Commercial Theft Claims

Posted on Tuesday, May 14th, 2019 at 2:55 pm    

Theft of Commercial Property

If you own a retail business, one of your worst fears is likely the prospect of opening the store to find that you have been the victim of theft. However, most owners of commercial property are prepared for these situations and are covered by their insurance company for loss of property due to theft. Unfortunately, it is all too common for insurance companies to balk at their responsibilities when a legitimate claim for arises.

If your insurance company is underpaying or denying your theft claim after your business has been burglarized, you have the right to challenge their decision with the help of an insurance bad faith attorney. The Dallas insurance attorneys of Grisham & Kendall, PLLC, have years of experience dealing with resistant insurance companies and are prepared to help you seek suitable benefits and compensation. Contact us at (713) 999-5085 today.

Common Theft-Related Losses

When thieves strike a business, they may do so with or without knowledge of a store’s specific holdings. The contents of a retail store will vary according to the nature of the store, and so will the value of the items stolen. However, the following are common theft-related losses that likely ought to be compensable under your insurance:

  • Broken glass or doors damaged in a break-in
  • Cash from registers or safes
  • Store inventory
  • Office computers
  • Equipment essential for the carrying out of business

Losses from theft can add up quickly, leaving you and your business in a dire financial situation. Do not allow an unscrupulous insurer to interfere with your business’s success.

Contact Us

If your commercial property has been burglarized or robbed and your insurance company has denied or underpaid your claim, do not hesitate to take action. Contact the Dallas theft attorneys of Grisham & Kendall, PLLC, by calling (713) 999-5085.


Problems With Policy Misrepresentation

Posted on Wednesday, May 8th, 2019 at 2:42 pm    

Misrepresentation by an Insurance Broker or Agent

When a person is looking for an insurance policy to cover their property, they are usually provided with information about the policy through a broker or agent. While these employees are supposed to have their prospective customer’s best interests in mind, they are also acting as salespeople for a policy. As a result, some brokers or agents may bend the truth on what is included or provided in a policy to get a prospective policyholder to sign their contract. However, any misrepresentation of a policy isn’t legal and may be grounds for legal action.

Problems with Policy Misrepresentation

An insurance agent should provide truthful information to prospective clients when trying to sell a policy or increase coverage on an existing policy. They may cause serious financial problems for their customers in the future and are likely violating the standards they’re obligated to uphold when they commit the following:

  • Misrepresenting the extent of damages covered
  • Misrepresenting deductible thresholds
  • Misrepresenting the amount of coverage provided
  • Misrepresenting non-property coverage, such as lodging expenses after home damages

An agent should know clearly what is and isn’t included in the policy and accurately present this information to a prospective customer before asking them to sign a contract. Failing to disclose accurate policy information can be considered bad faith and may be grounds for legal action if this misrepresentation results in an unexpected lack of adequate coverage for damages.

See Also: Insurance Agent Negligence

Contact Us

If your property has been damaged and you haven’t received the coverage you were told would be provided by a broker or agent, these insurers may be held responsible for their misrepresentation. To learn more about the legal process involved in pursuing a bad faith insurance claim, contact Grisham & Kendall, PLLC, today by calling (713) 999-5085.


Choosing Renters Insurance

Posted on Wednesday, May 8th, 2019 at 2:31 pm    

Tips for Choosing Renters Insurance

Renters insurance can be a valuable tool for protecting your belongings following unanticipated destruction. If your apartment or other leased property is damaged by a fire, tornado, hurricane, or other natural disasters, your landlord’s insurance policy may not cover losses to your personal property. Leases and rental agreements commonly encourage residents to obtain renters insurance because of this risk. Living without renters insurance can leave you paying the bill for damages to your own personal property, injuries sustained through your own actions, and losses incurred from theft.

Obtaining renters insurance is a worthwhile investment if you have valuable belongings and want the comfort of knowing they are covered. Not only does renters insurance cover losses from theft or natural disasters, but it can also cover property damaged through your own negligence. Usually, there is a limit to the amount of coverage you can receive, but policies are generally inexpensive and the security of knowing your belongings are insured is worth the cost. When considering the type of renters insurance that best suits you, there are a number of factors to consider. Thorough vetting of different policies will ensure you obtain insurance that will provide you with the best protection.

