Property Damage & Disaster Restoration Blog: Long Island & New York City

Allstate(SM) Mobile by Allstate Insurance Company

Posted on Tue, Jul 24, 2012 @ 08:57 AM

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Wherever you are, you’re in Good Hands with Allstate®.

Allstate(SM) Mobile is your insurance on the go—offering everything you need, from policy and claim information to bill pay and accident support, in the palm of your hand.

Use the Allstate(SM) Mobile app to:

Make a Payment – Pay your bill anytime using your Visa, MasterCard®, Discover®, or American Express® credit and debit cards.

Access My Insurance Information – View your Auto, Motorcycle, and Property policies, as well as agent contact information.

Use the Accident Toolkit – Follow the step-by-step accident checklist to record driver and witness info, capture photos at the scene, and submit a claim.

File a Claim – Whether it’s minor damage or a major accident, you can quickly and easily submit a claim and include photos from the Accident Toolkit. 

Check Claim Status – Have your claim details, payment history, and claim representative contact information with you at all times. 

Get a Quote – Answer only a few key questions and receive a ballpark estimate on an auto insurance policy without giving your name or email address.

Wherever you are, you’re in Good Hands with Allstate®.

If you’re having any problems downloading or using this app, please contact us at [email protected].

Also available for iOS through Apple's iTunes.

Tags: allstate, allstate insurance company, long island, insurance, new york, mobile app, insurance company, mobile, allstate mobile app

Footing the Bill for MF Global’s Lawyers

Posted on Fri, Apr 13, 2012 @ 10:23 AM

 

BY PETER J. HENNING

New York Times 

From left, Edith O'Brien, Henri Steenkamp, Christine Serwinski and Laurie Ferber of MF Global at a House panel in March.Jay Mallin/Bloomberg NewsFrom left, Edith O’Brien, Henri Steenkamp, Christine Serwinski and Laurie Ferber of MF Global at a House panel in March.

When four top MF Global executives testified before a Congressional subcommittee on March 28 about how $1.6 billion in customer money went missing during the firm’s final days, they were accompanied by teams of lawyers. Care to guess who is paying for all that legal firepower?

As unfair as it may seem, it is the company insurance that pays, even in bankruptcy.

As virtually every large company does, MF Global bought insurance to pay for the expenses its employees might incur if they were investigated and found liable for actions taken while working for the firm. It had two policies in place at the time of its collapse into bankruptcy on Oct. 31: a “directors and officers” policy for $225 million and an “errors and omissions” policy for $150 million.

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An opinion by Judge Martin Glenn of the United States Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan issued Tuesday affirmed that insurance policies bought by MF Global can be used to help pay for the lawyers for the firm’s employees, including its chief,Jon S. Corzine. Mr. Corzine and others have been named in a host of civil lawsuits, and are having to answer to several regulators trying determine whether any wrongdoing has been committed.

The judge on Tuesday noted that the employees had spent $8.3 million on legal fees so far. He authorized payment for those fees, while imposing a “soft cap” of $30 million on such expenses, which can be increased later.

Although they covered different types of conduct, MF Global’s two policies give first priority to paying for the expenses of individual employees. These are so-called wasting policies, which means that every dollar spent on paying for lawyers for the employees is one less dollar that would be available to pay a claim.

The commodity customers who lost $1.6 billion from their MF Global accounts filed a challenge in the bankruptcy court over whether the insurance policies could be tapped by the employees to pay for their lawyers. They argued that the proceeds of the insurance should be used to pay off their claims rather than going to the employees’ lawyers.

Another group involved in the case are the plaintiffs in a securities class action filed against MF Global and its officers who claim that they were defrauded by misleading statements about the company’s liquidity and internal financial controls.

Unlike the commodities customers, MF Global stockholders favored finding that the insurance policies should go to cover the expenses of the company’s officers because that would provide a larger pool of money to settle the securities case. The policies cover both legal fees and any payments made to settle claims over legal violations.

