By Priscilla Jimenez Spooner, Farmers Insurance and Financial Services Licensed Producer
One of the biggest challenges in Colorado is the recent hailstorms damaging our local communities. Colorado’s hail season starts in May and continues as far into the year as September! As soon as possible you should:
- Send a letter reminding homeowners of the Master policy deductible and possible assessments from common property damage. This will prepare the community members, especially for the hail season, by securing coverage under their individual HO-6 Condo policy. Your agent might be able to sponsor this mailing.
- Include reminders of this information in newsletters, board meetings, and community billboards throughout the year. This information should also be part of the Welcome Package for new members.
Upon noticing property damage from covered perils under your policy:
- As soon as possible, put your agent on ‘notice of property damage’: this does not mean a claim will be filed, it prepares your agent and allows them to be part of the process from the beginning.
- Ask your agent for a referral of a local trusted contractor for a free estimate: this will confirm the damage is over your deductible.
- If needed, complete temporary repairs to keep the property from further damage! This is very important: if the association would like to recover the cost of repairs associated with the loss, the insurance company needs documentation to approve the repairs! Make sure the contractor documents well before and after temporary repairs are completed.
- Review the estimate of repairs and cause of damage with your board members and agent. As a team you can decide the best course of action.
- Review your contract of service and find the associated cost of managing a claim through your community manager. This will be an out of pocket expense.
- Filing a claim: the agent will take care of this step upon your request. An adjuster will need a point of contact aside from the agent. For large losses, a solid and experienced contractor will coordinate paperwork directly with the insurance adjuster.
- Notify the community members of a Special Assessment if applicable.
- Communication during the process is the key to success: the contractor must review the pending repairs periodically, as well as the cost with the adjuster. The adjuster needs to ensure repairs are appropriate and cost effective and refer information about the condition of the property to the insurance company. The contractor must use the same estimating software as the insurance company, this is the equivalent of speaking the same language!
- Reach out to the agent with any questions: we want you to utilize the coverage and service you have paid for! We also love to attend special board meetings during the claim process.
FAQ: Do boards need to hire a Public Adjuster?
Public Adjusters are partnering with local contractors now more than ever. In my professional opinion, the community’s insurance premium includes the service of the adjuster to settle claims, and the out of pocket expense from hiring the public adjuster is not easy to justify. In some instances, several construction professionals may conclude that the settlement is not adequate, but remember each claim and insurance company is unique. Talk to your agent before hiring a public adjuster and exhaust all communication avenues first.
A proactive approach to claims can help the community lower costs and avoid delays during the repair process.
I hope by following these steps, your next claim is a success!
Priscilla Jimenez Spooner is a producer with Stansfield Insurance, a Tyler and Leavey Award Agency, in junction with Farmers Insurance and Financial Services. She can be reached on her direct line at 970-214-8571, or via email at email@example.com.