Disasters Happen. What’s your next move?

 

Disasters Happen.  What’s your next move?

Author Allan Rufus said “Life is like a game of chess. To win you have to make a move. Knowing which move to make comes with insight and knowledge, and by learning the lessons that are accumulated along the way.”

That is why at Clarke & Cohen, we use the hashtag #whatsyournextmove.

When disaster strikes and your business or home is severely damaged, there are a variety of steps to take for clean up, remediation, and when dealing with your insurance company.

However, if you make the wrong move at the wrong time, just like in the game of chess, your insurance claim could go astray.  Or you could wind up with a minimal settlement. #whatsyournextmove

Submitting an insurance claim for your business or home involves strategy.
The words you use when reporting your claim, the timing of your actions after damage occurs, and everything which occurs before, during and after your loss can affect the outcome.

Hiring a professional loss consultant who knows how to make the right moves at the right time is critical when you need to recoup your losses, whether in thousands, or millions of dollars.

Chess is a strategic game with hundreds of possibilities each player can make, all with their own set of pros and cons.

When you are in the unfortunate situation of dealing with severe property damage from a fire, storm, or other emergency, dealing with your insurance company can put you at a deep disadvantage due to your inexperience filing a claim. #whatsyournextmove

That’s where Clarke & Cohen comes in.

We use the right logic, tactics, and foresight as your public adjuster.  This is so  that your insurance company gives you the maximum settlement possible based upon your coverage.

If disaster or property damage occurs, what will be your next move? #whatsyournextmove

Contact Clarke & Cohen.

How to Find the Right Public Adjuster

How to find the right Public Adjuster

When severe damage occurs in your home or business property, it can become a full-time job. Paperwork, forms, calculating your loss, understanding insurance rules and language, and negotiating a settlement can be an overwhelming. When you hire a public adjuster, or property loss consultant, they will help you navigate the process of getting your claim settled.

It is important to recognize that there is a difference in the types of adjusters.

Your Insurance company will send out their adjuster to evaluate the claim and damage assessment.  This individual works on behalf of the insurance company. They may be a staff adjuster or an independent adjuster, but in either case, they are there to evaluate your claim from the perspective of the Insurance company.

You may also hire a Public Adjuster who works for you as an advocate, assists you with handling every aspect of your property loss, and brings in the proper experts to calculate your property damages. They will also guide you through the process of hiring experts to help you clean & mitigate the damages, and ultimately get you an insurance settlement that is appropriate.

How do you go about finding a public adjuster who works on your behalf?

The best way to find a Public Adjuster who is professional and experienced is to find a member of the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA), licensed in your state of residence (www.NAPIA.com). You can also check with the Better Business Bureau and contact references to verify your Public Adjuster knows what they are doing and has your best interests in mind.

Clarke and Cohen is the top choice of Public Adjusters for homeowners and businesses in and around Philadelphia and the Jersey Shore.  When you are hiring a Public Adjuster, ask them how they have helped others in the same situation as you.  Clarke & Cohen has experience with a wide variety of losses.

Hiring a Public Adjuster will help ensure you are treated fairly by the Insurance company. A licensed experienced Public Adjuster will negotiate disputes with your insurance company and assist you with making sure you receive all of the benefits available in the insurance policy. Insurance policy language may be confusing, therefore, an experienced Public Adjuster can help you understand your rights and responsibilities. An experienced Public Adjuster can also be an important asset for more complicated and severe property claims.

You should know that insurance policies often include time limits and other time sensitive language. A Public Adjuster knows how to get your claim processed and settled within that the appropriate timeline.

Public Adjusters are familiar with how insurance claims work and they know the tricks of the trade when dealing with Insurance companies.  That’s why they typically work on contingency, so that you pay them when your claim reaches a final settlement.

About Clarke & Cohen:

Philadelphia public insurance adjusters and property loss consultants

Established in 1921, Clarke & Cohen is a fourth generation, family-owned Philadelphia public insurance adjuster.  We are public adjusters and property loss consultants with decades of experience successfully managing complex claims in the Philadelphia region, South Jersey including the Jersey shore, and throughout the country.

We provide 24/7 emergency service, immediate response and a consultative approach that aims to settle claims to the utmost value for our clients.

Clarke & Cohen specializes in both residential and commercial claims and is adept at managing the most complicated scenarios.

