Maximizing Commercial Insurance Recoveries After Hurricane Irma
Maximizing Commercial Insurance Recoveries After Hurricane Irma
Hurricane Irma hit Florida with a powerful punch, leaving a path of widespread destruction and flooding from coast to coast. As Floridians begin the process of cleaning up, commercial enterprises across the state are eager to start the process of repairing their buildings and restoring their organizations and tenants to full operation. For these establishments, time is money; every day that they are shuttered means a loss in profits and an impact on their bottom lines.
Many commercial property owners will face significant challenges as they try to recover full compensation for their losses from their insurers. Even though they have faithfully paid every insurance premium on time, getting the coverage and protection to which they are entitled can be a long and arduous battle.
Helping You Weather the Storm after the Storm
If you are a commercial property owner or manager struggling with the aftermath of Irma, Searcy Denney is here to help. We are an experienced team of Florida attorneys who know how to help clients maximize insurance recoveries after hurricanes, tropical storms, floods and other natural disasters. With offices in West Palm Beach and Tallahassee, we are positioned to assist with commercial property damage claims throughout Florida – including those situated in Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Naples, Fort Lauderdale, Pompano, Miami and the Florida Keys.
Our law firm has partnered with The Gauthier Firm of New Orleans to provide property owners with access to some of the most experienced disaster management experts in the nation. Our combined team has a proven track record of success in maximizing property damage insurance recoveries for over 5,000 victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey and Super Storm Sandy.
What Commercial Property Owners Need to Understand about Insurance Claims
When a hurricane or natural disaster strikes, collecting on an insurance claim can be far more challenging than you would expect. People mistakenly think that insurance companies are in the business of protecting and supporting their policyholders. However, the reality is that insurance companies are just like many other businesses– allowing focus on their own bottom lines to overshadow concern for their customers’ wellbeing.
While the claims recovery process is difficult for everyone, commercial property owners and managers are likely to face additional obstacles. Below are several hurdles that they are likely to confront:
- It’s Business to the Insurance Companies
Catastrophic losses create strong incentives for insurance companies to do what they can to contain and minimize payouts to policyholders. The larger the losses sustained by businesses the more time and money insurance companies can be expected to spend trying to limit the amounts they will pay out on claims. The structural damage hundreds of high rise buildings in Miami’s South Beach sustained during Hurricane Katrina presents an example of how insurers try to limit payouts. Many of these structures contained a curtain wall of windows. When high winds struck, insurers were generally willing to pay for obvious damage such as the cost to replace blown out glass panels. However, less obvious, far more costly damage such as the weakening of the structural integrity of the building was often either overlooked or intentionally concealed. And when structural damage issues were raised, insurers aggressively fought the claims.Proving structural damage is a difficult undertaking, requiring highly specialized engineers who can fully evaluate and document the extent of the damages. These investigations are expensive and complicated.
- Insurance Coverage can be Confusing
Commercial property owners often carry multiple types of coverage to protect against potential losses. These policies can be complex and often require the assistance of lawyers, accountants and other professionals with specific knowledge of insurance contracts, including experience dealing with:
- Business Interruption Losses. Business interruption or business income coverage insurance is a type of commercial property insurance designed to cover the loss of income when a business is forced to slow down or close operations due to a hurricane, flooding or other covered peril. These policies require the insured to provide a very detailed and accurate documentation of their actual loss of business income. In some cases the process is so complex and involved, it is nearly impossible to do it on your own. We offer a team of experienced lawyers and accountants who can guide you through the process and help you take the right steps to maximize your recovery.
- Content Losses. In addition to covering physical damages to buildings, commercial property policies also protect against content losses caused by hurricanes, floods, fires and other covered events. Insurance companies tend to give businesses very little leeway when it comes to documenting content losses. When you work with our team, we will help you develop a complete and accurate inventory that documents and proves your content losses to your insurance company.
- Actual Cash Value Policies. Some policies insuring commercial buildings only cover the actual cash value of the damage rather than the cost of replacement. Because the actual cash value is calculated by taking the cost of replacement minus depreciation, the insured only receives a fraction of the total cost of repairs. Depreciation is a complex concept and insurance adjusters often pile on huge amounts based solely upon the age of the building, rather than taking into consideration how well maintained the building has been. Our team will work to ensure that deprecation is calculated fairly, taking into consideration all relevant factors.
