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Case Study: North Carolina Coastal Village Hurricane Damage

Case Study: North Carolina Coastal Village Hurricane Damage

A premium vacation resort destination of 31 stand-alone homes/buildings, also referred to as “cottages,” on an island in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of North Carolina, was hit by Hurricane Florence in September, 2018. Ownership representatives of the resort understood they had damage to all 31 of their 2 bedroom/2 bath and 3 bedroom/3 bath cottages, but were concerned that the damage may not be as obvious, since the location did not receive a direct hit. Regardless, ownership filed a claim with their insurer with the hope that a fair analysis would be provided, allowing them to make the necessary repairs to their buildings incurred from the hurricane.

It was stated that the insurance company adjuster, after initial investigation, had advised ownership that he would be projecting the “claim amount” to the carrier’s management to be no more than $1,200,000.00 during his initial reporting. To assist the insurance company adjuster with damage evaluation, an engineering firm was hired by the carrier to analyze what damage was related to Hurricane Florence and how much it would cost to repair the 31 buildings.  After months transpired, the insurance adjuster advised ownership that the engineering firm’s findings were cause for the projected “claim amount” to be REDUCED to only $600,000.00.  With those factors now communicated by the insurance company, ownership decided to seek professional expert claim assistance to further their cause.  They knew they needed an industry advocate representing their side of the claim, so they contacted Altieri Insurance Consultants in the late Fall/Early Winter of 2018.

Upon securing the engagement with ownership, Altieri Insurance Consultants deployed their team of experts to the location.  A full interview process was had with management to understand all of the special conditions to consider which will need to be factored into the adjustment process:  ie…the loss site is on an island with the only access being gained by boat, all materials-equipment-man power-supplies-vehicles will need to be barged to the island for construction, low hanging trees surround many of the buildings, power was out on the island for many days..etc  These were just some of the unique considerations for building consultants to factor when calculating their damage estimates. (They were not considered by the insurer).

Previously mentioned above was the concern for discreet or inconspicuous damage. The kind that is easily overlooked by an uncaring insurance company inspector or one who was too rushed to be detailed in their process. The Altieri Insurance Consultants team were very cognizant of that concern and it became our mission to be sure ownership understood we cared about that kind of attention to detail as much as they did.  To that end, Altieri Insurance Consultants uncovered a major concern that would only be found by the most discerning of eyes:  The interior wall décor of all units, in every cottage, was that of Tongue and Groove Wood Plank, installed vertically, floor to ceiling.  The walls were all freshly painted in the weeks prior to the storm.  We discovered that those T&G wood planks, in many of the unit interiors, had absorbed the moisture with its humidity, from minor rainwater intrusion during the storm, then sat without power for the duration while the entire island was out, and began to hairline split at the seam joints between planks causing an unsightly look to each room effected.  The carrier was not pleased to have to entertain these concerns as being caused by the hurricane, however we were able to prove that the drying out process of atmospheric change was sufficient enough to create those separations effectively generating a claim payment after a large hurricane deductible and depreciation withheld of $3,500,000.

 

Before the end of Summer, we had collected over $3.5 million for this client so repairs could be properly made before the next Winter season had arrived. This was a successful conclusion to a property claim that truly needed the PERSONALIZED care and attention that only Altieri Insurance Consultants can provide its clients.

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About The Author: Raymond A. Altieri, Jr.
Raymond A. Altieri, Jr. - Chairman & CEO

As a property insurance claims professional since 1980, Mr. Altieri leads the firm at Altieri Insurance Consultants in all matters of property claim adjusting and community outreach. His decades of property claim adjusting experience assure the firm’s clients they are well represented, whether they have suffered a multi-million-dollar commercial loss or have lost their home.

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