurance policies. Policyholders should consider the services of a licensed and knowledgeable public adjuster to help them with their insurance claim so that any damages that are out of sight or caused by smoke residues are not missed by the insurance company. Insurance companies hope to close claims as quickly as possible for as little money as possible. The public adjusters at Hudson Douglas work exclusively for the policyholder to represent only their interests. This means damages are not overlooked, the property is comprehensively repaired and smoke damaged electronics are replaced. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Arizona Property Owners Faced with Hail Damage Now Have Help

For people who do not live in the arid Southwest, the idea that powerful hailstorms can wreak havoc on people’s property may come as a surprise. However, residents from places such as the Phoenix metropolitan area know all too well that hailstorms are a real property threat that are not just associated with the monsoon season.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that hail causes approximately $1 billion dollars in damage to properties and crops each year in the United States. One of the nation’s largest insurance providers, The Travelers Companies, reports that between 2009 and 2015, 15% of homeowners insurance claims with the company were caused by hail.

Storms that produce hail can occur anywhere and at anytime of the year, although Arizona and many other states experience the most storms from May through September. When they do occur, they can cause extensive damage to people’s homes, businesses and vehicles. Fortunately, hail damage to a home or building is covered by many homeowners insurance and commercial property policies.

“While hailstorms can vary in intensity, property owners are advised to check for signs of damage after a storm that produced hail has left the area,” said Douglas Waldie, President of Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters, LLC. “This includes inspecting roofs, skylights, siding, windows, doors and screens. Also check outdoor furniture, grills and air conditioning units for damage. Some types of hail damage may also cause exterior damage that will allow water to enter a building. If this occurs it should be addressed quickly as many wet building materials can allow for the growth of mold in less than 48 hours. Older hail damaged properties could also encounter asbestos and lead-based paint issues during cleanup, demolition or repair activities.” 

Those faced with hail damage to their insured property should consider utilizing the services of a licensed and knowledgeable public adjuster to represent their interests and to help ensure the property is completely repaired. The experts at Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters provide this service to policyholders of both residential and commercial properties throughout Arizona.  They also recently sponsored a video about hailstorms and property damage that can be seen at:

Friday, April 8, 2016

Arizona Property Owners Learn that Smoke Residues Can Cause Extensive Property Damage

As recently as 2014, the National Fire Protection Association reports that there were 494,000 structure fires in the United States that year alone. These fires were reported at a rate of one every 64 seconds and they caused almost $10 billion in property damage.

Structure fires destroy or damage many homes and businesses each year and Arizona is no exception.  These fires may burn a structure down to the ground, but many others are saved with varying degrees of damage. Structure fires can even cause property damage to neighboring buildings not directly touched by flames since these fires typically produce a tremendous amount of smoke that can travel some distance. 

The smoke is made up of a number of combustion by-products that may include ash, soot, char and other materials.  These materials can easily infiltrate nearby buildings leaving behind odors, residues and lowering property values.

“Although homeowners and commercial property insurance often covers smoke damage, but it is frequently left to the property owner to provide proof of all damages,” said Tom Allen from Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters, LLC. “The corrosive effect of smoke residues will begin to cause extensive etching, corrosion and discoloration as time passes. While the presence of visible damage can be obvious at times, some forms of damage can be subtle or even out of sight. This is why the services of a professional public adjuster are so important following a structure fire or smoke infiltration from a neighboring property. Proving the presence of residues, odors and other damage to such devices as electronics may not be readily apparent and could be overlooked without the services of a knowledgeable public adjuster.”   

Property owners who have suffered fire or smoke damage to their home or business can turn to the insurance claims and property damage experts at Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters. They manage, file and resolve their clients’ insurance claims while making sure all damages are recognized, documented, repaired and settled fairly. Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters also recently sponsored an educational video about smoke damage that can be seen at:

Monday, April 4, 2016

Arizona Residents Learn to Prevent Property Damage with Maintenance Tips for Spring

The start of the spring season is an ideal time to inspect and check the condition of a home or commercial property. It is also an excellent time to perform some basic preventive maintenance tasks to help ensure a property is in good condition to provide a safe, healthy and comfortable place for the months ahead.