Our team has extensive experience with all types of property loss and are thoughtful and sensitive, efficient and tenacious. We help our clients manage stress, grief and anxieties as we work tirelessly to recover the property that you have lost.  Our job at Clarke & Cohen is to manage the claim for the client, sort through the complicating factors of each unique loss, and bring a sense of order and calm to the chaos of property damage. This strategy helps the claims process work favorably for the property owner.

Stucco & Water Intrusion Insurance Claims

Stucco.  Water Intrusion.  Remediation. 

The buzzword of the late 1990’s, early 2000’s building boom was Stucco.  Everyone wanted a 4 bedroom, 2+ bath stucco home.  The style was more contemporary and the trend continued on.

However, what we’ve found out about over the years is that stucco buildings have issues. Stucco failure occurs because it is improperly installed, not sealed properly, is poorly made, or there is no drainage. This could cause water intrusion, and worse, mold.

Call a Public Adjuster for Water Intrusion Claims

That’s where a public insurance adjuster comes in.  For Stucco & Water Intrusion Insurance Claims, Clarke & Cohen gets involved as soon as possible.  This way we can manage the claim from the very early stages.

The first thing we see in a stucco claim is some kind of water intrusion in the home. This can happen anywhere in the home, but it is mostly seen around windows, doors, or other openings. Once homeowners see this water intrusion, they will typically call a stucco remediation company and get a stucco report to see where exactly the stucco is failing.

If the stucco is failing because of wear and tear, or it’s failing due to faulty installation, the stucco itself is not going to be covered by insurance.

Damage from Water Intrusion

However, any damage to the interior of the home, insulation, drywall, wall coverings, flooring, cabinetry, etc., due to water intrusion…will be covered as ensuing water damage. Claims filed with the insurance company are with the understanding that the exterior of the home is not going to be paid for, but the interior damage should be covered.

Clarke & Cohen uses a professional building consultant to meet with the insurance company’s consultant. Our consultant estimates the amount of interior damage. Stucco claims are very difficult as they depend on which insurance company a homeowner uses;  some companies are easier than others to go through the process.

Ultimately,  if our public adjusters are involved from the very beginning of the process AND there is visible interior damage on the inside of the home, we are typically successful in recovering money from the insurance company.

Each scenario is unique depending on the damage associated with a stucco claim and the coverage of the insurance policy.

Contact Clarke & Cohen today at info@clarkeandcohen.com with your stucco or water intrusion claim questions.

Process to Expedite Insurance Claims

Rely on Our Best Strategy for Maximum Recovery

Clarke & Cohen, Public Adjusters in Philadelphia,  uses a proven claims process.  This will help expedite our clients’ insurance claims and get the maximum policy payment possible.

The Process to Expedite Insurance Claims includes:

  • Contacting the insurance company adjuster and other experts hired by the insurance company. Set up meetings to discuss procedures, advances, loss reserves and policy interpretations.
  • Review and analysis of your insurance policy from the perspective of maximizing dollars recovered.
  • On-site assessment of building damage and preparation of a detailed unit cost reconstruction estimate, which is necessary in order to maximize the building recovery. Whenever possible, we conduct a joint walk-through with the estimator assigned to the project by the insurance carrier.  This helps to identify our areas of agreement and disagreement.
  • Collection and review of all relevant documents relating to furniture, fixtures, equipment and machinery.

    We also do the following as part of our process:

  • Preparation of a complete inventory of all such contents.
  • Application of proper values to all such property, including applicable replacement cost and/or actual cash value, together with the amount of loss and damage claimed for each item.
  • Preparation of required appraisals to comply with any coinsurance provisions of the policy.
  • Preparation of documentation to project and substantiate business interruption losses, extra expenses, or other similar items.
  • Requests for advances necessary to defray ongoing expenses and debt.
  • Review of the claim with the insured and/or their advisors prior to providing such materials to the insurance company.
  • Presentation of all claim documentation to the insurance company.
  • Attendance at meetings with insurance company representative(s) to ensure a controlled, consistent, and professional atmosphere for all parties.
  • Periodic status reports to the insured and their advisors.
  • With the insured’s consent and approval, preparation of claim settlement documents and follow-up on processing of payments.
  • Assistance to the insured’s advisors in providing documentation and testimony, as well as serving as an expert witness, if necessary.
  • Preparation of the claim in a proper format to ensure recovery in any possible future litigation involving uninsured claims.

