Don't let this happen to you!
Each of the properties pictured below was damaged by severe wind and hail. Unfortunately for the property owners who believed and trusted that their property & casualty insurance companies would properly and fully pay their property damage claims, the total claim settlement offered to the owners of the five properties shown came to just $9,000. However, after applying the proprietary insurance claim process training methods taught by 3RSystems, LLC, the property owners were eventually paid the additional $126,266 (in total) that the insurance companies had unjustly attempted to withhold from them.
Become an informed consumer
Knowing the intrinsic value of truly educating oneself on any subject that one might purport themselves to be an expert in, I decided that what was needed in order to better serve the tens of thousands of insurance premium paying property owners who suffer wind and hail and other property damage every year was a substantive and comprehensive property damage insurance claims repair process training program. Contractors who completed the program would then be able to offer verifiable proof of their expertise to their potential property owner customers who suffered insurance covered property damage. Seeing the need, I then took steps to create, publish and offer the program to contractors so that those with the wisdom and the foresight to understand the value in educating themselves on the process could truly best serve their insured customers who had suffered damage to their properties.
The result was and is the most advanced and comprehensive insurance claims repair process training program available anywhere in the country today - the 3RSystems, LLC Insurance Claims Consultant (ICC)™ insurance claims repair process training program. Contractors who are armed with the knowledge gained through their study of the 3RSystems, LLC Insurance Claims Consultant (ICC)™ insurance claims repair process training program become powerful advocates for property owners with insurance covered damage. Their knowledge gained from the program which also includes my perspective as a successful insurance and investment advisor and Pro Se litigator over the years in a number of serious court cases, powerfully assists those property owners by leveling the playing field and putting them on the same footing as their P&C insurance companies and their staff and independent adjusters (IA's) who typically will do everything in their power to pay substantially less then what they should be paying to their insured customers - if they can get away with it.
Contrary to the popular belief of far too many property owners who haven't suffered damage to their properties as a result of a severe weather or other disastrous event and therefore have never had to file a claim with their property & casualty insurance company, as supported by "The Insurance Hoax", the likelihood of any of them initially being offered a full, proper and fair settlement payment on their insurance claim is less than 1%. More often than not, as clearly illustrated in the pictures above and in the article, they (you) will be offered a percentage settlement that is far below the actual cost of repairing the damage.
Premiums for property and casualty insurance policies are logically, actuarially based on what it would cost a property owner whose property was damaged to have the damage repaired using the real, true and accurate (RTA) cost that an experienced professional fully licensed and insured contractor using quality materials and experienced installers would charge in the future. However, the insurance settlements that most insured's are offered are typically based on the "survey" costs of lower quality materials and less experienced contractors who may or may not carry general liability (GL) and workmen's compensation (WC) insurance. Those pricing surveys are conducted by a subsidiary owned and controlled by the same organization that advises property & casualty insurance companies on how to price their premiums. The end result is that the P&C insurance companies charge premiums based on higher future potential settlement costs and then typically attempt to pay their insured's claims at below current pro contractor real, true, and accurate RTA market rates - if they offer anything at all above the deductible.
For example: Assuming the RTA value/cost of your repair is $40,000, more often than not, through their staff and/or independent adjusters who always have job security in mind, the insurance company you send your premiums to will usually attempt to dramatically underpay your claim. If the RTA cost of your repairs is $40,000 and your insurance company offers you $25,000 and you accept their offer, you will forever forfeit the additional $15,000 owed to you by them. Now, since you pay premiums to your insurance company for coverage based on future RTA rates, doesn't it therefore make sense that your P&C insurance company should settle your claim at least at current RTA rates rather than attempt to leave you less than whole? Of course it does. You deserve no less. If however, your insurance company disagrees with you, your contractor and even the evaluation of numerous other professional contractors, they may choose to send one of their paid for structural engineers to conduct a "forensic investigation" of your claim.
"Hired Gun" Insurance Company Paid Engineers
Although the term, "forensic investigation" sounds serious, in regards to the inspection of roof damage claims, it really is not. In the great majority of cases, these folks will typically report the following on completion of their insurance company paid "forensic investigation" of the typical roof wind and hail damage claim: No wind and/or hail damage but evidence of foot traffic, wear & tear, thermal expansion, improper installation, manufacturers defects, lichens, moss, anomalies, mechanical damage, intentional damage, improper maintenance, etc. - anything but actual wind and hail damage. Based on the engineer's opinion that any damage found is anything but wind and hail damage, the insurance company denies the (your) claim. Average per claim fee for their roof inspection service? Around $750. Average per claim savings to the insurance company who relied on the engineers opinion that damage was not weather related? $8,000. Fortunately, more and more juries are seeing the light these days and are disregarding insurance company paid engineers supposed expertise and authority on the subject.
