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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Southwest Property Owners Urged to Take Steps Now to Prevent Water Damage from Developing El Niño

Every two to seven years, a particularly warm area of water develops in the central and east-central equatorial region of the Pacific Ocean.  The condition is known as El Niño and it not only impacts the ocean, but also changes weather patterns on land across the globe.

In the United States, El Niño is typically associated with warm conditions in the northern states and cooler weather in the much of the southern region of the country during the winter months. Precipitation patterns are also impacted with drier than average winter conditions often forming over the northern tier of the country while the Southwest can usually expect much wetter than average conditions. 

“This year’s El Niño is already developing to be one of the strongest ever recorded,” said Tom Allen of Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters, LLC. “Weather forecasters believe it will result in heavy precipitation this winter that will likely cause widespread property damage to parts of the Southwest.”

To prevent property damage due to El Niño, now is the time for property managers and owners to inspect the condition of their home or commercial property and make preparations for what is forecast to be an exceptionally wet winter.  The insurance claims and building science professionals at Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters suggest the following actions to minimize or prevent water damage.  They include the following:

·       Make sure the building’s exterior, siding, doors and windows are weather tight.
·       Check roofing materials, shingles or roof tiles to make sure they are in good condition to handle the extra rain or snow.
·       Remove leaves and obstructions from gutters and downspouts and ensure that water is draining away from the building.
·       Inspect sump pumps to ensure they are working properly.
·       Check chimneys, sky lights and roof exhaust pipes to ensure they are properly sealed.

Properties that are impacted by floodwaters are often contaminated with chemicals and harmful microorganisms.  Even those impacted by relatively clean rainwater or melting snow can not only suffer damaged or destroyed building materials and personal belongings, but the moisture can allow for the growth of mold in less than 48 hours in many circumstances.

For people in Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico that do experience property damage to their homes or businesses from this year’s El Niño, the professionals at Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters are here to help.  Their team of insurance claims experts will comprehensively document any damages and then negotiate and handle any issues that arise with the claim. This provides the policyholder with the peace of mind that no damages were overlooked and that they will receive the most accurate insurance settlement possible.  They also recently sponsored an educational video about preventing water damage and mold growth due to El Niño that can be seen at:

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Homeowners Sue Insurance Company and Remediation Contractors over Water Damage

Many property owners who are confronted with damage to their home or business trust their insurance company to have their best interests at heart when they have to file an insurance claim.  One couple in Mission Viejo found out the hard way that this is not always the case.

According to a report from KABC, the couple’s two-story home suffered damage when water from an upstairs bathroom flooded the main floor.  Although they had just recently moved into the home, they had been using the same well-known insurance provider for 20 years.

The couple contacted their insurance company who recommended they use one of several water damage remediation companies that are on the insurance company’s premier program for water loss.  They picked one of the recommended companies to perform the work, but within two weeks could smell what they thought was mold. The insurance company informed them that mold tests were not covered under their policy so the couple paid for it out of their own pockets. The test results revealed mold contamination so the couple and their children moved out of the house.  Another large remediation company on the insurance provider’s premier program was then sent to take care of the problem that was not resolved the first time. However, the homeowners claim they did not remove the mold and simply covered it up.

The couple has now hired an attorney who has filed a lawsuit against the insurance company and the two remediation firms.  The article states the lawsuit claims breach of contract, breach of the duty of good faith, fraud, false promise, intentional misrepresentation and negligence.

“Unfortunately, as a public adjuster whose entire mission is to work on the behalf of policyholders, we see cases like this all the time,” said Douglas Waldie, President of Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters, LLC. “Insurance companies luring customers to use preferred contractors that do not work in their interest, failing to investigate damages properly and thoroughly, and even sometimes providing false information to policy holders about their benefits happens all too frequently. Insurance companies and their preferred contractors are known to try and cut corners to save money.” 

A public adjuster, working exclusively for the policyholder, represents their interests to prevent situations like this from occurring.  The experts at Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters know what to look for, which includes both visible and out-of-sight damages that would likely otherwise go unaddressed.  They comprehensively detail all damages and negotiate for the policyholder to ensure damages covered by the insurance policy are properly handled.  The end result is a happy policyholder with the resources and expertise to repair their home or business.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Residential Garage Fires Frequently Result in Extensive Property Damage

Last month, a homeowner in north Phoenix was hospitalized for burns after he tried to put out a fire that had started in his garage.  Fires start all too frequently in garages, in fact, U.S. fire departments reported approximately 6,600 residential building fires that originated in garages from 2009 through 2011.  These fires resulted in deaths, injuries and hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage.

In many parts of the country there are no building codes that require smoke detectors in residential garages.  Since garages are used to store motor vehicles and often flammable liquids, they are the source, or contributing factors, for many of these fires. 

With so few smoke detectors found in garages, a fire will often go unnoticed until enough smoke has infiltrated the main residence and set off alarms or is noticed by building occupants. By this time it has often grown in size and severity resulting in extensive property damage even if firefighters are able to quickly extinguish the flames.

“Property damage due to a garage fire includes obvious damage caused by flames and thick smoke, but even a small fire in an attached garage can lead to widespread smoke damage throughout the entire home,” said Tom Allen from Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters, LLC. “Representatives from the homeowner’s insurance company will often focus their attention on the directly impacted areas, but people need to be aware of less visible and hidden signs of damage.  At Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters, our insurance claims and fire damage experts provide comprehensive investigations into these types of property damage cases.  By documenting all damages throughout the entire property, the insured get their claim settled for the full amount detailed under the insurance policy.  Our team has handled countless cases involving garage fires so clients not only have the entire process handled for them by experienced professionals, they also end up with the resources needed to repair the damages caused by flames, heat and smoke residues throughout the home.”    

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Condominium Property Damage Claims Can Create Challenges Best Handled by an Experienced Public Adjuster

From coast to coast, millions of Americans live in condominiums.  Condos provide their owners with a number of benefits, including in most circumstances no outdoor maintenance, lower costs than buying a comparable house, and the sense of community that living in close proximity to neighbors provides.

Along with the many benefits of condo living, there can also be challenges in the event that property damage occurs to the building.  This damage could be the result of events associated with flooding and water damage, wind damage, fires or smoke damage.  If one of these events occurs, there is a good chance that multiple insurance companies are going to be involved.

“When property damage occurs at a condominium complex and multiple units are involved, it can make navigating several insurance policies and determining who is responsible a real challenging undertaking,” said Douglas Waldie, President of Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters, LLC. “Engaging a public adjuster to represent the interests of the various policy holders is highly recommended in these types of situations. An experienced public adjuster is an expert at navigating these types of complex claims to ensure the best possible outcome for all of the policy holders involved.”  

Condominium owners with insurance claims in Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey can depend on the professionals at Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters to represent their interests exclusively. Their public adjusters are also construction experts so hidden damages don’t go unnoticed. This means that all of the property damage will be extensively documented to make sure the insurance company provides all of the necessary resources, as defined by the policy, to make repairs and replace property. 


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