“Preventive maintenance performed now could also help prevent costly repairs, increase the building’s energy efficiency, and some of these tasks could help prevent indoor environmental issues associated with mold and moisture, indoor allergens, and other health and safety concerns,” said Douglas Waldie, President of Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters, LLC. “As licensed public adjusters, we see property damage of all types on a regular basis that could have been prevented if the building owner or property manager had seen the signs of a future problem before it became an expensive insurance claim.”

The insurance claims and building science professionals at Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters suggest the following actions to prepare a property for the spring season:

·         Remove leaves and obstructions from gutters and downspouts and ensure water is draining away from the building. In cold parts of Arizona, also check for any damage from past ice dams.
·         Check the siding for any damage or areas that moisture could enter.
·         Check for any damage to the chimney, vents and roof, and be sure any skylights are properly sealed.
·         Check windows and doors for drafts and be sure they are properly sealed. Inspect and replace any worn weather stripping.
·       Consider having the clothes dryer vent professionally cleaned and inspect the washing machine water supply hoses. Also draining some types of water heaters can help remove sediment that may have built up.
·         Check indoor and outdoor faucets for leaks.
·         Trim trees that could cause damage to the property with broken limbs.
·         Repair cracks in concrete, stucco or asphalt.
·         Check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide sensors and change out the batteries.
·        Change filters for the HVAC system and consider having the air conditioner checked by a qualified professional.  Also inspect the air ducts for the buildup of dust and debris.
·         Clean outdoor air conditioning components and clear vegetation from around the units. 

Property owners and managers who do experience insured damage to their home or business can turn to the professionals at Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters. Their insurance experts negotiate and handle property damage claims for policyholders to make sure that no damage is overlooked and that policyholders receive the most accurate insurance settlement possible.  They have also sponsored an educational video with spring building maintenance tips that can be seen at:

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Property Damage Insurance Claims in Arizona Caused by Sewage Contamination

Two words no property owner ever wants to hear is the phrase “sewage contamination.” If it occurs, it can cause extensive damage to a property and create serious exposure concerns for anyone who lives or works in the building.

There are a number of scenarios that can result in sewage contamination in a building. Some of the most common causes include a backed up or broken sewer line, malfunctioning septic system or as a result of a flooding event that brings sewage from the outdoors into a home or building. In addition to the unpleasant nature of sewage contamination, it can also destroy building materials, furnishings and belongings. Some nonporous materials can potentially be cleaned and disinfected, but most porous materials will need to be discarded.

Sewage contamination can expose people to a wide range of pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa and parasites. Standing water and wet materials will allow many of these organisms to multiple and the introduced moisture can result in the rapid growth of mold on many materials throughout a property. In some circumstances, there could even be potentially hazardous chemicals mixed in with the sewage.

“Contact with any of these contaminants or pathogens could result from direct contact, ingestion or inhalation,” said Tom Allen from Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters, LLC. “All building occupants could be at risk, but this is especially true for anyone with a weakened or suppressed immune system. Due to the health concerns and complications associated with properly assessing and remediating sewage contamination, most property owners faced with this scenario in their residential or commercial property should consider expert advice and help.  For those filing an insurance claim, an experienced public adjuster can make all the difference to ensure that no damage is overlooked and that the property is safely remediated and repaired.”

The insurance claims and property damage experts at Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters offer help to residents and business owners faced with sewage contamination in their property.  Their professionals will manage, file and resolve the insurance claim to make sure all damages are recognized, documented, repaired and settled fairly. Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters also recently sponsored an educational video about sewage contamination, property damage and exposure concerns that can be seen at:


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