- Windstorm Damage + Flood Damage. Hurricanes like Irma and Harvey often lead to devastating wind damage and flooding. When an insured has both windstorm and flood coverages, insurance companies will try to play one policy against the other. These antics can create substantial problems and delays for commercial property owners looking to collect the money they need to get their businesses back up and running as quickly as possible.
- Mold Growth is a Big Deal for Floridians
Mold growth is a serious issue in the aftermath of a hurricane. Because of our warm and humid climate, mold, and in particular black and toxic mold, is a big deal in Florida. Therefore, time is of the essence in processing an insurance claim; the longer it takes for repairs to begin, the more damage you may incur.
A Unique Partnership Dedicated to Serving the Needs of Commercial Property Owners
If you are a commercial property owner or manager impacted by Hurricane Irma, or a Board member responsible for protecting the interests of condominium residents, we are here to help. Through our unique partnership with The Gauthier Firm of New Orleans, we are prepared to help clients secure maximum recoveries for their commercial and residential property losses. Together, our team of engineers and other experts can properly investigate, assess and substantiate your damages.
Our team will analyze your damages and calculate your insurance benefits before the insurance company lowballs you. We have access to over 12,700 certified restoration professionals, including 4,300 roofing contractors, available to help with claims adjustment and damage assessment. Through our partnership, our team puts a variety of experts in engineering, construction, remediation and the law on your side.
Members of our team have successfully handled hurricane and catastrophic damages across the country and are eager to help you pursue the full insurance compensation to which you are entitled. We know how to win large, complex cases and have substantial experience taking on tough insurance companies across the United States.
Fees for Our Hurricane Recovery Services
When you work with Searcy Denney, you can take comfort in knowing that we understand what you are going through and will move aggressively to protect your interests. We also recognize that fees and costs are a tremendous concern for Hurricane Irma victims. Our firm handles insurance recovery claims on a contingent fee basis which means that you owe us nothing unless we secure a recovery for you. Fees for commercial claims start at only 10% of the commercial claim recovery through the entire administrative claim handling process. We will provide you with a full explanation of fees and costs before you decide to take any legal action.
How Our Process Works
If you are a commercial property owner or manager who has been impacted by Irma, we are prepared to take action to secure the insurance payments you deserve in order to get your operations up and running again. Our team of experts will visit your property as quickly as possible to assess all structural and other damages. We will help you prepare the documentation and financial analyses that your insurance company will require to process your claim.
It is important to understand that commercial property polices often require the insured to jump through several hoops in order to receive the payments to which they are entitled. If you don’t follow the contractual requirements to the letter of the law, you may lose or reduce your ability to collect a full recovery for your losses and damages. For example, many policies require the insured to file a proof of loss within a certain period of time. If you leave out certain documents or do not provide the level of specificity required, you could lose coverage.
Do Not Underestimate the Insurance Companies
Hurricane Irma was one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes on record before it plowed into the Florida Keys and traveled north to hit much of the state. Businesses and commercial property owners from coast to coast suffered serious damages and losses and many are just now beginning to start the process of repairing and rebuilding.
If you are a commercial establishment or multi-family residence dealing with the aftermath of this catastrophic event, immediate action can be critical. While you may think that your insurance company will take care of you, the harsh reality is that the insurance company will only do the minimum necessary to meet its obligations as it sees them.
While you may have been with the same insurance company for decades, you are at a serious disadvantage when it comes to collecting on your claim. The insurance companies are dealing with catastrophic losses and will do everything they can to minimize payouts to you and commercial establishments across the state who are filing claims for hurricane loss recoveries.
You Can’t Afford to Delay. Contact the Hurricane Recovery Team at Searcy Denney Today.
If you have been impacted by Hurricane Irma you cannot afford to sit back and wait for your insurance company to provide you with the relief you need. Searcy Denney is here to offer you the advice and support you need to expedite and maximize your insurance recovery. Call us today at 1-800-780-8607 or complete a contact form to schedule a free and confidential consultation with our Hurricane Irma insurance recovery team.