Christmas Arrangements 2018

The Directors of Balcombes Claims Management would like to wish all our customers, staff and industry colleagues a very Happy Christmas and every good wish for 2019.

Our offices will be closed from 1.00pm on Friday 21st December 2018 and will re-open on Wednesday 2nd January 2019 at 9.00am.

happy-christmas-from-balcombes

Happy Christmas from Balcombes

We will have loss assessors on call between the Christmas and New Year period.

In the event of any property damage or business interruption emergency over the holiday period please call:

Jim Flannery on 087 6775685 or

Diarmuid McNulty on 087 2590032

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The Slow Bicycle Race

When I was a kid in primary school we spent our entire Summers on bicycles going everywhere, racing around and having fun.  We also taught ourselves how to balance, do wheelies, jump over ramps, and all sorts of other skills on bikes.

On one particular Sports Day at school there was a ‘Slow Bicycle Race’ as one of the events.  With great enthusiasm I decided to enter and to my surprise and delight, I won the race.   Having found it easy to stop and start and balance on the bike; barely moving forwards for much of the race, until I was the last man standing, when everyone else had crashed out or passed the finishing line.

Little did I realise that the skills I learned back then have stood me in good stead in my Balcombes Slow Bicycle Racechosen career.  Insurance Loss Assessing is about using skills and knowledge, married with patience and balance to achieve a settlement.  It is about having a focus on the end result.  It is about observing what is going on around you and being able to have the staying power to stick to the course.  Using all our tools and skills to best serve our clients.

Others have come and gone and gave up when the going got tough. I have used my determination and passion for advocating on behalf of clients.  I not alone stay the course, but serve our clients with all the enjoyment, fun and satisfaction that I felt when I won that slow bicycle race.

Live your passion.

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California wildfires and the Irish

Balcombes have reached out to offer advice and assistance to the Irish community in California who have lost property in the wild fires currently raging there.image

Jim Flannery,  Managing Director, has posted Balcombes offer of help on their  website and Facebook page, and reached out to the Irish Ex-pat community in California via social media.

The wildfires started on 8th November 2018 and are still not under control in several areas.  Already in excess of 11,000 buildings have been destroyed and over 295,000 residents evacuated from their homes in California.

Sadly there have been 76 confirmed fatalities, with almost 1,000 people still reported to be missing.

The wildfires are covering an area in excess of 250,000 acres, which equates to almost 10 times the size of Co. Dublin, Ireland.  The largest fire was in the Butte County which wiped out a town called Paradise.  The Woolsey Fire is burning along the Pacific Highway and has forced the evacuation of much of Malibu which is home to many celebrities including some Irish actors.

President Trump has criticised the lack of forestry management for contributing to the spread of the blaze.  He visited the town of Paradise on 18th November and caused outrage when he referred to the town of Paradise as “Pleasure” as the CBS Los Angeles  report. He also faced a barrage of criticism for comparing the lack of wildfires in Finland which is a “forest nation” to California as reported by The Telegraph.  Finland has a totally different climate to California with much lower temperatures and is covered in snow for several months each year.

Balcombes have offered to give advice and support to the Irish community who have lost property in the devastating fires.  We deal with fire claims all the time, but it is hard to imagine the scale of this disaster. image

The important thing is the protection against further loss of life; material possessions can be replaced.  The sense of loss and devastation can be overwhelming for those affected.

“We will provide advice on-line by emailing us at info@balcombes.ie or by telephone on 0035312950589.  We will assign each case to a Loss Assessor to include a review of policy coverage and the compilation of claim documentation to assist home and business owners with their claims process.  If necessary we will travel to California when it is safe to go there,” said Mr Flannery.  “Whilst we are not registered with the California State to offer Public Loss Assessing services there, we can offer direct support to home and business owners”.  

Every property or business interruption claim requires a statement of loss and damage to be fully documented and submitted to the insurance carrier before a Loss Adjuster is in a position to make a settlement offer.  When everything is totally destroyed it can be hard to know where to start.  However, Balcombes are expert at putting claim documents together and are available to give all professional advice and support necessary to help get through the process.

