Prepare Your Property for Winter: A Comprehensive Guide

As we officially settle into fall it’s time to think about the ways you can prepare your property for winter, because it will be here before you know it. Property owners in the Northern Hemisphere face unique challenges, such as the changing weather patterns, which demand proactive measures to safeguard their property from potential damage. At Premier Claims, we understand the importance of preparation. We’ve combined our experiences with essential insights to create a comprehensive guide tailored for business owners. Ensuring your property’s safety and resilience during winter is not just a necessity; it’s a strategic investment.

Winter Essentials for Commercial Properties

Protect Your Pipes from Freezing

Frozen pipes can lead to costly damage. Maintain a consistent indoor temperature above 55 degrees, even when the building is unoccupied. To ensure that unwanted cold air stays out of your property, regularly inspect your building for cracks or holes in seals. Swift repairs can prevent pipe bursts and potential water damage.

Roof and Gutter Maintenance

Inspect your business roof and gutters for any signs of wear and tear. Clean out leaves and debris from gutters to prevent water buildup, which can lead to roof damage and leaks. Ensure that your roof is free of loose shingles or tiles, as they can be easily dislodged during storms.

HVAC System Checks

As the temperatures drop, your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system will be working overtime. Schedule a professional inspection to ensure it’s in optimal condition. Clean or replace filters and clear vents to maintain efficient airflow, reducing the risk of system failures.

Landscaping and Outdoor Features

Trim tree branches and remove dead vegetation around your property. Fall is a good time for pruning, ensuring that heavy branches won’t fall and cause damage during winter storms. Secure outdoor fixtures, signage, and furniture to prevent them from being damaged or becoming hazards in strong winds and snow storms.

Emergency Preparedness

Review and update your emergency preparedness plan. Ensure all employees are aware of evacuation procedures, emergency contacts, and the location of emergency supplies. Regular drills can reinforce safety protocols, ensuring everyone knows what to do in case of severe weather events.

Policy Review

Before winter sets in, it’s crucial to review your property insurance policy. We recommend having your policy reviewed by a professional to confirm your policy adequately protects against winter-related risks like burst pipes or roof collapses due to heavy snow. Proactive coverage provides financial stability, saving you from potential setbacks in the event of property damage. We have a team of seasoned professionals ready to review your policy. Don’t wait, act now to secure your business’s winter readiness.

At Premier Claims, we understand the unique challenges faced by business owners with properties in colder climates. By taking proactive steps to prepare your property for winter, you can enjoy peace of mind throughout the fall and holiday seasons. Stay prepared, protected, and let Premier Claims be your ally in safeguarding your investments.

 

Aftermath of a Storm: Key Steps to Take

Facing the aftermath of a storm can be a daunting experience. But when it comes to safeguarding your property and filing an insurance claim, it’s essential to have a clear plan of action. Below is a guide to assist you through the initial steps following a date of loss.

1. Survey Exterior Damage

After ensuring your safety, the first step is to assess the storm damage to your property.

Exterior Inspection: Begin by examining the exterior of your property for visible damage. Look for missing shingles or broken gutters. As well as obvious roof leaks or scattered roofing materials.

Air Conditioning Unit: Even if it’s not the summer season, check your AC unit for damages. You wouldn’t want any surprises when it’s time to use it.

Other Damages: Be thorough in identifying all storm-related damages, including those caused by trees, neighbor’s trees, or missing fencing. 

 

2. Survey Interior Damage

Inspect the inside of your property for signs of internal damage. 

Water Leaks:  Keep an eye out for water leaks or puddles on walls and floors, especially on the ground floor. 

Windows and Attic: Check windows for leaks and inspect your attic for any issues. 

 

3. Take Photos

Capture clear photos to document all damage you see on your property in the aftermath of a storm.

Exterior Damage: From damaged roofs to broken AC units, photos play a significant role in your insurance claim.