Tips for Choosing Renters Insurance

The renters insurance best suited to each resident depends on the value of his or her belongings and the extent of coverage desired. It is important to determine the approximate value of your belongings to decide on a policy limit; you can also choose whether you want coverage that reimburses the cash value or replacement value of your belongings. Tips for choosing the most appropriate type of renters insurance include:

  • Take an inventory of the belongings you want to be insured
  • Have your property appraised
  • Consider several renters’ insurance companies at first
  • Compare premiums and ask what items are not covered by each company

Some items, such as jewelry, computers, and silverware, have limits on the amount of coverage available. This is important to keep in mind when shopping around for renters insurance.

Contact a Renters Insurance Lawyer in Dallas

While renters insurance can be invaluable, some companies deny or underpay insurance claims of faithful policyholders. If an insurer does not honor your claim, don’t hesitate to contact the renters insurance claim attorneys at Grisham & Kendall, PLLC for support in your case. Reach out to us today at (713) 999-5085 to speak to a member of our effective legal team.


Do You Have a Business Interruption Claim Due to Harvey?

Posted on Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 at 9:39 am    

What You Need to Know About Business Income (or Interruption) Coverage.

Was your business closed, damaged or interrupted by Hurricane Harvey or some other natural disaster? Here’s what you need to know.

A Business Income Insurance claim (aka Business Interruption) requires two things to happen:

1. A suspension of business, partially or completely, due to a covered event.
2. Following the suspension of business, a loss of income, due to the suspension of business.

What causes are covered by my business income insurance?

Generally, the same causes covered in your commercial property insurance are covered by business income insurance coverage.

Typical causes include hurricane, fire, windstorm, hail, water damage, lightning, etc. As always, you must consult your policy (or policies) to determine what is covered and by what policy. In a hurricane loss, for example, most non-flood policies will generally cover damage caused directly by wind, but not by flooding. Bear in mind also that this determination is often times the primary dispute between the insured and the insurance company.

As always, it’s important then that you consult with qualified professionals with experience handling first party property claims, including business income loss, following a disaster. For business interruption claims, the insured will likely need to retain a qualified and experienced certified professional accountant to address and quantify the damages owed pursuant to your insurance policy’s business income provisions.


Was your property flooded by the Houston Addicts & Barker Dam Releases?

Posted on Tuesday, October 31st, 2017 at 4:03 pm    

Do you have a potential claim against the government due to the Houston Addicks and Barker Dam Releases during Hurricane Harvey?

If your home or business first sustained flooding after the Addicks or Barker dam releases at 2 a.m. on August 28th, you may have a claim for damages under the law known as Inverse Condemnation.

If you are unsure, you can check the location of your property against the flood map here:

http://www.swg.usace.army.mil/Missions/Dam-Safety-Program/About-The-Reservoirs/Addicks-and-Barker-Potential-Flood-Maps/

What if I don’t have flood insurance. A property owner need not have flood insurance in order to maintain an inverse condemnation claim. While property owners with flood insurance will certainly want to pursue any coverage they may be entitled to under their policy, an inverse condemnation action may be the only legal recourse property owners without flood coverage have.

If the Addicks and Barker dam releases damaged your property, you may be entitled to compensation for the costs to rebuild or repair your home or business.  In addition, property owners impacted by toxic contamination or chemical explosions due to a hurricane-related dam release may also be entitled to compensation.

Do you know you’re protected by the Constitution?

In accordance with the 5th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, when private property is damaged or taken for public use by the government, the property owner should be compensated for the loss. This is known as inverse condemnation.


Do You Have Enough Insurance for Your Home or Business?

Posted on Tuesday, October 31st, 2017 at 3:27 pm    

1. Do you have Replacement Cost Value coverage? It is important to know whether your insurance policy provides replacement cost value (RCV) coverage or actual cash value (ACV) coverage. RCV coverage entitles you to recover the cost to rebuild your home after a covered loss. ACV—which is RCV less depreciation—only entitles you to recover the actual cash value. Other words, the insurance company depreciates the repairs based on the age and wear and tear of the item. For instance, if your home has a 30 year roof and the roof is 10 years old at the time of the covered loss, then the insurance company could depreciate the repair cost by 1/3 and only pay you for 2/3 of the cost to replace your roof. Although generally more expensive, ACV coverage provides broader coverage needed to fully replace your damaged property.

