5 Practical Property Recovery Tips

Property Recovery

After a significant property loss—whether for personal or commercial use—there is a desire by both the insured and the carrier to settle the claim in a quick manner for various reasons: the insured wants a return to normalcy, and the carrier wishes to provide the utmost in customer service while controlling costs like additional living expenses and/or possible losses incurred by business interruption.

The question of subrogation then arises, which in a large property loss case can pose unique challenges when it comes to a successful recovery. With regards to a claim made from a recovery perspective, getting involved early in the process to gather and protect critical information and evidence is crucial.
According to the November 2015 issue of Claims Magazine, the following five basic practices can aid an insurer in securing more of their paid claims funds:

  • Conduct or direct field scene investigations with an eye towards subrogation. The field adjuster can ask pertinent questions and document third-party potential to help back up the subrogation claim.
  • Make sure to preserve the evidence. It is up to the insurance professional to alert the policyholders of the importance of retaining evidence to be tested and providing them with a reason for cooperating if there is any hope of recovering their deductible. An even better alternative is having the field or independent adjuster collect the evidence at the scene, especially with losses that occurred from a faulty product.
  • Hire the right company/expert to conduct the examination of the faulty product. Extremely careful attention must be paid to the handling of the product to avoid allegations of destruction or tampering. Ideally, the evidence is examined simultaneously by the expert for the insurer and the manufacturer, which saves time and money.
  • Secure a cause and origin expert to establish a solid subrogation case. Strong consideration for this type of referral should be given to electrical fires, appliance fires, and spontaneous ignition incidents with the aim of establishing and confirming third party negligence and/or product failure.
  • Aim to identify potential subrogation on cases before any payment has been made. Determining cause and origin and proving negligence should start as early as possible. Develop an in-house program or consider subrogation vendors (provided by FNOL services) that use sophisticated methods of data extraction and optical character recognition which enable them to start the investigation before the claim is paid by the carrier.

On complex claims especially, savvy property adjusters recognize the importance of identifying subrogation possibilities early on in the claims process, before the scene has been compromised and important clues as to the cause and origin still remain intact, resulting in success for all parties involved.

Know Your Flood Insurance Options

Flood Insurance

Flooding can happen at any time and in almost any part of the country. In 2012, Superstorm Sandy ripped across the East Coast, causing over $70 billion in property damage to homes and businesses. It’s a startling number, made all the more so because over half of those affected by the storm were uninsured, leaving property owners and businesses without the basic means to continue their livelihood. If you haven’t given consideration to floods and flood insurance, you owe it to yourself to read the article “Why Don’t Property Owners Have Flood Insurance?” in September’s issue of Claims Magazine.

Many property owners don’t realize that their flood insurance may not offer the same categories of compensation that are standard with other policies. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was created by the US government to address flood insurance needs, which were considered too volatile and difficult for private insurance markets. Unlike most property insurance policies, typical flood insurance through NFIP does not include coverage for additional living expenses while the property is unusable, which can be months or even years depending on the damage caused in a flood. This can be devastating to any property owner, especially for businesses that are unable to operate while their location is being repaired.

However, inadequacies of NFIP programs are now being addressed through independent insurance policies. This extended flood coverage includes additional living expenses, as well as several other supplemental coverage types that will allow a property owner to get back on their feet and recover what was lost in a catastrophe.

Flood insurance, both through the NFIP and private insurance agencies, can be a complex subject. Kompani Risk & Insurance Solutions, Inc. offers insurance and consultation in 27 states, and we want to make sure you’re aware of all available information about your options in case of major flood damage. For more information, call Matsen CEO, R. Glenn Matsen, directly on his personal extension at 916-306-5902.

Real or Forgery? Telling the Difference is a Fine Art

Appraising fine art is an art itself, and can prove to be one of the most daunting—albeit, intriguing—categories in property insurance.  And while an authentic art work can be worth millions of dollars, a well-duplicated forgery is worthless in comparison, so the risk of making a costly error looms large. As this month’s edition of Claims Magazine presents, it takes expert discernment to be absolutely certain of the authenticity of fine art.

When it comes to authenticating an oil painting, there are several factors to look out for—signatures, artistic styles and abilities, hand-painted versus machine-made, canvases, and provenance. The most reliable method is identifying the signature, which can be ascertained by referencing books and periodicals that contain the artist’s signature. One can also examine the artist’s style and ability and compare it to other paintings by the same artist. In a forgery there are subtle differences—such as a detailed line that is rendered blurry—that can identify a potential fraud.

Another method is eyeing the canvas. With original paintings one can see and feel the texture of the paint and the overlapping colors used. By contrast, even with high quality inkjet printers used to make giclée copies, appraisers can discover under close examination the dot matrix pattern used.

Finally, the painting’s provenance—the documentation that confirms a work of art’s authenticity—is a useful method to use. A gallery label, a signed certificate of authenticity, an artistic statement discussing the piece, receipts, an expert appraisal, or a history of ownership, leaves no doubt that an art piece is genuine. There are times when even the documents themselves can be forgeries, but a reputable appraisal company will check to ensure their veracity.

By contrast, original prints are produced by the artist or a professional assistant for the purpose of creating a limited number of images. When an artist makes prints, each one is created from a plate and is technically considered a unique work of art even though it is produced in multiples, known as an “edition.” After obtaining the print’s edition number, appraisers usually look to catalogs to confirm the numbers match the known number. Edition numbers are not an absolute indication of authenticity, although it is an important first step in the process.

When checking for the authenticity of a print, an artist’s signature should be noted on it. If the print only has the plate signature, chances are it’s a reproduction print. Another thing to look for are discernible plate marks and impressions which should be visible around the image. Taking a look under the frame may be necessary for proper examination.

Purchasing a valued work of art can be a risky endeavor. At Kompani Risk & Insurance Solutions, Inc. we are happy to assist our valued clients in managing and planning for all types of risk, including property insurance. To discuss how we can help protect your assets, please contact our CEO R. Glenn Matsen directly on his personal extension at 916-306-5902. With us you’ll experience the exceptional service and attention to detail that you can only find with an independent insurance agency.