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Thursday, March 26, 2015

HDPA Encourages Emergency Preparedness Plans for Small Businesses

Across the United States, there are millions of small businesses that employee tens of millions of workers.  They are often privately owned corporations, partnerships or sole proprietorships and are considered by many to be the backbone of the nation’s economy.

Unlike most large corporations, small businesses often do not have multiple locations where they can shift operations in the event of an emergency.  This fact makes it even more important for small business owners and managers to develop an emergency preparedness plan in case of a man-made or natural disaster.  The U.S. Government’s Ready Business Program provides the following five steps for developing a preparedness program:
  1. Program Management
  2. Planning
  3. Implementation
  4. Testing & Exercises
  5. Program Improvement 
“Business continuity is essential for most small businesses to stay operational and prevent a disaster from putting them out of business,” said Douglas Waldie, President of Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters, LLC. “A crucial component of any emergency preparedness plan is knowing who to call at a moment’s notice if there is damage to business property.  At Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters, we provide that resource for small businesses in the event of damage to the inside or outside of their business.  Our licensed public adjusters are just a phone call away from immediately responding to represent small businesses in filing claims with their insurance carriers.  This ensures a rapid response so that they are quickly provided the necessary financial resources to repair any damages and resume business operations as quickly as possible.”

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Nation’s Leading Public Adjusters offer Tips to Prevent Water Damage as Families take Spring Break Vacations

Each year in March and April, millions of Americans take a break from their daily routines to enjoy time with family and friends during spring break trips.  Unfortunately, few things can turn a dream vacation into a nightmare as quickly as coming back to a water damaged home or business. 

Water damage is one of the most common reasons for an insurance claim and when it occurs with no one home, a small water damaging event can quickly escalate into a major claim. There are however steps that can be taken to minimize the risk of a water damaging event from occurring during a spring break vacation.  For example, before leaving:

·       Check the home for any existing leaks.
·      Consider shutting off the water main to the home.  If this cannot be done because of an automatic sprinkler system or other reason, shut off the valves to major appliances within the home.
·        If the property has a well, consider shutting off the pump. 
·       Check gutters and downspouts for damage and any debris that may be causing obstructions.
·        If the property has a sump pump, be sure it is in working order.
·       When traveling during freezing weather, be sure the heating system is operating properly and that any exposed pipes are insulated.  It is also a good idea to drain pipes if the water has been shut off by running water faucets and flushing the toilets.
·     Ask a family member or friend to periodically check on the property and be sure they know where the water main shut off valve is located.

“If water damage does occur while people have been away on vacation, it is important to understand that the introduction of water or elevated humidity levels, in addition to causing damage to materials, can also cause the growth of mold in as short as 24 to 48 hours,” said Douglas Waldie, President of Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters, LLC.  “As public adjusters, we get involved in water damage cases all the time that involve properties where the owners and tenants have been away on vacation or business travel.  We hope these tips help to prevent water damage this spring break season.” 

Hudson Douglas represents only the insured and never insurance companies. This fact, along with their comprehensive experience in the property damage, construction and the restoration industries, means their customers will get a fair settlement value to properly repair their property when damage occurs. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The “Category of Water” in Flood Damaged Buildings can Directly Impact Repair & Rebuilding Costs

Water can enter a home or building in many ways.  Local flooding, leaking roofs and broken plumbing are all potential water sources that can damage or destroy personal belongings, building materials and even result in structural damage.  Water damage can even create potential indoor environmental and indoor air quality concerns for building occupants.

If a property does suffer water damage, it is important for people to understand what type of water is in the building so that it can be properly remediated and appropriate measures taken to protect current and future occupants from potential hazards they may encounter. 

Depending on the water source and possibly the length of time it has remained in a building, it may contain bacteria, viruses, mold, chemicals, protozoa and even parasites.    There are three categories of water that are typically used when classifying a water damage or flooding event.  They include:

  • Category 1 Water (Clean Water) does not typically result in an immediate health threat to building occupants.  This type of water is considered clean at its point of release. Examples include broken water supply lines and the overflow of a sink or tub.  It may become increasingly contaminated and as it interacts with materials in the property and supports microbial growth over time.

  • Category 2 Water (Grey Water) typically contains a significant amount of biological or physical contaminants that can cause sickness when humans are exposed or if it is accidently consumed.  Examples include water discharged from a dishwasher or washing machine. Category 2 Water that is not promptly removed or has remained stagnant for some time could potentially be reclassified as Category 3 Water over time.   

