BIGGEST ERRORS IN FILING A CLAIM

By Raymond A. Altieri, Jr, CPPA

Filing a property insurance claim can be a very complex undertaking. In all regards, you are asking a multi-billion-dollar corporation to pay you money for something you own that has become damaged. It is natural for those with the money, in a circumstance such as this, to be frugal, responsible, and sometimes even suspect of those who would make claim.


With this concern in mind, it is crucial for those who make claim to be sure they are forthright, honest, accurate, and transparent in dealing with an insurer. To not be any of those characteristics could be cause for denial of your claim, or worse if those making claim were to misrepresent or conceal information vital to the insurer’s ability to warrant payment.

If we were to discuss some of the most common mistakes made by policyholders in filing property damage claims they could be boiled down to the following:
  • Not being detailed in item count, description, or price to replace today
  • Failing to list items damaged they perceive to be of little or no value
  • Using someone other than a licensed public adjuster to represent them to the insurance company
  • Allowing the insurance company to determine your loss value
  • Giving all rights to your claim settlement monies to a contractor or other party

 

Number 1 above, “Not being detailed in your count etc,” is just what it says. The more detail you provide to the insurance company adjuster about your claim lists and costs, the more information they have to pay you what you are claiming.
Number 2 above, “Failing to List, etc,” is a common omission because people have the natural tendency to think “letting certain items go” by not listing them gives them credibility or endears them to the adjuster to make up for it somewhere else in the claim. You get no credit elsewhere in the claim from a carrier for not listing items and their costs that are damaged, regardless of how small or trivial you think that damage is. If it is damaged, you list it, price it accurately, and ask for payment.

Number 3 above, “Using someone other than a Public Adjuster, etc”. This is a major mistake because only State Licensed Public Insurance Adjusters are trained and allowed by law to represent property policyholders on their claims to an insurance company. Many times, unsuspecting policyholders are coerced into hiring contractors to handle their claims with their insurer because the contractor will indicate they can do the same thing as a public adjuster. THAT IS NOT, NOR HAS IT EVER BEEN THE CASE. Licensed public adjusters are trained in adjusting and estimating techniques from the perspective of the policyholder, using the insurance policy to their favor. Public adjusters are state licensed, submit to FBI background checks, and are educated in insurance policy analysis. Public adjusters are experts in using the insurance policy language to benefit their client. Contractors are not allowed to perform such activity by law and cannot discuss insurance policy coverage with an insurance company.
This means when an insurance company adjuster wrongly proclaims to a contractor that your claim or a portion of it is not covered, there is no ability for that contractor to rebut the adjuster. Your claim is then dead in the water. Use the contractor for mitigation or construction. You use the professional Public Adjuster to advocate for you in the claims process.

Number 4 above, “Allowing the insurance company to determine loss value.” In comparison, imagine telling the IRS to let you know how much you owe them in taxes! It is always best for you, the policyholder, to make your claim to the carrier. The carrier should be “adjusting” the claim you present to them, not the other way around. It is your home, your building, your business. It is your obligation to present the claim to the carrier. The insurer only performs this activity in advance of the policyholder to control the payment outcome. How could the damage evaluation process by the party with the checkbook, be best for the party getting paid? Human nature and simple business theory would dictate otherwise. Use your own adjuster, a public adjuster, to evaluate and negotiate your claim for optimum results in payment.
Number 5 above, “Giving up all your rights to settlement monies, etc.” It is a major mistake for a policyholder to hand over the rights to their claim payment to a contractor by signing away all their natural insurance policy rights as the policyholder, to a contractor or other third party. You should maintain ownership of your claim, its proceeds, and the decision on how to rebuild, for how much, and with what materials. It is your property plain and simple. Handing over full authority to a contractor or anyone else eliminates you from having authority over the claim, its money from the insurance company, and even if your contractor decides to sue your insurance company. Maintain possession of your claim, its money, and how you wish to spend that money once it is received.

Altieri Insurance Consultants Announces New Board of Directors, Executives, and Management Team

More Than 125 Years of Combined Adjusting Experience Now Overseeing Organizational and Day-to-Day Operations; Strengthens Florida Foothold and National Reach with Recent Additions

TAMPA, Fla., May 10, 2022 (Newswire.com)Altieri Insurance Consultants, an industry-leading public insurance adjusting firm serving residential, commercial, and industrial clients for over 30 years, is pleased to announce its new
Board of Directors, Executives, and Management team.