Interior Damage: Document any damage inside your home, ensuring clarity in the images.

 

4. Keep Everything

Hold onto damaged items, as your insurance assessor may need to inspect them for your claim. Even if you can’t keep large items, like a waterlogged carpet or a broken TV, take photos and keep small samples if possible. A piece of your wet carpet can serve as evidence!

 

5. Shield Your Property

To prevent further damage to your property while waiting for repairs, we recommend covering visible holes or broken windows. You can do this by using tarps or canvases. Furthermore, ensure that you move valuable belongings and electronic equipment out of harm’s way.

 

6. Public Adjuster Inspection

Enlist the expertise of a public adjuster to ensure that all damage to your property is accounted for prior to filing a claim. Their in-depth knowledge, negotiation skills, and commitment to your best interests can significantly impact the outcome of your insurance claim. Ultimately, providing you with the peace of mind you deserve after a date of loss occurs. 

Navigating the aftermath of a storm and filing an insurance claim can be challenging, but with the right steps and the support of Premier Claims, you can restore your property with peace of mind. Remember, our dedicated team is here to assist you throughout the process.

 

Insurance Carrier Offers Spot Repairs for Condominium: Premier Claims Settled at $2.3M

Legends of St. John Condos

Augustine, Florida
Hail Damage


Prior to our involvement, the insurance carrier was only willing to cover the bare minimum for patchwork repairs on the roof. We conducted a thorough inspection and presented a compelling case to the insurer, complete with evidence to support a more comprehensive settlement. This included code upgrades, material matching, overhead & profit, and residential supervision costs. Initially, the insurance carrier offered a more reasonable estimate of $1,820,000, but later withdrew it, attempting to reduce the settlement. Undeterred, we fortified our claim with exhaustive documentation and expert legal counsel, ultimately securing a final settlement of $2,275,000.


Insurance Carrier Offer: Minimum Patch/ Repairs

Premier Claims Settlement: $2,275,000

 

 

Farmers Insurance No Longer Serving Florida Policyholders

As hurricane-prone regions brace themselves for another potentially intense season, recent news about insurance carriers making policy changes has raised concerns among policyholders. In a surprising move, Farmers Insurance is no longer serving Florida policyholders, leaving thousands of residents in search of new coverage options. This decision serves as a stark reminder of the importance of reviewing your insurance policy before hurricane season arrives.

“Florida requires affected policyholders to receive a 120-day notice that their policies aren’t being renewed,” Ramishah Maruf, CNN. According to the state’s regulations, this provision ensures that homeowners have ample time to prepare and seek alternative coverage options before their existing policies expire. The non-renewals will play out over several months.

 

The Business Decision Behind Farmers Insurance’s Exit:

Farmers Insurance explained its decision to exit the Florida market as a necessary step to manage its risk exposure in the hurricane-prone state. While “Farmers is the 11th company to pull out of Florida since 2019. Farmers’ decision affects more than 100,000 customers,” Dave Elias, NBC. Individuals utilizing Farmers Insurance’s owned subsidiaries, such as Foremost Signature and Bristol West, will not experience any disruption in coverage. It is crucial for policyholders affected policyholders by the termination to review notifications and explore replacement coverage options.

Insurance Challenges in Florida: 

Farmers Insurance’s departure highlights the challenges faced by insurance companies operating in Florida. Over the past 18 months, numerous insurers have imposed moratoriums on new policies, while others have voluntarily withdrawn from the market or faced insolvency. The situation is exacerbated by a legal system that some insurers claim encourages litigation abuse and excessive claims, leading to financial strain within the industry.

The Need for Legal Reforms:

Recognizing the need for change, the insurance industry successfully advocated for reforms aimed at curbing litigation abuse. Despite these efforts, insurers’ outlook remains uncertain due to the surge in lawsuits filed before the new laws kicked in. Nearly 300,000 lawsuits have flooded the marketplace, creating an enduring challenge that may force regional insurance companies out of business. While legal reforms have been implemented, market conditions continue to pose a significant challenge.