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Mindfulness and Insurance Claims

In today’s fast paced environment where communication is 24/7 and people are busy with work and life, it is hard to get time from all the distractions to concentrate on the important stuff that has to be done, but which can be a chore to do.   Many people rely on insurance brokers to place their insurance cover, because the broker can take all the details once and come back with the best range of covers and quotes for the most suitable products. They are professional in what they do and are able to get the best outcome for their client to source a product that best suits their needs.

When it comes to dealing with a claim, the home or business owner needs to get estimates for repairs and replacement, compile and submit their claim, and negotiate with an expert claims handler.  Some insurers are sending out builders to provide estimates for repairs to the building.  However they are engaged by the Insurer and there is little or no independent oversight for the home owner.  They only deal with the building repairs and not with the contents damage or the alternative accommodation requirements.  Many homeowners feel intimidated by the process, and they still have to fend for themselves, to get a conclusion, whilst having to deal with insurers and their builder.

What has all this got to do with mindfulness, I hear you ask?

Dealing with an insurance claim requires mindfulness.  It requires concentrating on what information needs to be gathered, what estimates need to be obtained, what paperwork needs to be compiled, who to send it to and where, how to respond to queries and how to negotiate with the experts on the Insurance Company’s side.  If there are grey areas (and there are many grey areas in insurance) it requires careful reading and interpretation of policy wordings.  Engaging a public loss assessor will take all the hassle and stress off the policyholder and ensure that a ‘mindful’ professional will ensure that the claim is properly documented and negotiated to a successful conclusion.

If you want to ensure a dedicated, independent, pro-active, personal expert handles your claim, contact us for a no-obligation chat to see how we can assist.  Worth it’s weight in gold!

 

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Happy Halloween

We would like to wish all our clients, staff and supporters a Happy Halloween.  Enjoy the fireworks and bonfires, and stay safe.

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Storm Damage Claims

The recent storm to hit Ireland – Storm Ali, on 19th September 2018 was as severe as Storm Ophelia in October 2017 – which brought the country to a standstill.  Storm Ophelia was classified as a Status Red by Met Eireann.  In the end whilst it caused damage to property and brought trees down, the effects were not as severe as predicted.

Storm Ali was classified as a Status Orange by Met Eireann, but by the time it hit the west coast of Ireland and passed over the country the gust were as strong and in many cases stronger than that experienced during Storm Ophelia.

There were two other major differences – in October there was very little growth left on the trees and thus the wind brought down fewer trees. Conversely, this week there was very little rainfall, thus the impact was confined to wind with little or no rain adding to the impact.  It is also possible that the summer drought weakened root structures.

Storm damage to buildings require professional assessment and negotiation under the terms of an insurance policy to ensure a full indemnity is secured to enable reinstatement to be undertaken.  We have experienced many instances where old Blue Bangor slates are ripped off roofs only for the insurer to seek to avoid paying for a full repair because of wear and tear on the slates or the fixings.  In other cases they did not want to allow for the cost to strip the roof covering off to fit new battens and felt to comply with current building regulations.  For some farm or industrial buildings with corrugated metal or asbestos sheets being damaged they can expect the property owner to accept a ‘patch repair’.  We have experienced instances where the insurer/loss adjusters engage an engineer to help them avoid paying for a proper reinstatement using ‘evidence’ found by their engineer to undermine the pre-existing condition of the roof.

All of these tactics overlook the fact that most policies are on a reinstatement “new for old” basis.  Most policies also include the cost of complying with Local Authority requirements.  The premiums of the many are there to pay for the losses of the few.