Raymond A. Altieri Jr., CPPA, founder, will become Chairman of the Board of Directors

Raymond A. Altieri III, President, has also been named Chief Executive Officer.

Francis (Frank) M. Altieri has been elevated to Executive Vice President.

Kevin A. Kimball Jr. has become Chief Operating Officer.

Andrew M. Knox, SPPA, has formally joined the firm as its Chief Claims Officer

In addition to the executive team, they are pleased to announce the following management team:

Jason Pruitt has been named Sales Director, in addition to his current duties as Regional Director

Steve Mason has been named the firm’s National Director of Business Development.

Andrew J. Altieri will remain the corporation’s Chief Financial Officer.

These additions will enhance the firm’s influence for clients and add to its depth of capabilities working for policyholders with their insurance companies. The company is pleased to recognize these individuals for their outstanding work over the years.Altieri Insurance Consultants is very proud to have this highly respected and highly skilled group of professionals in its leadership, assuring clients and policyholders a sustained expectation that

exemplary property claims handling will continue from this public insurance adjusting firm for decades to come.

Altieri Insurance Consultants is the premier Public Adjusting firm in Florida and the Southeast United States. Since 1988, Altieri has been advocating for residential and commercial insurance policyholders, recovering more than $1,000,000,000 for our clients. Holding licenses in more than 30 states, and possessing more than 250 years of combined adjusting experience, Altieri has handled thousands of hurricane, hail, wind, water and fire claims nationwide since its inception. Also recognized by their peers as industry leaders, Altieri team members have served on the board of, and as President of, NAPIA (National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters), FAPIA (Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters) and several other leading organizations.

In addition to Public Adjusting, Altieri also provides the following services:

– Claim & estimate reviews

– Detailed damage reports, estimates & contents inventories

– Loss of Income, Extra Expense, and other Time Element evaluations

– Policy reviews & coverage analysis

– Appraisal services

– Mediation & Litigation support

– Roof & building envelope inspections

– Pre-Loss coverage review

– Hurricane Preparedness & Contingency Planning

– FEMA consulting

– Continuing Education Credits for Condo Association Managers (2 Hours)

FL License: W808324

Contact Information

MEDIA CONTACT:

Gil Shalmon- Director of Marketing & Public Adjuster (FL: W660831)

 

The Importance of Louisiana Directive 219

By Ray Altieri Jr, CPPA

January 24th was a glorious day for policyholders in the State of Louisiana and that glory should be expected to spread to other states as well. What has generated the euphoria is Directive 219. Louisiana’s Commissioner of Insurance issued this directive reaffirming policyholders have the right to hire public insurance adjusters to assist them with their property insurance claims regardless of what insurers quietly insert into the insurance policies of unsuspecting property owners.

This directive is very important because in recent years in multiple states, not just Louisiana, certain insurers have begun inserting endorsements into a property owner’s policy imposing a prohibition against the hiring of public insurance adjusters. These endorsements indicate the hiring of a public adjuster would automatically be grounds to deny a policyholder’s legitimate claim and/or cancel their insurance policy. This underhanded practice is a major afront to all that is fair and honorable in business since it quietly takes away a right from an unsuspecting consumer that he or she may not even know exists. These endorsements cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged because they are anti-consumer. In addition, it most likely may be an unconstitutional restraint of trade when considering public adjusting is a legitimate business/profession, licensed by state governments, who also provide strict oversight.

It is easy to come to the conclusion just how misleading these types of endorsements are. Here is what we know to be true about public adjusting at its most basic level: most people do not know what a public adjuster is or that this type of profession even exists. Policyholders only need us when they need us, therefore public adjusters are almost entirely an unknown entity to the general public, UNLESS AND UNTIL they actually suffer a major loss. This generalized anonymity can cause policyholders to fall prey to the ill effects of such an endorsement without them truly knowing the pitfalls of allowing it on to their insurance policy. Of course, that is if they even know that endorsement is there. For an insurer to be allowed to coax them into giving up a right they know little about, by tempting them at a point when the consumer has no current need or any expectation of having a need, reeks of deception. Imagine the vulnerability of a policyholder (to an insurer) who does not have an option to hire assistance when the insurer goes into the claims adjustment already knowing that vulnerability. Can you imagine the forced settlements they will be subject to or the resulting increase of claims in litigation because of this endorsement? Lawyers and litigation may be a policyholder’s only choice. And if the claim is not financially significant enough for a lawyer to engage?

