Here we go again another example of how insurance companies are low balling estimates and leaving homeowners and contractors with the short end of the stick. On a recent claim event in February the homeowner had shingles ripped off when ice and snow went down with a gutter filled with ice. The roof was temporarily patched with ice and water shield to prevent leaks.
Now we need to replace the roof to restore the homeowner to their pre-loss condition. The roof is a colonial with a 10 pitch slope. The insurance has agreed to replace the roof however they will not allow for OSHA compliant staging. The adjuster had the gall to say it is included in the unit cost and overhead. Really? I asked him to break it out and he replied with an attitude it is in there.
Fall protection equipment and a man working safe with guard rails. These items often left out of insurance claim estimates done by the insurance company adjuster.
In addition they are not paying in the intitial settlement for the cost of the permit which is required by Mass State Building code. Also they are leaving out the required ventilation to meet code and the manufacturer requirements that the roof is vented.
In our fall protection trainings we explain to contractors what they need to do to safely do their work and speak about setting up the right staging and using harnesses. Recent views of the OSHA website show that they are citing and fining Mass contractors for failure to use fall protection to protect workers. Maybe the insurance companies need to train their adjusters?
I guess the insurance company does not think it is important to protect workers when they are up on elevated surfaces as shown in their unwillingness to include safety costs in claim estimates.
Tip; What to do when you have an unreasonable insurance company; Send a letter.
In our Insurance Claims Workshop we teach contractors how to combat the unreasonable insurance companies. Following is a strategy that has worked for me in the past.
We are going to send the insurance company a copy of the OSHA Standards Subpart M, Duty to have fall protection, Subpart L Scaffolding, and Subpart X Ladders. Then in the letter we are going to let the insurance company know that they are acting in bad faith by restricting the claim estimate and refusing to pay for following the OSHA safety laws.
Are lawsuits on the horizon for insurance companies who low ball claims?
I predict that we are about to see a sunami of contested insurance claims in Massachusetts and would not be surprised if we see lawyers getting into the game and filing class action lawsuits against the insurance companies for low balling, denying coverage, taking to long to see and resolve claims and failure to act in good faith.
As I right this post I get another report from a professional painting firm in business for over three generations and he says claims are only covering 30% on average of the cost of the real project.
Please let us know about claims where you or someone you know is the victim of low ball claim tactics utilized by the insurance companies and their adjusters.
We help contractors learn the claim process to help homeowners receive fair scope of work estiamtes priced so that a professional contractor can do the work.
It's going to be a long year!