2. If you remodel or add-on to your home, let your insurance company know so the policy reflects the new increased value of your property. You want to make sure your insurance policy fully covers the cost to repair or replace your property.

3. Keep an up-to-date inventory of your contents so they’re covered too. This isn’t always so easy. One idea – if maintaining an updated written inventory of your contents sounds unrealistic, use a video camera (or your phone) to video your contents in every room from time to time. Doing so can be very helpful in creating an inventory list after a fire or other major loss. Also, be sure to save the video (or other documentation) off-site (i.e., at your work or in the Cloud) so you have access after such a loss. Trying to recall each and every item you owned prior to a loss can be very difficult, if not impossible.

4. If your home is damaged by fire, call your insurance company right away. Even small fires can cause significant damage resulting from smoke and water throughout your home or business.

5. Confirm insurance company’s first estimate sufficient to pay for your covered damages. If your insurance company’s initial estimate is ultimately not enough when it comes time to hire a contractor (if one wasn’t consulted during initial period following loss), tell the adjuster assigned by your carrier. You may want to consult with qualified insurance or legal professionals if you suspect your insurance company is refusing to fully pay for the covered damages.


FEMA – What to Expect After Applying for Assistance

Posted on Tuesday, October 31st, 2017 at 3:14 pm    

FEMA disaster assistance offers a number of means to help you recover from a disaster.

Apply for assistance on-line here: https://www.disasterassistance.gov/

Learn about individual assistance here: https://www.fema.gov/individual-disaster-assistance

What happens after you apply for assistance?

1. You may be given an application for a low cost-long term SBA loan. Completing the application helps to determine what assistance is available for you. You are not required to take out a loan, but the application may make other types of assistance available to you.

2. The SBA loan can be up to $200,000.00 to repair/replace your primary residence and up to $40,000.00 to repair/replace other personal property, including renter losses. The loan can be up to 2 million for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profits.

3. An inspector will contact you to schedule an appointment.

4. Prepare for the appointment with the inspector. Be sure you have a valid ID, proof of residence or ownership (deed, title, mortgage documents, etc.), documentation of your property loss (photos, invoices, videos, etc.). Be on time and allow 30 – 40 minutes for the meeting.

5. The inspector will wear an official FEMA ID, confirm your disaster registration number, review with you the structural and personal property damages, verify ownership and occupancy, and ask you to sign official documents.

6. The inspector won’t determine your eligibility for assistance, cost you any money, ask for your credit card information, or perform an inspection for your insurance company.

7. You will be sent a decision letter. If you are approved you will receive a check or electronic funds transfer. A follow up letter will explain how the money can be used. If you have questions about the letter, you can call FEMA at 800-621-3362 or visit https://www.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers


Larger Insurance Claims Get Contested More Often

Posted on Tuesday, October 31st, 2017 at 3:09 pm    

The Bigger Your Claim the More Likely Your Insurance
Company Finds a Reason Not to Pay

While surveys show that nearly 80 percent of claimants reported no hassles with their insurer, homeowners with bigger losses were more likely to run into difficulties. For example, 6 percent of those with claims of any size disagreed with their insurer over dollar damages compared with 10 percent who had claims of $20,000 or more. Those in the $20K-plus club were also more likely to experience a delay in payout.

4 Essential Tips on How to Resolve a Claim

1. It’s up to you to take the initiative.

There are many reasons for disagreements over property insurance claims, so be prepared to take action to ensure your claim is paid. Patience, persistence, and attention to detail are key. Start by documenting your claim with photos and written estimates. A contractor whose estimates are detailed about the costs of construction should help. Follow up promptly in dealing with the needs of insurance adjusters. Don’t automatically accept the adjuster’s interpretation of the contract should the claim be denied. If he or she says your policy doesn’t cover certain damage, ask to see the specific contract language. Remember, you’re entitled to a written denial from your insurance company.

2. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion.

Disagree over the damage amount? Bring your contractor and the insurance company adjuster together to go over the estimate line by line. Still can’t see eye to eye? Ask another independent contractor for a second opinion or hire representation.

3. Consider hiring a Public Adjuster

Qualified public adjusters inspect every aspect of the claim and serve the client, not the insurance company. A public adjuster can negotiate for you, generally for a fee of up to 10 percent (or sometimes higher for supplemental claims), depending on state limits and whether the claim is related to a declared emergency. Find a public adjuster by using the website of the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters or search corresponding state public adjuster associations. Look for good references, notable experience for your type of loss, relevant licensing, where necessary.