People naively or at least without much option, have to put their trust into their insurer at the time of policy purchase. They see this insurance policy as their trusted opportunity to be resurrected out of devastation and loss should the major event ever occur—even though most people think: it will never happen to them! Unaware policyholders, (even sophisticated businessowners) will be led down a path to sign for such an endorsement under the lure of a premium discount which unknowingly is to their own detriment. Many people, even those most sophisticated, do not realize they need professional adjusting assistance until well after they interact with their insurers when suffering a loss. Only then, do they realize their incredible disadvantage in the claims process. What happens to those who do not receive a fair analysis or adjustment? Those people do not realize they need help until AFTER their insurer is not providing them with a fair settlement opportunity.

There is no altruistic need for this public adjuster prohibition endorsement other than for an insurer to gain an even more dominant advantage over its policyholders. After all, it is not as if these policyholders are required to hire us after they learn of our existence. So why would a policyholder be prematurely prevented from hiring a licensed professional who meets all State standards to conduct business, under the very government who underwrites that existence? If insurance commissioners are truly protecting policyholders, they must act affirmatively to prevent this scheme from being perpetrated against the insuring public and to prevent the restraint of trade the endorsement imposes upon the government licensed public adjusting industry. By the way, does a policy form like this even prevent an attorney from hiring a public adjuster as an expert on a case based on the language also stating—“otherwise utilize…”?

Every industry has “it’s ying to it’s yang.” The Internal Revenue Service has its agents and tax accountants. Litigation has its plaintiff and defense attorneys. Realtors have their seller and buyer agents. Why would the property insurance company claims adjuster not work with a policyholder claims adjuster in the claims process? There really is only one answer to that question and unfortunately it surely does not benefit the property owner.

Working property claims since 1980 gives me perspective. Perspective gained over the decades of experiencing insurer backlash after major hurricanes strike certain regions of the country. Louisiana has had their share of hurricanes the last couple of years and what does that misfortune produce? It produces endorsements prohibiting the hire of public adjusters. Unfortunately, that is the solution for some insurers. It is time for other State Insurance Commissioners to act and eliminate these endorsements from being inserted into their insurer property policies. Your property owners are counting on it.

Every industry has bad actors. Where there are bad actors in public adjusting, let’s deal with them and their ill-conceived schemes directly like other industries would. Let us refrain from using the “Kill ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out” philosophy. We are grateful to Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Donelon for demonstrating the integrity to see the value of our profession and the benefit it provides to his State’s insured public.

On October 25, 2021, at their Annual Convention, Francis (Frank) Altieri became Secretary of the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (FAPIA).

Voted by his colleagues at the statewide association meeting to ascend to the Officers Ladder from his position on the Board of Directors, Frank will now represent FAPIA in the coming year as its Secretary.

Frank has been a Florida State Licensed Public Insurance Adjuster since 2008 and is also a multi-state licensed Public Insurance Adjuster, representing policyholders on their property insurance claims throughout the United States. Frank has been a member of FAPIA since he was first licensed and follows in his father, Raymond Altieri Jr’s footsteps, who was the Founding President of the organization in 1993.

Altieri Insurance Consultants is honored to have Frank Altieri join the board of FAPIA (Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters). FAPIA has been at the forefront of shaping policy and legislation throughout the State of Florida for over 25 years. Its mission is to ensure fair claims practices for policyholders and promote education and training for Public Adjusters. Our CEO, Raymond Altieri Jr., was the founding President of FAPIA and was President of the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA) from 2011 to 2012.

Altieri Insurance Consultants proudly supports both FAPIA and NAPIA’s mission to protect policyholders, while promoting the professional conduct of public adjusters throughout the United States.

FAPIA MISSION STATEMENT

To organize the Public Insurance Adjusters of the State of Florida to better serve the interests of the insured citizenry of the State and to help facilitate the expeditious and proper handling of insurance losses and claims. 

To unite the Public Insurance Adjusters of the State of Florida for their mutual benefit, education and protection, as well as to protect and benefit the general public. 