Simple common sense combined with experience tells us that there are those who will put money and job security ahead of reality and truth. Engineers aren’t hired by insurance companies to find storm damage, they are hired to disprove the existence of it. There is simply no other reason a P&C insurance company would hire them. If they don’t disprove the damage, the assignments will eventually dry up. This doesn’t mean that all engineers who conduct storm damage inspections for P&C insurance companies are corrupt. It does illustrate however, where their loyalties are and why that should be taken into account by any reasonable person.
Although the names have been changed, the following quotes are from actual and real CAT insurance adjusters taken from various online CAT insurance adjuster forums. (for those who may not be familiar with the term, “CAT” stands for Catastrophe)
CAT adjuster “Bob” – “It has been my experience that (insurance) carriers work using the theory of large numbers. They will continue to settle claims “slightly” unfairly as long as they have some engineering company that advances a bogus theory as to why the damage is from another source. This eliminates most of the chance they might be sued for bad faith since they are relying on an ‘expert’. Again, no mater what the insurance company or engineering company preaches, mat fracture is not required for their to be damage to roofing shingles and membranes, it only requires coating fracture or bruising that permits the onset of UV degradation. And, this is the important thing. TDI (Texas Department of Insurance) agrees and so would anyone who had an open mind.
I recently acted in a consultant capacity on a commercial loss where destructive testing was skipped by (engineering company) and a ‘Fluff’ report claimed no damage. Destructive testing later proved that the damage was real, widespread, and caused by hail. Once the insurance company saw that more in depth report, they paid the claim without so much as demanding an appraisal, arbitration or mediation. In my opinion, (engineering company’s) very provable (by court records) biased ‘outcome-based engineering’ that sometimes reaches a figure of as much as a 94% record of finding no covered peril damage, will soon get them in some real hot water. Then the carriers who use them should follow because of their complicity in the ‘tag team’ match.”
CAT adjuster “LS” – “That is an excellent point and I will most readily admit that you have a very good body of experience to uphold a major portion of that assumption. It would be true that insurers wouldn’t need an engineer when the claimant agreed. I would suggest that the 94% may be accurate on agreement between (engineering company) and insurers because of one court case involving 82 foundation claims and another where (engineering company) was disqualified as not being disinterested when it came to certain (insurance company) cases because the insurance company already had a pretty good certainty of the way the engineering company would opine before they were sent out. My reason for stating that is the unwillingness of most carriers to question (engineering company) theories. In my opinion, the effort to please insurers and to create a demand for their C. E. materials taints (engineering company) necessity to be perceived as impartial.”
CAT adjuster “Jay” – “As to granule loss, I too have been on thousands of hail damage inspections and made castles out of the granules found in the gutters. Yet with due diligence, was hard pressed to find significant impact marks. But, when talking with the insured and neighbors, they all stated that the hail was dime to quarter size and the few minutes that it fell you could shovel it up. You get back on the roof and following the reported path, ignoring the fact that the insured said it was falling straight down and on all sides, bouncing two to three feet in the air in the yard, you start noticing that the slopes in the reported path, although absent of significant impact marks, have a sort of cancer effect to it.
Once our eyes focus, you can see that it appears like something scraped here and there in large swatches. (Engineering company) would call it a ‘manufacturers defect’, yet you examine the opposing slope and the granule color is consistent all over. Dare I say that the affected slope is damaged? Should I consider that hundreds of pellets just pummeled this slope and knocked all those granules loose? If I were lying out there on the roof when the storm passed, what would I look like?
I don’t have much faith in what (engineering company) has to say anymore, I was present when they performed one of their infamous inspections for hail damage and all they could come up with was, manufacture defects, improper installation and poor maintenance. Yet they didn’t discount that the vents were damaged. Three other firms performed the same inspection in the same areas and they found damage. Three out of four that is and the carrier ignored the other findings. Astounding!”
Damage, is damage, is damage. If it is there, insurance company paid engineers need to approve it and P&C insurance needs to pay the claim!
