CREJ - page 35

August 19-September 1, 2015 —
COLORADO REAL ESTATE JOURNAL
— Page 35
I
f your property sustains sig-
nificant damage, it is impor-
tant to know whom to turn
to for assistance for the many
aspects of a property insurance
claim. If the claim is not accurately
adjusted and resolved in a timely
manner with your best interests
in mind, your profits certainly will
decrease. Regardless of the type
of loss, whether fire, hail, natural
disaster or other, a thorough inves-
tigation and assessment is needed
to capture all damages to the prop-
erty.
Upon notifying your insurance
company of a loss, the insurance
company either will have an in-
house adjuster or an independent,
outside adjuster contact you and
schedule an inspection to assess
the damage. In-house and inde-
pendent adjusters work on behalf
of the insurance company. As in
any profession, there are good,
competent, ethical and trustwor-
thy in-house and independent
adjusters with different claim
authority levels. And there are in-
house and independent adjusters
whomay not be qualified to adjust
your loss.
You do not have an opportu-
nity to vet several adjusters to
learn about their qualifications
and background, and then choose
which adjuster you would like to
work with on your claim. Instead,
you are provided with the name
of the adjuster who you then meet
at the property – hoping or believ-
ing the adjuster is competent and
ethical.
Many property owners opt to
handle the adjustment of large and
complicated property claims on
their own or with existing person-
nel – perhaps confident they are
able to add this responsibility to
the long list of other responsibili-
ties they address eachday – or per-
haps the owners are unaware of a
public adjuster’s services.
In Colorado, a public adjuster
must be licensed by the Division
of Insurance, and public adjusters
serve as advocates for the policy-
holder in the accurate, proper and
timely adjustment of first-party
property claims. Statutes regulat-
ing the public-adjusting profession
areinplace(asanexample,seeCRS
10-2-103 or visit the Department
of Regulatory Agencies website).
A public adjuster assists by hav-
ing others who are experienced in
the claims process join your team
to accurately capture damages to
the property, equipment, business
income and extra expense portions
of your claim, and communicate
directly with representatives from
your insurance company.
As you begin to process all that
needs to be addressed, among
your first priorities is to protect
the property from further damage.
Your maintenance staff may assist
with certain immediate, tempo-
rary and emergency needs, but
you will need others to assist in
returning the property to its pre-
loss condition. Also, you will need
help assessing all sustained dam-
ages, which should not be limited
to damages that are readily appar-
ent. In order to determine structur-
al damages, a thorough investiga-
tion is required to see if structural
components are compromised in
anymanner.
Fordamagefromafire,youwant
to eliminate smoke, ash and soot
that traveled up, through, under
and around
all openings,
behind walls,
above ceilings
and
below
floors. You do
not want to
remove soot
from walls by
simply wip-
ing
them.
To eliminate
the soot and
smoke odor
behind
the
walls, remov-
ing and replacing the walls is nec-
essary. Your tenants will be none
too pleased if, when returning, a
smoke odor remains and inad-
equate repairs were suggested as
proper. Heating, ventilating and
air conditioning, electrical and
plumbing systems need to be
thoroughly inspected as well. If
the loss is caused by water, you
should remove the water quickly
and properly dry impacted areas
to avoid mold growth and subse-
quent damage.
In addition to handling the
building damage and repairs, you
alsomust focus on thosedisplaced.
Whether your property is for com-
mercial use, multifamily housing
or another purpose, tenants are
a source of considerable revenue.
They will need a new, temporary
location. Howyou assist themwill
play a large role in whether they
return to the property.With proper
business interruption and extra
expenses coverage inplace toassist
in this type of loss – and with sup-
Property Management
Chris Rockers
Partner, Claim
Solutions Group,
Northglenn
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