To establish and maintain high standards of professional conduct and efficiency among its members, and to study and assist in carrying out the provisions of all laws and regulations pertaining to Public Insurance Adjusters that may be enacted or formulated by the U.S. Government or by the Florida Legislature and Insurance Department of the State of Florida. 

To advance and protect the interests of its members, to promote their welfare, and to attain a spirit of helpful assistance and cooperation among its members. To become a source of consultation regarding industry issues for the Florida Department of Insurance.

Learn more about Frank Altieri

Learn more about FAPIA

If a hurricane has been named and comes through your area it is always good to check everything even if it does not seem your home has been affected.  A large proportion of homeowners do not regularly check the roof of their property. Neither do they check it themselves, nor do they have it checked by a specialist. But this can end badly and be expensive, and not just in the event of storm damage.  What should be a matter of course after a named storm or maybe even a hailstorm, namely checking the roof, can also preventively protect against damage to the roof or the substance of the house. 

Major weak points

When inspecting the roof, the first thing to do is understand the weak points the roof itself may have. A distinction must be made between flat and pitched roofs:

In the case of a flat roof, the roof cladding consists of bitumen sheets welded together. A roof inspection must therefore look for cracks, including hairline cracks or holes. Equally important is examining the connection points between the individual bitumen sheets and the connections to the chimney, ventilation pipes, or drains. The connecting rain gutters must also be checked so that the rainwater does not remain on the roof but is reliably drained away.

With the classic pitched roof, the most significant weak point is in the roof tiles themselves. It must be checked whether the roof tiles are still firmly in place or whether they are damaged. Furthermore, the gutters must be checked for functionality. They must not be clogged or dented. As with the flat roof, care must be taken to ensure that connection points such as chimneys and ventilation pipes are intact. Another central weak point in a pitched roof is the surrounds of skylights. They should also be checked regularly. The photovoltaic system must also be considered during the roof inspection.

If you check your roof regularly, you can usually save yourself significant (consequential) damage and thus a lot of money. For the layman, damage to the roof is not always apparent, so it may be advisable to consult a professional.

Strong winds not only cause roof damage but also tear shutters out of their guide rails and push windows in. Falling trees are also a great danger to people and buildings. They take with them whatever is in their way: Gutters, downspouts, scaffolding, canopies, carports, and fencing. The roots of falling trees can also damage pipes and ducts and pathways, patios, and exterior stairs.

While visible damage can be quickly repaired, some homeowners have not yet discovered other problems, such as a tree that the storm has loosened but still appears to be standing intact. It may fall over sometime in the next few months, causing damage. That’s why owners should be sure to check their homes and property for storm damage! But then it will be difficult to claim the damage from the insurance company.

If you call your insurance company to be sure to contact Altieri Insurance Consultants as we are on the Policy Holder’s side to make sure you are represented by professionals.

Storm damage caused to the Roof and similar areas – Be sure to go through the list!

It’s that time of year all Floridians and others along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts know well- Hurricane Season is upon us. The 2021 names are now announced, and so far we’ve already seen Ana come and go. Ana appeared as an early, pre-season storm in May. This is yet another early season storm for another year in a row- and it’s making many meteorologists and climate watchers consider moving up the start of hurricane season to around May 15- instead of the standard start on June 1.



The World Meteorological Organization chooses hurricane names years in advance. The names get recycled, unless they are “retired” due to a strong storm, large loss of life, or large cost for damages. If all 21 names are used this year, there is a new “supplemental” list of 21 names that will be used after Wanda- rather than the previously used Greek alphabet following the names. Federal forecasters are predicting an ‘above-average’ season- with as many as 20 named storms this season. An average season has 14 named storms, 7 of which are hurricanes. Tropical Storm Ana formed and dissipated quickly, never even threatening land. Next up is Bill- followed by the rest of the list.
    
