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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Fire, Smoke or Water

People often ask “which causes the worst damage: fire, smoke or water?”

My answer is simple – they are all bad.  However, there is no fire without smoke, and usually when you have a fire there is water damage as well due to fire brigade extinguishers or water pipes melting and discharging water.

The devastation caused following a fire is not somethng I would wish on my worst enemy.  Smoke gets into everthing, and it often amazes people to see ‘smoke cobwebs’ everywhere following a fire.  Smoke deposits cling to cobwebs that would not normally be visible, but when they turn black they are very visible!  You can also open presses and move objects to see how much smoke got into the press. It permeates clothing, soft furnishings, carpets and blinds etc.  It even gets into PVC, plaster and woodwork.

A water leak on it’s own is probably the easist damage to deal with, and to repair.  It is also the most frequent loss type.  Insurers however have discriminated against people with water leaks by increasing the policy excess for water damage.   This adds hardship onto householders who have to factor in the impact of the excess and loss of no claims bonus, when considering whether it is worthwhile making a claim or not.

Thankfully though all damage can be repaired and with expert specialists with experience to recommend the right people to deal with the devastation, the damage can be quickly assessed, negotiated and restored.

For independent advice from experts on your side – talk to Balcombes on 1800506700

 

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Balcombes Mind Map

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Hurricane Ophelia – the aftermath

Our team of assessors are currently deployed across the country to deal with property damage claims.  We act on behalf of property owners to help them to recover from their loss and damage.  We compile full written claim details to support your claim submission, and we negotiate settlement under the terms of the policy.

photo courtesy of thejournal.ie

photo courtesy of thejournal.ie

Balcombes have advised policyholders to:

  1. Take photographs of the damage
  2. Secure the premises against further damage/effect temporary repairs.
  3. Report the claim to your Insurer.
  4. Remove wet or damage contents but do not dispose of them off site.
  5. Make an inventory of damaged items or appoint a Loss Assessor to handle the claim to ensure they receive their full entitlement under the terms of the policy.

Insurers will appoint Loss Adjusters or Builders to assess or repair the damage to buildings, but it is important to recognise that they are there to represent the Insurer and will not, for example, compile a claim for damaged contents.  Loss Assessors work for the Policyholder and will provide support and reassurance over the process, and the steps to take.  We are there to represent the property owner.  “People want to know where they stand.  It’s important that they have someone they can rely on the fully assess the damage on their behalf” said Jim Flannery, Director.  “With over 40 years experience dealing with storm damage claimants in Ireland, you can put your trust in us”.  Call us on 1800 506 700

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Property Claims – Know your rights

   If you suffer damage to your property and need to make an insurance claim the Central Bank’s Consumer Protection Code 2012 stipulates that if your insurer is appointing a Loss Adjuster to handle the claim on their behalf, they must inform that policyholder that the Loss Adjuster is there to represent the interests of the Insurer and that they (the policyholder) may appoint a Loss Assessor to represent their interests, but at their own expense.

It has become apparent in recent times that some insurers are trying to avoid compliance with this stipulation by appointing their own in-house loss adjusters or partner contractors to try and circumvent the rights of the consumer to engage a Loss Assessor.  KNOW YOUR RIGHTSUnfortunately Loss Assessors do not have  large marketing budgets to engage in a mass media campaign to advertise that fact. Perhaps the Financial Regulator should do so if they are serious about consumer protection.  In the meantime most of our business comes from referrals from insurance brokers, and from happy clients who know and appreciate the value we brought to their insurance claim solution. We thank you for your support.

Help us educate the public by spreading the word.  Please click the links below or “like” and “share” this post to circulate it with your network.

      We have first hand experience of settlement proposals or solutions being offered directly to policyholders, and when we were asked by them to review it there were serious deficiencies in what was being proposed.

     Our initial consultation is free of charge.  Call us on 1800 506 700.

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Fire Damage Claims

Regardless of who you are Insured with, if you suffer fire damage to your home or business you will need expert advice and assistance filing your insurance claim.  How can a policyholder know what they are entitled to claim for or where to start?

“Fire and smoke can be devastating and it pays to get expert help.  We will handle all the hassle and paperwork, removing any uncertainty and giving our clients peace of mind”.  Jim Flannery, Director, Balcombes Claims Management

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