You Can’t Always Blame It On The Rain

A recent Property & Casualty Group forensic claim demonstrates the need for carriers, adjusters and TPAs to be mindful of claims, cases and issues wherein the technical knowledge required often surpasses that of the everyday adjuster. This applies not only to CAT claims, but to all of your residential and commercial claims wherein fundamental construction and engineering issues play critical roles in establishing true cause and origin.

Following hurricanes and storms, carriers are besieged with a high volume of complex claims. Many of these are fully covered, and the perennial leaders in property insurance value client loyalty. Therefore, they do everything they can to honor their promises; they prioritize the Customer Experience, assist with crises, temporary food, water and shelter, expedite inspection and payment, etc. But not every instance of reported damage is directly attributable to the storm, hurricane or other catastrophic event in question. While it is Guardian Group, Inc.’s longstanding policy never to comment on issues of coverage, it is our responsibility to arrive at scientifically valid conclusions with regard to cause and origin.

On one such multi-structure residential property claim investigation in the Southeast, the owner of the apartment buildings may have fully believed that the damage to his roof, the collapse of a ceiling and several areas of moisture intrusion and plaster staining were attributable solely to the hurricane, but the findings in our report illustrated the contrary.

Upon notification, we immediately deployed to the scene, visually inspecting the property, interacting with the insured and documenting all site conditions photographically. From there, we began to gather facts from all available sources so as to arrive at a logical narrative regarding the damages claimed and observed.

On this specific claim, there were multiple breaches to the buildings’ envelopes, all of which contributed to the reported interior damages. These breaches included: missing and peeling/faded paint on the exterior stucco, large openings at roof soffit areas, lack of proper window waterproofing, as well as gaps and severe deterioration of portions of the roof membrane. Additionally, our Property & Casualty Group expert conducted a review of Google Earth images; these showed multiple repair attempts over the past 9 years, indicating temporary, most likely reactionary efforts to prior intrusion and damage. In-person site inspections of the roofs revealed evidence of aging, deterioration, wear and tear of roof coverings and only sporadic repair over the years.

Ultimately, the clear and concise report delivered to our carrier-client spelled out our forensic findings: the reported water intrusion damage, including stained ceilings and walls, as well as collapsed drywall ceiling areas, were the result of deteriorated construction materials and finishes, long-term exposure to the elements and from periodic water intrusion through existing openings in the building exterior.

When you need rapid, reliable answers to property damage issues, you can rely on our nearly 30 years’ experience. And when you need construction repair estimates, often, we can provide these for you, as well. Call on the forensic property claim experts at Guardian Group, Inc. today.

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