The bankruptcy trustee for MF Global, the former F.B.I. directorLouis J. Freeh, also supported the move to have the legal fees to be paid from the insurance policies. MF Global agreed to indemnify its employees for any expenses they incurred related to conduct at the firm, so having the insurers pay for the legal fees means fewer claims against the company’s remaining assets in the bankruptcy proceeding.

Judge Glenn was aware that there was a measure of unfairness in the decision, but that denying the employees the right to have their expenses covered would also be problematic. He acknowledged that many of MF Global commodities customers have faced hardships since the bankruptcy. But he also noted that the employees covered by the insurance “would suffer significant hardships if the policies were disabled.”

Some may believe that the insurance should be tapped to compensate victims, rather than officers. But as Kevin P. LaCroixwrote on the D&O Diary blog, “liability insurance exists to protect insured persons from liability, not to create a pool of money to compensate would-be claimants.”

MF Global’s two insurance policies make payment of the legal fees the first priority, and the bankruptcy judge chose to follow the terms of insurance contract.

MF Global’s two policies cover up to $375 million in liability. That sounds like a lot for legal fees but the recent experience of former executives at Lehman Brothers shows that such costs add up quickly. Lehman had $250 million in directors and officers insurance, and that amount has been almost completely exhausted through legal fees and settlements.

The legal fees for MF Global employees could quickly rise above the $30 million “soft cap” imposed by Judge Glenn if the Justice Department or the Commodity Futures Trading Commissiondecides to pursue charges. Even if a government agency settles with potential defendants, the settlement is likely to involve penalties that would be payable from the insurance policies.

Add to that the commodity customer claims for the missing $1.6 billion, and the potential liabilities can easily exceed $375 million available from the insurers.

There is a very good chance that MF Global’s insurance will not cover all the costs that arise. So in the end, the former employees — and commodity customers — may have to bear a portion of the costs.

Tags: insurance, new york, insurance claim, insurance company, claim, fm global, new york times

Chartis Insurance Introduces CyberEdge Tower(SM)

Posted on Tue, Apr 03, 2012 @ 01:05 PM

marketwatch,insurance,chartis,chartis insurance,insurance claims,new york,claims,property claims,

NEW YORK, Apr 03, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) --

Chartis today introduced CyberEdge Tower(SM), an insurance solution that provides catastrophic network security and privacy protection. As companies struggle to balance self-insurance with the increased prospects of a material cyber event, CyberEdge Tower offers a compelling value proposition. It provides total aggregate limits of liability of up to $100 million that are structured to allow the insured to cost-effectively retain up to the first $50 million of loss. The solution will be delivered via the Chartis insurers’ market-leading Specialty Risk Protector® insurance policy.

With growing concern about catastrophic cyber security and privacy exposures, as well as the likelihood of increased regulation and enforcement, companies are proactively addressing cyber risk and insurance disclosures. The SEC’s recent Disclosure Guidance on Cybersecurity makes it clear that cybersecurity risks should be elevated from an IT department issue to a boardroom priority. Accordingly, companies are reconsidering whether they can, or should, retain all of the potential risk of a cyber incident.

“Before the CyberEdge Tower solution, companies with large cyber exposures had limited cost-effective options and were primarily self-insuring,” said Chandra Metzler, Product Line Executive, Chartis Financial Lines, U.S. and Canada.

CyberEdge Tower provides customers with the benefit of Chartis’ cutting-edge insurance solutions and unparalleled claims handling, while allowing companies to retain the cost advantage of funding their own losses.

Marty Scherzer, Head of Global Risk Solutions at Chartis, said, “Our new solution delivers an innovative insurance tool that can help companies better manage their cyber risks.”

For more information about this offering, please e-mail [email protected], or visit http://www.chartisinsurance.com/us/cyberedge .


About Chartis
Chartis is a world leading property-casualty and general insurance organization serving more than 70 million clients around the world. With one of the industry’s most extensive ranges of products and services, deep claims expertise and excellent financial strength, Chartis enables its commercial and personal insurance clients alike to manage virtually any risk with confidence.

