In the event of a loss to your home or business, insurance companies are expected to pay for the damage and return your property to its pre-loss condition. That’s the promise insurers make when you pay them money for a policy. But insurance companies are not charitable organizations. They are in business to make a profit—and that motivation to make a profit often conflicts with the insurer’s promise to pay claims promptly and fairly.
The first thing insurers often do when a claim is reported is bring in a team of experts to decide if your claim is covered or not. In a hurricane situation, often engineers and forensic weather consultants are hired by the insurer to determine if the damage to a building is from the wind (covered under most policies) or storm surge (not covered—you would need a flood policy for this). These experts rely on the volume of business they receive from insurance companies, and some of them are more motivated by the repeat business than the truth.
After Hurricane Katrina, some insurers were quick to attribute wind damages to flood and place the bill on the federal government’s tab. State Farm was one of the culprits and this week the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case in which the insurance company was found to have committed fraud under the False Claims Act for wrongfully submitting wind claims as flood damages under the federal government’s flood insurance program—saving themselves big bucks in policy payouts.
The case demonstrates the importance of quickly getting a team of your own in place that you can trust after your building sustains a loss. Contact our firm from the start of the claim and, instead of you having to pay out of pocket, we will advance the professional fees and get reimbursed out of the recovery—allowing you to get reputable experts out to the scene immediately to document that your claim is covered and the proper scope of reconstruction—experts who have the education, training and experience to testify in court if need be.