Tropical Storm Lee – Prepare for Insurance Claims

Contractors and property owners should be very knowledgable of the claims process after a natural disaster. Over the Labor Day weekend the New Orleans metro area, along with southern Louisiana experienced high winds and double-digit rainfall totals due to Tropical Storm Lee. Contractors who have equipment, property and unfinished work need to report any flood, wind or wind driven rain damage to your general liability insurer in a timely fashion so that you may collect reimbursement for damages sustained from this storm. Your insurer will assign a claims specialist to assess the damage and this person is who you will work with to obtain reimbursement. Be sure to read the policy to make sure you follow all the specific guidelines, otherwise your insurer may use this against you as an excuse not to timely pay up on the claim. Homeowners in south Louisiana should be well versed in the drill of making claims against your homeowners insurance. This, too is a situation whereby you must read the policy to make sure you follow the set guidelines and timely file a proof of loss. If the insurance company does not value your damage to a level where you are satisfied, then you may want to hire a public/private adjuster by searching the Louisiana Dept of Insurance - Public Adjusters search or reaching out to an reputable firm such as Louisiana Adjusters. The final step is to hire an attorney to escalate your claim. Due to Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav, firms like the Wolfe Law Group have valuable experience with handling these matters. The mere hiring of an attorney will escalate your claim to another level within the insurance hierarchy and depending on your claim, it may render more effective results. Remember that you typically have 60 days to file a satisfactory proof of loss and you have one year to file suit against the insurer, both from the date of the loss.  It is important to take photographs and video if possible before clean up to maintain evidence of your loss. Another important tip is to keep good records of invoices and receipts of all work performed on your repair. The insured (contractor or property owner) has a duty to mitigate its damages, so do what you can to prevent damage from getting worse once the storm has passed. Remember to consult with an attorney or your insurance agent when reviewing the terms of your policy. The policy is the set of rules by which you and the insurer operate when making claims. Do not fight for your claim alone against your insurance company, hire an an attorney who can help you navigate the claim as well as the reconstruction of your property in an efficient manner. Whether you are a contractor or a property owner, contact Seth Smiley with the Wolfe Law Group to discuss your Tropical Storm Lee claims so that you get the results you deserve.
About the Author: Seth Smiley
Seth is an attorney licensed to practice in Louisiana and California. He is the owner and lead attorney at Smiley Law Firm. To speak with Seth fill out the form on this page. Follow Seth on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.

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