June 10, 2015 | Share
Hurricane Sandy Continues to Teach Lessons About Insurance Bad Faith
When a major storm like Hurricane Sandy hits an area, countless people are instantly homeless. Even homes that are not totally destroyed are condemned by government officials until essential repairs can be completed or essential services restored to their neighborhoods.
Time is of the essence as in these times of crises, as thousands of people compete for the time and attention of their insurance companies. They count on their insurance company’s good faith handling of their claim and reported damage. However, in the case of Hurricane Sandy, many people seem to have experienced insurance bad faith.
Alleged Falsified Engineering Reports Resulted in Numerous Claim Denials
According to one homeowner featured in a March 1, 2015 60 Minutes report, he was advised by his flood insurer that an engineering inspection of his home revealed no structural damage caused by the flood. After he called for another inspection, the insurance company’s original inspector returned and showed the homeowner the inspector’s original report that clearly stated that the home was structurally damaged.
This did not match the report sent to him by the insurance company that stated the home was "not structurally damaged" By the storm. They claimed the damage existed before Hurricane Sandy and they reduced the claim from the $250,000 policy limit to less than $80,000.
Without the funds to repair the home, the owner was forced to sell it at a loss and he does not appear to be the only victim. He filed a lawsuit in the hopes of becoming whole someday. This uncovered hundreds of cases of insurance company bad faith from fraudulently altered engineering reports.
Your Cell Phone May Be Your Best Friend After a Massive Property Loss
After losing your property and possessions in a hurricane or other major weather event, you can instantly lose access to valuable documentation to help you prove the full extent of your loss. However, it is likely you will still have your cell phone, which you should always keep fully charged and ready to grab during hurricane season. The victim in this bad faith insurance story used his phone effectively by taking pictures of the damages — and the original engineering report once he saw it. These images can then be uploaded to the cloud for safe storage and future access.
There is no need to wait for claims results to protect your interests. In addition to snapping shots of the damage, you can take pictures of the engineering report before it goes to the insurance company. This can save valuable time if you need to appeal your insurer's settlement offer.
You also should not hesitate to use your phone to contact our experienced Broward County property damage lawyers at the first signs of insurance bad faith conduct pertaining to your claim. For the skilled support you need, call us at (954) 767-6333 or use our convenient online contact form.
Categories: Firm News