·      Category 3 Water (Black Water) is grossly contaminated. It may contain harmful pathogens, microbes and chemicals that could cause illness. Sources include sewage, seawater, rising water from rivers or streams, ground surface water or standing water.

“Understanding the category of water that has caused damage is essential for ensuring that repairs are done correctly and the health of future building occupants will not be jeopardized,” said Douglas Waldie, President of Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters, LLC. “At Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters, our professionals understand how these different categories of water can impact both the remediation and rebuilding efforts.  This information is part of our evaluation and our negotiations with the insurance provider so that our clients’ claims are handled properly and a comprehensive settlement is reached.  This service ensures that the property can be restored to its previous condition.”   

Monday, March 9, 2015

Arizona’s Property Damage Experts explain how Public Adjusters help those in Need

Anyone who has ever had to file a claim for damage to their personal or business property knows the challenges and difficulties they may encounter.  In the chaos and turmoil that typically follows a fire, flood or other damaging event, the policyholder quickly realizes it is just ‘me’ going up against a multibillion dollar insurance provider with teams of legal experts.

What a surprisingly large number of people do not know is that there are licensed professionals whose singular purpose is to represent them and be their advocate during their claims process.  These specialists, working solely for the policyholder, are known as Public Adjusters.

According to the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters, “Public Adjusters are experts on property loss adjustment who are retained by policyholders to assist in preparing, filing and adjusting insurance claims. Employed exclusively by a policyholder who has sustained an insured loss, these professionals manage every detail of the claim, working closely with the insured to provide the most equitable and prompt settlement possible. A public adjuster inspects the loss site immediately, analyzes the damages, assembles claim support data, reviews the insured's coverage, determines current replacement costs and exclusively serves the client, not the insurance company.”

The leading provider of public adjuster services for commercial and residential claims in Arizona is Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters, LLC.  “Many people don’t realize what we as public adjusters can do for them when they have to file a property claim,” said Douglas Waldie, President of Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters, LLC.  “We are there for individuals and businesses during what is often their greatest time of need.  It doesn’t matter if the property damage is due to a natural disaster; fire, flooding event or wind damage; or vandalism and theft.  Our sole purpose is to ensure the policy holder is treated fairly and awarded a settlement that will afford them the opportunity to fix their damaged property.”

Arizona’s Foremost Public Adjusters offer Commercial & Residential Property Owners Peace of Mind

Recently, a homeowner in the Phoenix metropolitan area discovered that water from a broken pipe had damaged their wood floor.  The property owner immediately called their homeowner’s insurance company and reported the incident.  A short time later, a representative of the insurance provider paid them a visit and determined that there was $2,354 worth of damage and that after the homeowner’s insurance deductible was met, the homeowner would receive a check for $1.354.

The homeowner knew that this small amount would not fix the damaged floor and that the settlement amount could not be accurate.  Feeling unsure of how to challenge the large insurance company’s offer, they called a public adjuster.

A representative from Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters met with the homeowner and reviewed the scope of repairs offered by the insurance company.  The flooring that was used to determine the replacement value was found to be inaccurate and the full scope of repairs was far from sufficient.  Hudson Douglas presented their findings to the insurance company who changed their initial $2,354 settlement offer to over $32,897.  

“As a public adjuster, we get involved in cases like this every day,” said Douglas Waldie, President of Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters, LLC. “Property damage can come in many shapes and forms.  In Arizona, some of the most frequent causes are due to fires, smoke, floods, faulty plumbing, hail, wind, theft and vandalism.  No matter the cause, as a public adjuster it is our duty to fight for our customers to ensure that they are treated fairly and that no details are overlooked. At Hudson Douglas we represent only the insured and with our vast experience in the construction and disaster restoration industries we know what a fair settlement value is for our customers.”  

Tips for Preventing Ice Dams and Property Damage Offered by Nation’s Leading Public Adjusters

Many parts of the country have experienced record snowfall amounts and extreme cold temperatures this winter.  It is during this time of year that freezing temperatures can allow a ridge of ice to form on the edge of a roof.  This is known as an ice dam and when they occur they can allow water to back up behind it and leak into a home or building.  The end result is water damage that is frequently followed by mold growth.