Florida’s Vulnerability to Hurricane Damage:

Florida’s geographical location and low elevation make it particularly susceptible to hurricane damage. As the Atlantic hurricane season approaches, it is crucial for homeowners to assess their insurance coverage adequately. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts a normal hurricane season this year, but there is still a 30% chance of an above-average season. The devastating impact of hurricanes in recent years, such as Hurricane Ian, which caused $114 billion in damage, serves as a stark reminder of the importance of being prepared.

 

Reviewing your insurance policy before hurricane season is crucial to ensure you have the necessary coverage and avoid potential disruptions. Farmers Insurance’s decision to exit the Florida market is a reminder for property owners to stay vigilant. By staying informed and considering replacement options if needed to protect your property during hurricane season. Remember, being proactive can make all the difference when it comes to safeguarding your property against potential storm-related risks.

In light of Farmers Insurance no longer serving Florida policyholders, Premier Claims understands the concerns and challenges faced by policyholders. With hurricane season approaching, it’s crucial to have the right coverage for your home and belongings. We recommend a third-party expert review of your policy. If you’re a Farmers Insurance policyholder, explore new coverage options well before your policy expiration date.

 

Large Loss Agriculture Hail Claim Settled in 4 Months

RL Wilson Family Farms

Montgomery, Indiana
Hail Damage
May 2022


Before a claim was even filed, our team stepped in, effectively neutralizing any attempts by the insurance carrier to delay or underpay the claim. We carried out inspections of the property, both day and night, and assembled a comprehensive damage estimate for every asset involved. To speed up the process, we transparently shared all our findings with the insurance carrier, who initially estimated the claim at $1,892,000 based on our information. Not satisfied, we swiftly countered with precise costs for materials and labor, successfully elevating the settlement to an impressive $2,058,000—all in under 4 months.


Insurance Carrier Offer: $1,892,000

Premier Claims Settlement: $2,058,000 in 4 months

 

 

Individual Condo Insurance Policy vs. Master Insurance Policy

Welcome to Premier Claims, your trusted source for comprehensive insurance insights. Today, we’re unraveling the complexities surrounding condominium insurance by shedding light on the distinctions between individual condo insurance policies and master insurance policies.

Individual Condo Insurance Policies

When residing in a condominium, it’s essential to have a clear grasp of individual condo insurance. Imagine your condo unit as a private oasis within a larger community. While the condominium association takes care of common areas and the building’s structure, individual condo insurance, also known as HO-6 insurance, safeguard your personal space.

This type of policy covers your personal belongings, interior fixtures, and liability within your unit. Should unfortunate events like theft, fire, or vandalism occur, your individual condo insurance steps in to provide assistance. Not only does it protect your cherished possessions, but it also offers financial security if accidents happen within your unit.

Master Insurance Policy

The dynamics between individual and master insurance policies add another layer to the condo insurance landscape. The condominium association, comprising all condo unit owners, holds the responsibility for maintaining shared spaces and the building’s structural elements. This is where the master insurance policy, often referred to as the master policy, comes into play.

The master insurance policy typically comes in three main variants:

All-Inclusive

An all-in policy offers broader coverage, extending to fixtures within your unit, such as plumbing and wiring. This comprehensive coverage typically includes common areas, shared facilities, external walls, and even elements within your walls such as plumbing, electrical systems, and cabinetry.

When the master policy is all-inclusive, it harmoniously covers the collective and individual elements that make up the condominium environment. In the event of unforeseen damage, whether originating in a shared space or within your unit, the all-inclusive master policy steps in, orchestrating the restoration process.

Bare Walls

Imagine it as the foundational structure that provides stability and protection to the entire building. However, this coverage differs in scope from the all-inclusive version. Bare Walls policy covers the core of the building – the walls, roof, and foundation – without extending to the interior elements.