Chartis is the marketing name for the worldwide property-casualty and general insurance operations of Chartis Inc.

For additional information, please visit our website at http://www.chartisinsurance.com.

All products are written by insurance company subsidiaries or affiliates of Chartis Inc. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions and is subject to actual policy language.

Non-insurance products and services may be provided by independent third parties. Certain coverage may be provided by a surplus lines insurer. Surplus lines insurers do not generally participate in state guaranty funds and insureds are therefore not protected by such funds.


 

Tags: chartis insurance, insurance, new york, insurance claim, insurance company, claim, chartis

Satisfaction with Homeowners Insurance Claims Experience Increases

Posted on Mon, Apr 02, 2012 @ 03:07 PM

marketwatch,insurance,insurance claim,insurance claims,property damage,property claim,property claims,insurance company,customer satisfaction

J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Overall Customer Satisfaction with Homeowners Insurance Claims Experience Increases, Despite Record Number of Storm Losses

 

Amica Mutual Ranks Highest in Overall Satisfaction among Property Insurance Claimants

 

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., April 2, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Despite a record number of catastrophic storms and some of the largest payouts ever in the U.S. property insurance industry in 2011, overall customer satisfaction with the property claims experience has significantly increased from last year, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Property Claims Satisfaction Study(SM) released today.

 

 

The study, now in its fifth year, measures satisfaction with the property claims experience among insurance customers who filed a claim for damages covered under their homeowners policy by examining five factors: claim settlement; first notice of loss; estimation process; service interaction; and repair process.

After four years of relatively stable customer satisfaction with the insurance claims experience, overall satisfaction in 2012 improves to 833 on a 1,000-point scale, an increase of 10 points from 2011. This increase is noteworthy, as the claims experiences measured in the 2012 study are based on claims filed during 2011, when there were 99 weather-related disasters in the country, 14 of which totaled more than $1 billion in damages each, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

"A period of tremendous volatility in the industry, caused by a large number of devastating storms, led us to anticipate that satisfaction would decline, but that clearly was not the case," said Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "The industry as a whole did well in not only handling the day-to-day claims, but also the large volume of claims associated with those major events."

According to the study, high wind claims, which include tornado and hurricane damage, accounted for 33 percent of all claims filed, an increase from 21 percent in the 2011 study. Yet, among those who filed a claim for high wind damage, satisfaction remained stable relatively unchanged with the 2011 study.

However, when examining the claims experience by region, there are mixed results in overall satisfaction in those regions with large increases in particular weather events. For example, satisfaction in the South Atlantic and Northeast regions, both of which had increases in high wind claims due to hurricanes in 2011, improved 36 points and 18 points, respectively, compared with the 2011 study. In contrast, overall satisfaction in the East North Central Region, which also had an increase in high wind claims due to tornado damage, satisfaction has declined by 14 points from 2011. In addition, an increase in hail-related claims in the West South Central has resulted in an eight-point drop in satisfaction year over year.

"The way in which carriers ramp up for a major natural catastrophe can have a major impact on customer satisfaction," Bowler said. "Having a plan in place to handle the increased volume of claims helps carriers, but so does having time to prepare for an oncoming storm. There usually is some advance warning for a hurricane, so carriers have a few days to prepare and be proactive with their customers. However, since there is little warning for tornado or hail storms, carriers are forced to react in trying to manage claims associated with this type of storm damage."

The study finds that a positive claims experience fosters significantly higher long-term loyalty among claimants, while a negative claims experience may cause claimants to be more likely to switch insurers. Among highly satisfied claimants (satisfaction scores of 901 or higher), 84 percent say they "definitely will" recommend their insurer, and 81 percent say they "definitely will" renew with their insurer. Conversely, among claimants with low satisfaction (scores of 550 or lower), only 12 percent say they "definitely will" renew with the carrier that handled the claim, and 18 percent indicate that they have already switched carriers.