According to the U.S. Government’s Energy Star Program website, “Ice dams usually occur after a heavy snowfall and several days of freezing temperatures. Warm air inside your home leaks into the attic and will warm the underside of the roof causing snow and ice on the roof to melt. The melted water will drain along the roof, under the snow, until it reaches the cold overhang. The overhang tends to be at the same temperature as the outdoors and the melted water will refreeze and form an ice dam and icicles. The ice dam can cause damage to the roof, which will result in water leaks to the inside. Frequently the result will be a water spot on the ceiling under the roof damage.”

Fortunately, ice dams can often be prevented by controlling heat loss from the building into the attic.  To keep warm and moist air from entering the attic space from the interior of the building, any air leakage pathways should be sealed and the attic needs to be properly insulated. Proper attic ventilation will also help to keep a uniform roof temperature. Vented appliances should be exhausted to outside of the building and not into the attic and gutters need to be clean and operational to allow water to properly drain off the roof.

If an ice dam does occur, it can cause water to quickly leak into a building resulting in staining, water damage and mold growth.  It can cause considerable damage and mold growth that can impact the building’s indoor air quality. Often the mold growth can be out of sight, but even mold growing above ceilings and in wall cavities can create health concerns.  For those who have damage due to an ice dam, the licensed public adjusters from Hudson Douglas can quickly help them obtain the most accurate and complete settlement for their property claim so their residential or commercial property can be properly repaired.

Smoke, Fire & Water Damage in Properties Impacted by Structure Fires

Each year in the United States, fire departments respond to over 1 million fires of all types according to the U.S. Fire Administration.  In addition to causing injuries and tragic deaths in some circumstance, fires also result billions of dollars in property damage each year.

The damage and destruction caused by a building fire and efforts to extinguish it can be extensive and are often obvious. Depending on the size of the structure fire, type of building it takes place in, and proximity to other homes or buildings, it is possible for there to be additional property damage that might not be immediately evident.  This damage could be in other parts of the same building, such as in adjacent units in an apartment or office complex, or even in nearby buildings not directly touched by flames.   Two common causes of this type of property damage include smoke and water damage.

A building fire can easily produce a tremendous amount of smoke that can be carried some distance in the wind and will often easily infiltrate adjoining properties and nearby buildings. Smoke is filled with combustion by-products that include soot, ash and char that can have damaging effects to both properties and to humans breathing the smoke filled air.  In addition to leaving behind unpleasant odors, smoke residues can cause corrosion, etching and discoloration within a property.

Another area of considerable property loss is due to water damage from fire suppression efforts.  Water used to put out a fire on the third floor of a building will makes its way down to the lowest level it can reach resulting in water damage on multiple floors.  This may leave obvious signs of damage, such as water logged floors, but even water and moisture behind walls and ceilings without observable signs of its presence can cause property damage and quickly lead to the growth of mold.  In fact, mold can begin to grow in as shorts as 48 hours and the presence of elevated levels of mold will impact the indoor air quality (IAQ) of the building. 

At Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters, they have teams of professionals that can help property owners quickly settle insurance claims for all types of damage associated with residential and commercial building fires.  Their public adjusters can quickly help obtain the most accurate and complete settlement for a property claim so that it can be restored back to its original condition.  Hudson Douglas also recently sponsored an educational video about fire, smoke and water damage that can be seen at:

New Website Offers Property Damage Victims Help Settling Insured Claims

Billions of dollars in damages to properties occur each year in the United States.  This damage is the result of everything from natural disasters to vandalism, theft and accidents.  Those unfortunate enough to have this happen to their personal residence or commercial property quickly recognize the challenges that often develop when dealing with their insurance provider.

When a loss does occur, most people are under the impression that their insurance company will handle the valuation of their claim fairly, so that they can quickly return their property to its previous condition. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and industry experience shows that far too often insurance companies greatly undervalue claims to their benefit.

To help those facing property damage claims, Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters recently released a new website that provides a wealth of information about property damage and insurance issues. Detailed information about floods and water damage; fire and smoke; vandalism, theft and accidents; hurricanes, tropical storms and earthquakes; wind and tornadoes; hail damage; structural damage; and more can all be found on the new website.

“Anyone who has experienced the stress and complications involved with getting their home or business back to pre-damage conditions can attest to how much value there is in having someone on their side who looks out for their interests and knows how to deal with their insurance company,” said Douglas Waldie, President of Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters, LLC. “This is why we developed the new website to act as a portal for people in need of help and it has already been a benefit to many. In addition to important information about property loss and successfully handling a claim, the new website also provides quick access to the public adjusters at Hudson Douglas who are just a phone call or email away from providing you with professional help on your claim.”  


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