Contact us with any questions or if you would like a consultation with us regarding an insurance claim for property damage.

Smoke damage to your home or business

Have you experienced smoke damage at your home or business?

 
Smoke from adjacent fires or a fire in your property can be devastating.  

What was once a pristine environment is now ruined.  It’s overwhelming to deal with the fallout from commercial or residential property smoke damage.

There’s soot and ash cleanup to deal with. Soot and ash can be very hazardous to your health. Additionally, it can go everywhere and ruin more than you realize. Soot leaves an oily residue and sometimes restoration of your property is impossible because of it. There’s a lot of paperwork, phone calls and details to cover with your insurance claim. This can be time consuming and complex.
Then there’s the question of what does your insurance policy cover?
 

That’s where we come in.

Call Clarke & Cohen.  We specialize in insurance property claims from fire and smoke damage.  Your business or homeowners insurance can get complicated.
Is it a partial or total loss?
What’s the ‘hidden’ damage from this event?
Is there water damage or chemical damage from the fire retardants that helped put out the fire?
And, How do you calculate ‘replacement costs’ of your losses?

Above all, our expert adjusters will help you handle the claim process from start to finish so your loss will be settled appropriately. Including:

*Assistance in determining the most professional solution for remediation and cleaning.
*Bringing in industry-specific professionals to evaluate the damage.
*Taking inventory of your lost property and belongings.
*Handling the negotiation & settlement process with your insurance company, resulting in a suitable claim payment.
Our main goal is to alleviate your stress during what is a very anxiety-ridden process.

Clarke & Cohen’s professional loss consultants are here to guide you and do the work for you when you experience smoke damage to your home or business.  We want you to focus on getting back to business or your family life.

We are a fourth-generation family-owned property loss consultant business, managing complex claims in the Philadelphia region and throughout the country.

Business Insurance Coverage and Coronavirus

Is your business covered if you have to close for an extended period?

On Wednesday March 12, 2020, The World Health Organization (WHO) identified COVID – 19 (Coronavirus) as a pandemic.

The virus has now spread to 114 countries, sickened more than 125,000 people and caused at least 4,500 deaths.
As a result; the stock market has seen a 20%+ reduction in value, international travel has been effectively halted, Schools and Universities, restaurants, retail establishments, public venues, gyms and athletic facilities have been directed to close.

Business interruption and other losses due to the continued global spread of Coronavirus are projected to total in the billions of dollars.

How do you find out if your insurance coverage will reimburse you for the loss of income and extra expenses a result of this?

Typical property insurance policies may provide coverage for a loss of income and the extra expenses related to the spread and community/government response to Coronavirus.

These coverages, specifically Business Interruption Insurance, covers a business when their operations are disrupted as a result of a covered loss. In addition, many policies provide coverage for Contingent Business Interruption in the event that a business’s customers or suppliers operations are disrupted, and this causes a loss of income to the business even though their ability to operate is not disrupted.

Most commercial insurance policies that include Business Interruption coverage are triggered by an event that causes direct physical loss of or damage to insured property. An insurance company may not agree that Coronavirus meets the direct physical damage criteria and subsequently may decide that coverage cannot be extended as result. Although courts have not agreed on what constitutes a physical loss, many have found that “contamination” and other incidents that make a property unable to be used for its intended use to be considered a physical loss and allow an insured to collect for a loss of business income as well as the extra expenses associated with that loss.

It should be noted that each insurance company and each jurisdiction may look at the circumstances differently and determine an alternative result. There are policies that include endorsements for communicable diseases that may not include the criteria of physical damage. These policies and endorsements often include other requirements such as; the suspension or shutdown must be ordered by a local, state or federal Board of Health or Government Agency which has jurisdiction over the business operation, the shutdown is as a result of a communicable disease and the illness is present at your particular premises.

Most commercial property insurance policies provide coverage for business income losses that occur as a result of a “Civil Authority” prohibiting access to the Insured’s premises. Many policies do not require that there be direct physical damage to the insured property.

In many cases, a declaration that limits access to your property by a federal, state of local government authority could trigger coverage for your loss of income.