Amica Mutual ranks highest in overall satisfaction with the homeowners insurance claims experience, achieving a score of 894. Amica Mutual also performs particularly well in all five factors. Auto-Owners Insurance follows in the rankings with a score of 873, performing particularly well in service interaction, while Nationwide ranks third with 872. USAA also achieves high levels of customer satisfaction, although it is not included in the rankings due to the closed nature of its membership.[1]

Bowler offers the following tips for homeowners insurance customers:

Read and make sure you understand your homeowners insurance policy and make sure the coverage limits are adequate to cover the replacement value of your home and its contents.

Big-ticket items, such as valuable art work, expensive jewelry or collectables, should be declared on your policy. Often, insurers will require an independent appraisal to verify valuations.

Maintain an inventory of the contents of your home--at least the 10 most expensive items--and store it in a safe place. Some insurance carriers offer apps to help with this process.

Take pictures or videos of the damage.

Try to be at your home when the adjuster arrives to asses the damage.

Ask your insurance carrier to explain how the claims and repair process will work, and how long it is expected to take.

The management discussion based on the study, available for download here, provides an in-depth examination of homeowners insurance claims and the claims process.

The 2012 Property Claims Satisfaction Study is based on more than 4,200 responses from homeowners insurance customers who filed a property claim between May 2010 and January 2012.

        Customer Service Index Ranking              J.D. Power.com Power Circle Ratings
        (Based on a 1,000-point scale)              For Consumers
        Amica Mutual                            894 5
        Auto-Owners Insurance                   873 4
        Nationwide                              872 4
        Erie Insurance                          864 4
        CHUBB                                   859 4
        Automobile Club of Southern California  848 4
        COUNTRY                                 847 4
        State Farm                              846 4
        American Family                         842 4
        NCNU Insurance Exchange (Formerly CSAA) 842 4
        The Hartford                            841 3
        Safeco                                  835 3
        Travelers                               835 3
        Industry Average                        833 3
        Allstate                                829 3
        Liberty Mutual                          824 3
        MetLife                                 823 3
        Farmers                                 818 3
        The Hanover                             812 2
        *USAA                                   895 5
        


NOTE: Included in the study but not ranked due to small sample size: Foremost.*USAA is an insurance provider open only to U.S. military personnel and their families and therefore is not included in the rankings.

Power Circle Ratings Legend:5 - Among the best4 - Better than most3 - About average2 - The rest

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company providing forecasting, performance improvement, social media and customer satisfaction insights and solutions. The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

McGraw-Hill announced on September 12, 2011, its intention to separate into two public companies: McGraw-Hill Financial, a leading provider of content and analytics to global financial markets, and McGraw-Hill Education, a leading education company focused on digital learning and education services worldwide. McGraw-Hill Financial's leading brands include Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Indices, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates. With sales of $6.2 billion in 2011, the Corporation has approximately 23,000 employees across more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/ .

Media Relations ContactsJohn Tews, Troy, Mich.; (248) 680-6218; [email protected] Perryman; Westlake Village, Calif.; (805) 418-8103; [email protected]

No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates. www.jdpower.com/corporate

[1] USAA is an insurance provider open only to U.S. military personnel and their families and therefore is not included in the rankings.

SOURCE J.D. Power and Associates

Copyright (C) 2012 PR Newswire. All rights reserved 

 

Comtex

Tags: property damage, insurance claims, insurance, insurance claim, insurance company, property claim, property claims