The call for an insurance company paid engineer is usually not made when an experienced and well trained pro contractor is assisting property owners with their claims. If however, an insurance adjuster believes a contractor is less experienced and not well trained in the process, the insurance adjuster may attempt to intimidate the contractor as well as the insured property owner into accepting the insurance adjusters claim under payment or denial. If the contractor and/or insured property owner does not accept the insurance adjuster's claim underpayment or denial, the insurance company may then call to have one of their paid for and likely biased engineering "experts" to inspect the claim.
If your insurance company informs you that they will be sending an engineer to inspect your roof and/or other property for damage, go online and google the following - "(name) engineering complaints". If you find that the engineering company has complaints against it and you are properly concerned, you may be within your rights to deny them access to your property and demand that a truly independent engineering firm not connected to or paid by your insurance company conduct the inspection.
Settling your claim...the wrong way and the right way - "free" estimates?
You've been paying your premiums and your property has sustained substantial damage...what do you do next? Rather than following "conventional wisdom" or any P&C insurance company's recommendation to get several free estimates, the correct approach - for property owners with insured storm or other property damage - is to choose to work with a 3RSystems, LLC trained ICC contractor who is willing to make a commitment to you by way of a "contingency agreement" contract that states that if the contractor is successful in helping you to achieve full and fair payment on your claim, you agree to have that contractor do the work. A properly written contingency agreement contract will state that if the insurance company legitimately denies your entire claim, the contingency agreement contract will become null and void and you will owe nothing to the contractor.
Whether titled as a Proposal, Agreement or Contract, as long as it contains an offer which is typically an offer to ensure the accuracy of the insurance company's claim settlement offer to make sure that all damage is accounted for and to complete the repairs as listed in the insurance company's final settlement offer that all parties have agreed to in exchange for consideration - the insured's promise to pay the contractor for the repairs and the insured's acceptance of and agreement to the terms, a legal and binding contract is established. That, of course, makes much more sense then obligating yourself to a straight contract based on a "free" estimate written prior to coming to an agreement with the insurance company on what will be paid and at what price if the insurance company legitimately denies payment for items written into the contract.
After you have signed the contingency agreement contract, your 3RSystems, LLC trained ICC contractor will meet with your insurance company adjuster to assess the damage. If an insurance adjuster has already inspected your property prior to your signing of a contingency agreement contract with your 3RSystems, LLC trained ICC contractor, it is likely that the insurance adjuster missed damaged items and/or underpriced repairs. If that is the case (99% of the time, that will be the case), your 3RSystems, LLC trained ICC contractor will inspect your property for damage then compare his/her evaluation and pricing to the insurance adjusters estimate which would have been sent to you by the insurance adjuster.
That estimate is called a "loss report" or "scope of loss report." Keep in mind that, since the loss report that forms the basis of your claim is sent to you directly, you are never in the dark regarding what work is proposed and at what price. If your 3RSystems, LLC trained ICC contractor finds that your insurance company missed and/or underpriced damage they will tell you and urge you to call for a re-inspection where your contractor and preferably a new insurance adjuster will meet to conduct a re-inspection.
If an insurance adjuster has not inspected your property prior to your signing of the contingency agreement contract you will want to make sure that your 3RSystems, LLC trained ICC contractor knows when an adjuster will be doing so. The when is determined by you when you demand that an insurance adjuster conduct their inspection on a specific date and time chosen by you. Your 3RSystems, LLC trained ICC contractor whose training qualifies him or her to know best what is damaged and how much it will cost to repair the damage will meet with the adjuster to point out the damage then audit the loss report you will receive a few days later from the adjuster. If damaged items are missing and/or the pricing is too low relative to the premiums you paid to your P&C insurance company and the true cost of repairs in your area (again, 99% of the time, that will be the case), your 3RSystems, LLC trained ICC contractor will be happy to speak with the adjuster or in house claims representative at your request regarding any discrepancies' in order to make sure your claim is fairly and fully paid.
More on contingency agreement contracts: Contingency agreement contracts are not blank contracts. There are legal and binding agreements/contracts that either convert into a full legal and binding contract if the insurance company agrees to pay for the repair work as listed and priced by your contractor and approved by you or become null and void if the insurance company fully and legitimately denies your claim. Know that staff and independent P&C insurance adjusters regularly miss, omit and/or deny legitimate damage worth hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Everything that gets written into your contingency agreement contract is taken from the loss reports that are sent directly to you by your P&C insurance company so you will always know what work has been approved and at what price. The only time the total price of your repair work might be higher than what the insurance company has agreed to pay and you have agreed to accept is when you have asked your contractor for an upgrade from the original materials that were damaged.