It is important to review your coverages with your insurance agent or broker, as well as a professional Public Adjuster to determine whether your policy provides coverage as a result of Civil Authority and Communicable Disease.

We are living in uncertain times, but in many cases, businesses can turn to existing property coverage to offset some of the resulting income loss and extra expenses.

How to make sure your business is protected

Recommended Insurance for Small Businesses

What happens when your small business is surprised by severe damage or a catastrophe, whether it’s from a storm, fire or unexplained event? Do you have the right insurance coverage? How do you make sure your business is protected?

What’s your next move?

Clarke & Cohen has been in the business of helping businesses for 99 years. We’ve learned a lot along the way and this is what we recommend you will need as a small business owner:

Property Coverage if you own the building.
This should not only cover the amount you paid for your building and the amount left on the mortgage, moreover, it should also cover a complete rebuild of your property in the event of a total loss. Additional coverages such as demo and debris removal and increased costs due to codes is available and should be added to your coverage.

Business Personal Property Coverage.
This includes stock, inventory, furniture and fixtures, equipment and supplies. If the contents you own are destroyed by fire or water, it’s important to have coverage for your inventory to help with maximum recovery. You can buy specific coverage on computers and electronic data processing equipment as well.

Business Interruption Coverage or Loss of Income.
Depending on the type and size of the loss, a business could be without a building or property for many months or even years. By having the correct amount of business interruption coverage, you could continue to be paid as if you were fully operational. Additionally, you could be paid to move your company to an alternate location while your original location is repaired. You can also get coverage for an extended period. During this time your business will be getting back to the level of income it was at prior to any catastrophic event.

In case of a loss, immediately call your public adjuster and have them visit your site.

That way, the adjuster will evaluate your loss. By having your public adjuster obtain a copy of the Insurance policy, he or she will be able to see what is covered. That allows them to move forward expeditiously with your claim. In a perfect world, your public adjuster reviews your policies when you acquire them.  It provides you assurance you are maintaining the correct coverage for your needs.

By working with a public adjuster, you do not have to deal with the insurance companies directly allowing the adjuster will do all the ‘heavy lifting’.

At Clarke & Cohen Public Adjusters, located in Bala Cynwyd, PA, when you hire us, you get more than just an advocate.

You get an entire team of experts who understand your specific needs and will guide you through the difficult insurance world. This team may include a general contractor who will prepare a replacement cost estimate using current costs of materials and labor and understands the value of your property. It may also include a forensic accountant who will help with income loss.  They will make sure everything is accounted for. Our adjusters have extensive experience with all kinds of property losses. We are here to help you navigate the entire claim process for maximum policy payment.

Contact us when you need a Public Adjuster at 610-668-0144. Emergency Service available 24/7.

Recovering from your loss after a fire in 2020

Recovering from your loss after a fire

If you’ve ever had the unfortunate task of dealing with a building or household fire and your insurance company, you know what a fight it becomes to get fully compensated for your loss.

What most people may not know is that there’s an ideal option to help you navigate the difficult process of recovering from your insurance carrier after a fire causes damage to your property in 2020.

Property Loss Consultants

At Clarke and Cohen, we are Property Loss Consultants/Public Adjusters who assist property owners when your home or business is damaged by a fire and you need to make an insurance claim.

The services we provide include:

  • A detailed review of your insurance policy, identifying your coverages, including discussing any and all endorsements in the policy that may affect your recovery.
  • Assist in locating a remediation company to clean up the damage and protect the property from further damage. That protection is the responsibility of the insured.
  • As required, review all financial documents for any loss of income or business income claims.
  • Secure advanced payments after an initial meeting with your insurance company. This speeds up the payment process and enables you to start clean up and repair work without spending out of pocket.
  • Recommend the appropriate experts needed for proper presentation of your claim.
  • Provide contactors and estimators to prepare all dwelling/building claims and estimates for remediation and/or repair.
  • Identify personal property experts to itemize your personal belongings and business personal property in order to present a comprehensive content list and personal property claim.
  • Guide you through the process of preparing Loss of Use and Additional Living Expense claims.
  • Meet with you, once all claim preparation is completed, to review the claim documents before submitting all of the paperwork, content lists, building and dwelling claims and financial losses to the insurance company.
  • Consistently keep you aware of what is going on in the process of the claim.
  • Review with you any/all settlement offers on the claims presented so you can make an informed decision on settlement.
  • If a lender is named on the policy, we assist you through the process of dealing with your mortgage company which can be taxing and complex.