4. Hire a Qualified Attorney with Experience in Property Insurance Disputes

Another option to resolve disagreements with your insurance company is to attorney. Experienced attorneys understand how to interpret policy provisions, properly document and present your claim to the insurance company. In the event the claim cannot be resolved through negotiations, the attorney can file suit for you. Most claims brought against an insurance company also allow for the recovery of attorney’s fees. Therefore, if your attorney is successful proving the claim is owed under the policy then you would be entitled to recover attorney’s fees. Before you contact an attorney, have all of your documentation organized and be able to present your case clearly. This will allow the attorney to better understand the issues and help you determine your best options under the law.

More information concerning obtaining insurance coverage in general, claims which may or may not be covered, as well as the filing and presenting of an insurance claim can be found here:
https://www.consumerreports.org/homeowners-insurance/what-you-dont-know-about-homeowners-insurance-could-cost-you/


What to do after a flood

Posted on Tuesday, October 31st, 2017 at 1:37 pm    

What To Do After A Flood?

After a flood comes the cleanup. These 4 tips will make the cleanup easier for you.

1. Always follow the EPA recommendations for mold cleanup. Your flood insurance claim can be affected by improper mold cleanup. Please see this link for information on mold cleanup following a flood: https://www.epa.gov/mold

2. Document before you dispose of damaged property. Before discarding items, policyholders should be sure to document their damage using photos and/or videos. The policyholder should retain, for the adjuster, samples or swatches of carpeting, wallpaper, furniture upholstery, window treatments, and other items where the type and quality of material may impact the amount payable on the claim. Properly documenting damaged property is critical for your flood claim, so discuss what your policy requirements are with your insurance agent and adjuster.

3. If you can’t get to your property right away, be sure to notify your insurance company. In some cases, flooded areas remain closed and off-limits. Meanwhile, mold sets in. Your insurance may protect you under these circumstances, but you must be able to prove you did not have access.

4. File your flood claim promptly and seek government disaster assistance if appropriate. You can learn more about how to file a claim here: https://www.fema.gov/nfip-file-your-claim Information on how to apply for assistance can be found here: www.disasterassistance.gov


Five Critical Steps to Filing a Flood Insurance Claim

Posted on Friday, October 20th, 2017 at 2:33 pm    

Make Sure Your Claim Is Handled Right Way From The Start!

REPORT YOUR CLAIM

Call or notify your agent or carrier immediately! Seems obvious, but sometimes people panic and start cleaning up and removing debris before they document their loss. You may be eligible for payment up to $20,000 if you provide photo or video documentation. Don’t accidentally throw out evidence of your loss!

DOCUMENT THE LOSS / TAKE LOTS OF PHOTOS

Before you discard damaged property, ocument Your Loss With Photos or Video! If you created an inventory of your contents prior to a flood, use this list and add to it if appropriate. The sooner you’re able to create an inventory of your damaged or lost items the better. Take as many photos and video of your property (outside and inside) as possible.

BEGIN THE CLEANUP

Discard your flood-damaged items. Cut out samples of items you need to throw out immediately such as flooring, carpet, curtains. Give these samples to your adjuster during initial adjuster inspection. You must follow NFIP (National Flood Insurance Policy) guidelines when cleaning up. Check here for guidance – https://www.epa.gov/mold/mold-cleanup-after-floods

MEET THE ADJUSTER AT PROPERTY INSPECTION

The flood adjuster assigned to your claim must show his or her official identification. Note the adjuster’s identification for your records. Ask any questions you may have and take notes of any matters discussed or requests made by the adjustser for you to do anything regarding your claim.

*For Hurricane Harvey, FEMA has waived the Proof of Loss requirements for initial claims. While you will need to prepare a Proof of Loss in the event you identify additional flood damage not noted by the flood adjuster, the extended deadline to file the POL is one year from the date of the flood loss.

CONFIRM WHETHER ADJUSTER ADDRESSED ALL DAMAGES AND FULL PAYMENT MADE

Your flood adjuster should submit a report along with payment for the covered damages. The NFIP offers a no-cost appeals process if you disagree with the adjuster’s report. If you have questions concerning your flood insurance claim, the attorneys at Grisham & Kendall, PLLC can help.