Page 12 — Property Management Quarterly — July 2021 Insurance A s the advocate for your cli- ent, your knowledge of every aspect in real estate must be top-notch. Clients trust and rely on you to know the answer to every question they have – even if it isn’t truly a real estate focused one.You certainly can aim to be educated on everything, but that would take much-needed focus from your primary goal of filling commer- cial vacancies.What are your other options and how do you make sure nothing gets missed, there are no delays and you can focus on the high- er-priority pieces? When facing a property damage claim, the carrier will determine if the damage is “covered property” and if the loss was caused by a “covered cause of loss.”As an advocate to the insured, you also may be tasked with ensuring certain steps are taken to make the process as seamless as pos- sible. Be prepared to: • Give the insurance carrier prompt notice of the loss or damage, along with the how/when/where details needed. • Take all reasonable steps to miti- gate the loss by protecting damaged property from secondary damage or additional loss.When possible, secure images to document damage or secure the damaged property for future examination. •When expenses are incurred for emergency or temporary repairs, retain all records for consideration in the settlement of the loss. • Act as a liaison between all parties involved, including contractors. Regardless of the type of claim or circumstances, finding the right team of contractors and vendors is key to getting your client’s property listed and sold at top dollar. Claim filing is the one constant with property damage, yet the details can vary greatly. This can be an involved and intricate pro- cess requiring the finesse and exper- tise of an insurance- minded profes- sional. Just after major weather-related events and other catastrophes, owners may have to wait days or even weeks for the reconstruction to begin. Processing the claim quickly is critical to returning to business as soon as possible, and the process begins with the appraisal. Accurate, expedited appraisals are a vital piece of the claim puzzle and are done by your insurance-assigned com- pany or can be outsourced to the one of your client’s choosing. An appraisal company will use its expertise to walk through the steps of how a property appraisal is written, what the insur- ance company will look for when evaluating the claim, and can assist in avoiding the hiccups that can occur if the claim is written incorrectly, inac- curately or has missing information. Traditionally, an insurance carrier would send a representative to the property to review damages. As we all know, the pandemic required a shift to our norm and meant insurance adjusters had to adjust their usual routine. Many carriers began relying on the property owner for photos of property damage or doing a virtual survey.While this provided continu- ous serviceability, it was sometimes at the detriment of the client.When an appraisal is not done well, items may be missed. Property appraisal com- panies, on the other hand, have been steadfast in their in-person service offerings to ensure customer satisfac- tion. At first glance, the damage may appear to be a quick and easy claim, which your insurance company will be eager to close as soon as possible. While we all want things done quickly, it should not be at the loss of accuracy. If the claim is completed too hastily, you may find additional damage that was not initially apparent, such as a severed security system, electrical issues or water damage due to outside exposure. These items are called sec- ondary damage and should be part of an all-encompassing review by your appraiser. It is of utmost importance to review every inch of the facility dam- aged – without doing so you may miss the opportunity to tag these items on to the claim once closed. Cycle time is critical for all involved in a property damage claim. A delay in cycle time can result in increased risk for the insurance company as well as the property owner. The potential to cover lost revenue, lost wages, lowered productivity and more can cause a surge in overall costs. Therefore, many property owners will choose to hire their own appraiser. Ask questions such as: What is involved in pricing? Does the company offer a bundled option to reduce costs?What is the cycle time? Insurance policies are custom designed to fit the individual needs of each policyholder. Equipment and buildings depreciate. Tenants change, and the contents within their units vary daily. Because of these factors, being well-informed of the coverage your client has will help as you navi- gate the long, winding road to restora- tion. ▲ The best ways to handle a property damage claim Adam May Vice president product implementation, Property Damage Appraisers Inc. If the claim is completed too hastily, you may find additional damage that was not initially apparent, such as a severed security system, electrical issues or water damage due to outside exposure.