RIA Provides Clean Up Tips for After Storm Damage

Posted on Mon, Mar 05, 2012 @ 08:59 AM
restoration industry association,ria,restoration,insurance,disaster restoration,property damage, restoration contractor,long island,new york,advanced restoration,dki member companyThe Restoration Industry Association (RIA) has these tips for individuals impacted by the storms that have caused property damage to their homes and/or businesses.
  • Notify your insurance company of the loss.
  • Keep a notebook to track dates and times of conversations with individuals pertaining to your claim.
  • Secure buildings to prevent vandalism or further damage from weather.  Most insurance policies require homeowners to take reasonable action to protect a property from further damage. Tarp or board up open spaces only if safe and appropriate.
  • Shut off main water, gas and electricity supplies.
  • Save receipts for meals, hotels, toiletries, replacement clothing, prescriptions, etc.
  • Take photos of each room or area for future reference and insurance claims. This will provide a digital inventory of some visible contents. More information on what to do can be found in the Consumer section of the RIA website.    
  • If electrical appliances, including televisions and computers are damaged, do not turn them back on when power is restored. This can result in electric shock and/or do further damage to the appliance.  Electronics can often be cleaned & restored by contractors who know what they're doing.
  • When it is safe to enter a property, look for valuables and important papers (e.g., birth/marriage certificates, wills, tax records, etc.).
  • Beware of scammers offering restoration services. Check references and visit the Restoration Industry Association website to find a contractor.
  • Wear heavy rubber gloves or work gloves and thick-soled shoes, preferably not tennis shoes.
  • Wash your hands frequently -- especially before touching your face or eating.
  • Be careful of sharp items such as broken glass, nails, etc. while searching debris.
  • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
  • Do not use bleach to disinfect since it is corrosive and can react with other substances. Use household disinfectants.
  • Hard surfaces can be disinfected as well as some soft goods, depending on washability.
  • Transport computers, art work and musical instruments to a dry environment.
  • Damaged papers and books can be frozen temporarily to prevent further disintegration until they can be restored by a professional.
  • Homeowners may hire any company they choose for restoration work, not just a company recommended by the insurance company.

 


The Restoration Industry Association (RIA) has member firms worldwide. RIA provides industry leadership, supports science, and promotes best practices for cleaning and restoration through certification, training and standards development. More information is available on the RIA website: www.restorationindustry.org.

 

Tags: property damage, restoration contractor, insurance, restoration, storm damage, insurance company, cleanup, storm damage cleanup, insuerance claim, ria, restoration industry

Filing An Insurance Claim Could Cost Homeowners Down The Road

Posted on Mon, Feb 27, 2012 @ 12:51 PM

LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4) – Many people are spending the weekend picking up debris in their yards from the wind and snow. But with so much damage, homeowners are wondering if they should file a claim with their insurance company.

Most homeowners’ policies have coverage for wind damage. But what they must decide is whether it is worth filing a claim because it could really cost them.

The wind slapped Christy Wheeler’s Littleton home hard this week. The siding was ripped off, a section of the backyard fence is gone, and shingles were torn from her roof. Wheeler wasted no time calling in an insurance claim.

 

“I know definitely this is going to cost more than our deductible,” Wheeler said.

Her deductible is $1,000.

By the next morning State Farm claims agent Bob Blume was at her home. He measured and documented the damage. The roof is likely the most expensive part of the claim, but the snow posed a problem.

“The roof cannot be properly inspected by an insurance adjuster until it’s clear and dry,” Blume said.

It’s not clear how much all of the damage will cost to fix. But Wheeler estimates just the roof will cost about $5,000 or $6,000.

When filing a homeowner’s insurance claim insurance expert Carole Walker offers caution.

“If someone is filing a lot of smaller claims over a short period of time, that could put them at risk for losing insurance, because what the insurance company is looking at is how high risk are you,” Walker said.

Walker says it’s not the amount of the claim, it’s the number of claims. The average homeowner files one claim every 8 years.

The Wheeler family will wait for the snow to melt and the roof to dry and the claims agent to return for a total damage estimate.

Those who have a $1,000 deductible and the total damage is $1,200, the homeowner pays $1,000 and the insurance company only pays $200.

“The difficulty is we’re in an economy where a couple hundred bucks is a lot,” 4 On Your Side Investigator Jodi Brooks said. “But consider; we still have hail season ahead of us, and two or three claims could cost you in homeowner’s insurance premiums, or losing your insurance. It’s not an easy decision.”


Tags: property damage, insurance, insurance claim, insurance company, filing a claim

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