What’s your next move?

Contact us at (610) 668-0144 to talk to us about a claim when you are recovering from your loss after a fire.

Shore and Mountain house preparation for Winter

It’s time to leave your vacation home!

What should you do for shore and mountain house preparation for the winter?

Your shore or mountain home has been a flurry of activity all summer, but now it’s time to close for the season and get it ready for the elements ahead. With the onset of hurricane season wind and rain, followed by the brutal winter freeze, there are many steps to take to get your summer home protected from the elements.

Here is what you need to do to prepare your shore or mountain home for the winter:

  • Check your home’s heating and air conditioning systems. HVAC maintenance involves changing filters and have your HVAC contractor check that all systems are a go.
  • Protect your pipes. See if there are any exposed pipes in need of insulation. Turn off your water supply to avoid any burst pipes or flooding from leaks. Open cabinet doors during very cold periods to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes. Disconnect garden hoses and drain those, too.
  • Clean your Chimney. Remove any nests and check your flue damper to make sure it opens and closes properly. If you haven’t had your fireplace cleaned for a while, schedule a chimney sweep to come and clean it for you.
  • Gutters should be cleaned out from debris and leaves. Clogged gutters can contribute to ice damming and cause basement flooding when snow melts. Clear out your gutters to avoid any unforeseen problems.
  • Have a Roofing contractor safely inspect your roof for any missing shingles or leaks.
  • Check the Weather Stripping on all doors and windows and replace the sealing, caulk or stripping where you see it dried, cracked or peeling.
  • Protect your Outdoor Living Space by bringing in or covering your furniture, drain any water features or fountains and clean up and cover the barbecue grill.

Once all of your systems are cleaned up and winterized, you can rest easy at home knowing your investment property at the shore or mountains is safe.

We are your severe damage experts and are here with advice to help you avoid future problems. Contact Clarke & Cohen at (610) 668-0144.

Winter is Coming

It’s already here but is your home or business ready for the extreme cold?

Winter is Coming.

With the impending deep freeze on the way, home and business owners should prepare prior to the extreme cold. Cold weather emergencies and severe damage can happen and may put a damper on your dreams of warming up by the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate in hand.

You may not be able to take every step listed below preventatively, however, by being aware of the havoc that extreme temperatures may cause, you will be an educated property owner with the gift of knowledge on your side.

Here are crucial steps you can take to minimize a potential disaster:

  • Repair roof leaks and clear rain gutters to prevent ice dams which can form and cause your gutters to clog.
  • Remove tree branches that could fall on your house or other structures during a storm. If you have older trees, it’s a wise idea to have an arborist inspect any suspicious trees.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year. The chimney is the highest point of the house so it is likely to have the most damage with high winds or heavy rain during a storm.
  • Hire a contractor or engineer to check the structural ability of your roof to withstand heavy weight from the accumulation of snow, ice or water.
  • Clear drains both on the ground and on upper level decks of debris and leaves.
  • Make sure to insulate pipes. Pipes that are exposed to exterior walls and areas that are not heated could freeze.
  • Insulate walls and attics, caulk and weather-strip doors and windows, and install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside.
  • Allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing pipes.
  • Fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and make sure to keep the area around the vent clear.
  • and furniture. Some space heaters, especially taller ones, may tip over, potentially causing a fire hazard.
  • Keep fire extinguishers on hand and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. Your fire extinguisher doesn’t last forever so replace an older model. Manufacturers suggest replacing them after 5-15 years.
  • Learn how to shut off water in your home in the event a pipe burst. Teach your family how to shut off your water in case you are away during a storm.
  • If you have a vacation home or will be away from your home for an extended period, be sure to drain the pipes and winterize the plumbing. Maintain the heat at 60 degrees.
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks to allow warmer air to circulate around the pipes.
  • Run paddle ceiling fans on low in reverse to circulate warm air.

If you experience structural damage of water damage resulting from a storm or extreme cold, call Clarke & Cohen at 610-668-0144 or 1-800-487-5897 to help you navigate your insurance claim. Our team of experts will respond immediately and provide personalized service 24 hours a day/7 days a week to resolve your residential or business insurance claim.