In the realm of condominium insurance, the responsibility for protecting your unit’s interior fixtures and personal belongings shifts to your individual condo insurance when the master policy is bare walls. Think of it as the building’s outer shell, providing a strong foundation while leaving the interior customization to the unit owners.

Single Entity Coverage

Single Entity overage is often utilized in older condominium complexes or mixed-use buildings. This coverage type  extends to cover not just shared spaces and structural elements but also some interior components of individual units.

Visualize the Single Entity coverage as a bridge between All-Inclusive and Bare Walls policies. It offers a unique blend of protection, encompassing more than bare walls while stopping short of all-inclusive coverage. For example, “while it covers appliances and fixtures, it does not cover the owners’ improvements or renovations,” as stated by Voss Law Firm. This approach is designed to adapt to the specific needs and structures of certain condominium communities, fostering a cohesive and balanced insurance arrangement.

Harmonizing the Policies

Visualize the interaction between these policies as a well-choreographed dance. The master policy takes the lead by protecting the building’s core and exterior, while your individual condo insurance follows, safeguarding your private space. In the event of a covered incident affecting your unit, the coordination between these policies ensures a comprehensive approach – the master policy addressing structural repairs, and your individual policy assisting with interior repairs and personal property replacement.

As we uncover the differences between individual condo insurance and master insurance policies, keep in mind that these policies work in tandem to provide you with peace of mind. Premier Claims is committed to providing information, support, and guidance, ensuring that you’re well-prepared to handle any situation.

For more information, connect with Premier Claims. Our priority is to foster your understanding, empowering you to navigate your insurance policy with confidence.

 

Thorough Investigation Turns $1.9M into a $5.9M Claim Settlement

Sanoh America Distribution Facility

Archbold, Ohio
Hail & Wind Damage | May 2022


The expansive 223,000 square-foot distribution facility experienced significant hail and wind damage, resulting in a small portion collapse. The insurance carrier enlisted an engineer to refute the more extensive hail damage, dismissing it as merely cosmetic and initially only approved repairs for the collapsed section. At this time, our team was brought on and we began to gather evidence from comprehensive on-site investigations, demonstrating the long-term repercussions of neglecting the full extent of the damage. Within six months, these efforts resulted in a reversal of decision to a full roof replacement. In addition, we were able to show historical storm activity that had impacted the building within the policy terms for more accurate dates of loss, as well as reimbursement for business interruption and loss of contents. Thanks to our diligent efforts, we successfully secured an additional $3.9 million in claim settlements.


Insurance Carrier Offer: $1,985,000

Premier Claims Settlement: $5,893,000

Self-Storage Claim Initially Denied: Premier Claims $1.25M Settlement for Full Replacement

Dino’s Storage

Des Moines, Iowa
Hail Damage
March 2022


After the insurance company denied the initial claim, they were reluctant to conduct an on-site joint inspection, basing their decision on an incomplete assessment by an independent adjuster. Recognizing the oversight, we presented compelling evidence and our own detailed estimate to the insurance carrier. This led to an on-site joint inspection and a complete turnaround. We successfully negotiated full replacements for roofs and doors across all structures, and even secured private security to safeguard patrons’ belongings during the construction phase.


Insurance Carrier Offer: Complete Denial

Premier Claims Settlement: $1,247,000

 

Negotiations Lead to a Full Roof Replacement and Warrantied

Edwards Electrical & Mechanical

Indianapolis, Indiana
Hail & Water Damage
January 2022


Facing an insurance carrier that was only willing to approve minor spot repairs and attribute the issues to old damage, our team swung into action. Leveraging detailed evidence from our on-site investigations, along with storm data and policy coverage specifics, we successfully negotiated a complete roof replacement. This victory not only addressed the immediate concerns but also furnished the policyholder with a brand-new, warrantied roof.


Insurance Carrier Offer: $8,990

Premier Claims Settlement: $2,039,000