    Here are the remaining names in the 2021 list:

•        Bill
•        Claudette
•        Danny
•        Elsa
•        Fred
•        Grace
•        Henri
•        Ida
•        Julian
•        Kate
•        Larry
•        Mindy
•        Nicholas
•        Odette
•        Peter
•        Rose
•        Sam
•        Teresa
•        Victor
•        Wanda

    If we make it all the way to Wanda before the end of the season, there are more names that will be used after Wanda and the list will start over. Here are the list of supplemental names:

•        Adria
•        Braylen
•        Caridad
•        Deshawn
•        Emery
•        Foster
•        Gemma
•        Heath
•        Isla
•        Jacobus
•        Kenzie
•        Lucio
•        Makayla
•        Nolan
•        Orlanda
•        Pax
•        Ronin
•        Sophie
•        Tayshaun
•        Viviana
•        Will

    In previous years, the Greek alphabet was used after all the hurricane names were exhausted. But after 2020’s season left us with many Greek names and some even retired- the system was exhausted and now a new list of names will follow the initial ones. This will allow for plenty of names should there be more than 21 storms this season. 

According to USA Today, Before they started naming storms, hurricane forecasters had to refer to storms by saying something like, “the storm 500 miles east-southeast of Miami.” But six hours later, the storm’s position would change. Also, when more than one storm was going on at the same time, making it clear which storm was being described made the job even harder.

In 1953, the U.S. began using female names for hurricanes and, by 1979, male and female names were used. The names alternate between male and female.  The names are alphabetical and each new storm gets the next name on the list. There is no Q, U, X, Y or Z names because of the lack of usable names that begin with those letters.  There is a separate list of tropical storms and hurricanes that form in the eastern Pacific Ocean
In addition, there are also separate lists for typhoons in the western Pacific and tropical cyclones in Australia and the Indian Ocean. 

Water spouts can be scary- for many, they’re essentially water-based tornadoes. If you live close to the water- it’s important to pay attention to water spouts and any damage they may cause to
your home. Water spouts are not seawater swept up into a spiral. They are a rotating column of air similar to a small tornado. They can form on any major body of water like a lake or ocean. If
you live near a lake or ocean- you are at risk for an encounter with a water spout if you live close to shore.

So the question is- do water spouts cause damage? The answer is a bit complicated. The main cause for damage would be for boats if you have a boat.
Keep your boat secure and covered if you can.

If you live along the beach- you’re susceptible to damage. Secure your property- and if you’re laying out on the beach- watch for the rotation. The closer the spout comes to you- the higher
chance for damage. The further they get on land- the less damage they cause because they quickly dissipate.

If you find yourself out on the boat and in the path of a water spout- don’t panic. According to NOAA- the best course of action when in the path of a waterspout is to move at a 90-degree
angle to its apparent movement. Never move closer to the waterspout to investigate it. Some of them are so dangerous- they’re similar to hurricanes in terms of impact.

Water spouts can form even in fair weather. These normally move very little so they won’t cause too much damage. If a waterspout from a thunderstorm does move onshore- a tornado warning
is issued. They form in very warm water- so if you’re out on the beach and the water is warm- keep an eye out once storms roll in. You’re more likely to see a water spout that way.
Water spouts can be slow-moving. Once they hit land- they can pack a punch. Keep objects like patio furniture and other items secure in case of winds. Get inside if you’re out and see one
approaching land. Make sure you have good home insurance or auto insurance in case of damage from the wind or flying debris.

Check your coverage for your home, condo, condo association, and more by contacting Altieri Insurance Consultants.   If any damage occurs be sure to reach out as well, you want a
professional insurance adjuster on your side!

Water spouts often don’t seem dangerous- but they can be. They pack a punch even when they’re briefly on land. They can have speeds upwards of 80 miles per hour at full strength. If
you are in the water and see one- move at an angle away from it. Don’t panic. They’re nowhere near as dangerous as hurricanes- but they should still be taken seriously.

Since water spouts prompt a tornado warning- it’s best to prepare as if it’s a mild tornado like an EF 0 or EF 1. Get into an interior room with no windows and wait for the all-clear from
your local weather service or meteorologist. Just because you’re on the beach or near one doesn’t mean you’re protected. If you’re on the beach laying in the sand- get to a structured
building as quickly as you can. If you’re on your boat- try your best to get as below deck as you can- or try and protect yourself until it passes.

Water spouts can be dangerous and cause damage- but they’re nowhere near hurricane strength. They move at around 50-75 mph across the water and once they’re on land they do not
last long. It’s best to get far away from them and secure belongings- to avoid any major damage to your home, car, or your stuff. If the winds from the water spout impact trees near you- make
sure they’re trimmed so the debris doesn’t cause more of a hazard.