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Last Post 10/12/2011 8:37 PM by  CatAdjusterX
Wildfire Smoke...remember the Mold is Gold days?
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Tatanka
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10/07/2011 6:09 PM

     HI All, 

    I have been working a fair amount of the wildfire claims in Texas. The public adjuster community have now entered the process. I am wondering what other adjusters are running into. We have PAs pounding the streets and demanding complete roof replacements for smoke, sucking the insulation attic clean, cleaning the complete interior of structures and contents. 

    Has anyone ran across some good solid guidelines on roofs? I have spoken to several cleaning contractors and they tell me many carriers are buying roofs. My research shows, algae, mold and industrial smudging can create what the PAs are calling soot or smoke residual,

    Homes that are 2 to 3 miles from the fire area, are getting their attic insulation removed and replaced and some getting complete exterior paint jobs. 

    Interiors go way out there with the PAs.

    What's the scoop guys? What is everyone running into? 

    Some folks are raising the health issue flags and demanding the moon. 

    Would be interested to any observations. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Leland
    Advanced Member
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    Posts:741


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    10/10/2011 3:07 PM
    I have adjusted 100's of wildfire smoke claims in California. Some notes & observations:

    I can't ever recall paying for a new roof due to smoke damage, but pressure washing has often been paid.

    These claims are aggressively pursued by PAs, unlike several years ago. One PA set up a table outside of a grocery store. Others ran ads on TV, sometimes in the local language. Lots of door to door solicitation occurred. Mainly claims appeared perfectly legitimate, many others were questionable. Many claims were filed months after the fire.

    Most claims (handled by staff or independents) that I know about had hygienists paid by the insurance company, unless it was obvious that interior smoke damage occurred. Smoke samples were sent to labs for infrared spectography or other analysis.

    It is not unusual for a full building scope and contents to exceed $50,000 on a large house. This could include pressure washing the exterior, hand wipe of interior, duct cleaning. pool cleaning (or replastering), ozone treatment, contents cleaning/replacement. Pool pumps can get damaged from ash.

    Many claims were denied. Some claims were filed for properties miles upwind from the fires.

    There are certain details which are important or useful for the hygienists to include in their report. For example, is there a wood burning fireplace in the home? Is the level of smoke detected consistent with infrequent use of a fireplace, or is the level much greater than what would be expected? Think about whether you want the hygienist to give an opinion on the necessary scope of repair.

    There are a lot of questions that you could ask in a recorded interview. I must have done 100's. Example: does anyone smoke in the house? It may appropriate to ask the insured if they see or smell any smoke. They may tell you that they don't. I had insureds tell me they had no damage but they filed a claim because a PA told them they should, or their neighbor received money.

    If the house has already been cleaned, especially prior to reporting the loss, it may be appropriate to consider a denial for failure to exhibit damages.

    In my opinion there are certain observations you should make in your report, based on your inspection. Did you smell smoke odor, yes or no? Did you see ashes, yes or no? etc.

    Bear in mind that wind blown ash may not be covered under a named peril policy. Wind blown ash on a "all risk" policy may be a separate cause of loss, especially if it occurred weeks after the fire.

    Send me a private message and I may be able to give you more education. I may be able to give you a list of questions.

    In summary, there are many cases where people suffer real loss due to smoke entering their home. I believe it is important to adjust those claims fairly, while being careful to identify those who really don't have any damage.

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    CatAdjusterX
    Veteran Member
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    Posts:964


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    10/12/2011 8:37 PM
    Posted By Tatanka on 07 Oct 2011 06:09 PM

     HI All, 

    I have been working a fair amount of the wildfire claims in Texas. The public adjuster community have now entered the process. I am wondering what other adjusters are running into. We have PAs pounding the streets and demanding complete roof replacements for smoke, sucking the insulation attic clean, cleaning the complete interior of structures and contents. 

    Has anyone ran across some good solid guidelines on roofs? I have spoken to several cleaning contractors and they tell me many carriers are buying roofs. My research shows, algae, mold and industrial smudging can create what the PAs are calling soot or smoke residual,

    Homes that are 2 to 3 miles from the fire area, are getting their attic insulation removed and replaced and some getting complete exterior paint jobs. 

    Interiors go way out there with the PAs.

    What's the scoop guys? What is everyone running into? 

    Some folks are raising the health issue flags and demanding the moon. 

    Would be interested to any observations. 

    ....................................................................................................................................

    I worked the wildfires in California in 2007 and 2009. It was the 2009 wildfire on a reinspection with a PA when I had my ladder mishap and broke my leg, my pelvis,ribs,jaw and fractured my skull.

    I was amazed at the number of PA rep'd insured's and the reopens were almost across the boards.

    Whilst smoke claims are better than no claims, if I EVER see another smoke claim it will be to soon. Extremely tedious and time consuming. One specific claim comes to mind and was a reopen with a PA rep'd insured. On the PA's estimate there was a $3,000.00 charge for hand wiping and cleaning a chandalier. I was blown away and I let the PA know that I think that was ridiculous. In the end, it was a learning experience for me as when I pulled up the pricing to clean this type of chandalier and the numbers were indeed close to 3grand,(2,870.00)

    Whilst smoke claims are a bonanza for PA's and plaintiff attorney's, there were many legitimate claims with good cause for a reopen. I was impressed with many of the PA's and PA firms I worked with. However, there were 2 that both worked for the same firm and suffice it to say they weren't public adjusters, they were criminals with a PA license.

    The majority of these reopens stemmed from the initial adjuster not even inspecting the interior of said risk and that alone gave the PA's the inch needed so they could take a mile.

     

    Robby 

     

     

     

     

     

     



    "A good leader leads..... ..... but a great leader is followed !!" CatAdjusterX@gmail.com
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