We can usually successfully argue the case for proper reinstatement to be fully paid for.  However, we do have to question why an adversarial approach to minimise or avoid paying for property damage in Ireland seems to be more heavy handed than that taken by their counterparts in other jurisdictions. Most of the insurance companies operating in Ireland are part of multi-national Insurers.  Is it that the local Management and claims handlers want to achieve maximum savings to impress their Directors and shareholders?  It is time to treat customers fairly, and deal with property damage sustained as a result of an insured peril, in good faith.

If you have suffered damage to your building and need to make an insurance claim, call Balcombes on 1800 506 700 to ensure you get the best advise and service on your side.
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The Power of a Team

“No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” – Reid Hoffman, entrepreneur, co-founder and Executive Chairman of Linkedin.

If you suffer loss or damage to your property and you need help to compile and negotiate your insurance claim, you would be well advised to get expert help on your side.  Many Public Loss Assessors (PLA’s) are one man bands who perhaps used to work for Loss Adjusting or Quantity Surveying firms and who decided to go solo.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.   Entrepreneurial spirit is to be applauded and hard work and effort to be encouraged.

However, if your claim is large or complex, your typical sole trader may not have the time, resources or expertise to ensure your best interests are fully protected.  Indeed a claim need not even be large or complex to have an issue which can be difficult or technical in nature to overcome.

At Balcombes we have a team of insurance and construction professionals who are dedicated to ensuring the best outcome for all our clients.  We collaborate and tease out issues and problems with each other on a daily basis to ensure that the team comes up with the best way to tackle any situation. With expert communication, presentation and negotiating skills, we have the best chance of a sucessful outcome to any claim.

Get the power of the Balcombes Team on your side.  Call us on 1800 506 700.

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Friday 13th….unlucky for some

Friday 13th can, according to superstition, be unlucky for some.  Dishwasher fire

However, if you suffer damage to your property and need advice and assistance in negotiating your insurance claim, it could be your lucky day.

Balcombes have a team of qualified and experienced loss assessors who are able to fully assess your loss and damage within the terms of your insurance policy.  We are expert in insurance policy wordings and in processing property and business interruption insurance claims.  Let the experts take some of the stress and uncertainty out of your bad luck.  It pay’s to get expert help. 

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The Beast from the East

Ireland is experiencing a cold snap as polar air crosses from the East and meets with a moist air mass from Storm Emma from the South. This is resulting in significant snow falls and sub zero temperatures, as the Met Office issues a Status Red weather alert.

Prolonged freezing conditions can cause pipes to burst which will lead to extensive damage caused by escape of water.  This can be particularly so if a property is unattended when the thaw comes, leading to unlimited free flowing water.

Most insurance policies cover the damage caused by the escape of water from any fixed water apparatus, provided the property has not been left unattended for more than 30 days. Some policies exclude the cost of the plumbing repairs caused by wear and tear but will cover the subsequent water damage.  In a freeze-up, the ‘burst’ is a sudden and unforeseen event and therefore the plumbing repair cost would be covered on those policies. Check your policy wording for details or call us for advice.

It is vital to fully establish the extent of water damage, as it may not be immediately apparent.  Untreated timber combined with concealed water can lead to fungal mould growth and to dry rot at a later stage.  Professional advice and expert assessment can prevent these issues when it comes to ensuring you receive your rightful entitlement under the terms of your policy.

Call us on 1800 506 700

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Expert water detection, the key to success…

If you suffer water damage from a leaking pipe, how do you know what to claim for?

I have given up a long time ago trying to figure out the path that water flows.  Thankfully Balcombes loss assessors all carry a vital piece of expensive equipment that detects moisture content in wood, plaster or brick surfaces. 

That way we are able to tell where the water leak has penetrated and what is likely to need to be replaced and what needs to be removed to dry out or replace hidden damage.

What might look fine to the casual observer, may well be saturated and may only show signs of deterioration at a later stage, when it may be too late.  We can demonstrate to your insurer’s appointed loss adjuster or contractor, the evidence that forms the basis of your claim.

Our expert team of loss assessors can be your guarantee of a sucessful outcome to your property claim and we are there to give you personal service, expert opinions and peace of mind.

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