"The contractor is charging too much?"
Often, after an insurance company adjuster or in house claim rep has reviewed an insured's repair quote prepared by the insured's chosen contractor, they will call the insured and tell them their contractor is charging too much - even going so far on some occasions to imply that a contractor "is trying to rip them off" and suggest to or tell the insured to get other estimates. Another common ruse is to tell insured's they know of other contractors who will do the job for much less. This is nothing more than a bad faith attempt on the part of the insurance company adjuster or in house claim rep to cause the insured (you) to question the integrity of the contractor, cause strife between the contractor and the insured (you) and cause the insured (you) to consider illegally breaching their/your contract with the contractor. Besides being bad faith, it is also Tortious Interference (i.e., causing harm by intentionally disrupting a contractual relationship or harming a business relationship or activity, for example, by raising suspicions or telling lies or simply implying that something is true). Wayward staff and independent insurance adjusters concerned with staying employed commit the above offense on a regular basis.
The fact that a contractor estimates property damage higher than an insurance company initially offers rarely means the contractor is pricing the repair costs too high. Usually, it means that the insurance company is offering the insured substantially less than they should be paying relative to the premiums paid by the insured. The insurance company does not care if the insured gets into legal trouble by breaching their contract based on the errant advice of a wayward insurance adjuster or in house claims rep. Typically, all they care about is paying out as little as possible on each claim.
Remember - your signed contingency agreement contract will initially include everything including cancellation clauses (additionally, often separate) that will make up your contract except a description of the damaged items and the pricing. That description and the pricing will all be shown on the loss report that your insurance company adjuster or in house claims rep sends you. Once your 3RSystems, LLC trained ICC contractor properly estimates the damage and costs then agrees that the final loss report is accurate and includes all damaged items at a fair and proper RTA price, you and your 3RSystems, LLC trained ICC contractor will simply transfer that information onto the contingency agreement contract that has converted into a full contract because the insurance company has agreed to fully and fairly pay your claim as a result of your 3RSystems, LLC trained ICC contractor's efforts on your behalf. At that time, you can then choose the colors, types of materials, etcetera, that you want as well as include any upgrades that you agree to pay extra for.
Since, overall, contractors in general typically know better than P&C insurance company hired adjusters what needs to be repaired and what it should really cost, insurance companies, as illustrated previously, don't want them involved. If your insurance company attempts to pay you $20,000 on a claim that a professional, fully insured 3RSystems, LLC trained ICC contractor would legitimately charge $30,000 for, that "costs" the insurance company money, at least in their eyes. The job of the 3RSystems, LLC trained ICC contractor is to make sure the insurance company pays you fully and fairly on your claim. In the above example - $30,000. That "extra" $10,000 in the example above belongs to you, not the insurance company.
With a contingency agreement contract, even after your right to cancel has expired you are still under no obligation to the contingency contractor if the insurance company legitimately denies your claim - legitimately being the key word. That should be clearly spelled out for you in "plain English" on the front of the contingency agreement contract and/or elsewhere. If it is not, ask the contractor to confirm in writing that they will abide by those terms.
Since you pay insurance premiums based on the real, true and accurate cost to hire a professional contractor to complete the repairs, your insurance adjuster's "scope of loss" report should reflect those true costs rather than the below market pricing typically offered by insurance adjusters using the P&C industry's mandated repair estimating software programs. You can trust your 3RSystems, LLC trained Insurance Claims Consultant (ICC)™ contractor to make sure that your property damage claim is paid at the maximum and proper RTA amount. That way, your contractor can afford to take the time to complete your repairs the right way and use top quality materials and installers.
Do you have a mortgage on your property?
If so and your claim exceeds $10,000, you and your contractor will be required to submit paperwork to what is usually a third party "loss draft processor" who will oversee your claim and make sure that all of the repair work is completed before the final claim payment is released to you. Nothing wrong with that, but...be prepared to deal with what often becomes one of the most frustrating and infuriating processes you've ever experienced.
Although Countrywide Mortgage (Balboa) handles most of their own loss draft processing and Sterling National Corporation (previously known as Z C Sterling) handles a fair percentage, most of the loss draft processing done throughout the USA is handled by a Atlanta, GA based niche financial services subsidiary whose parent company was recently fined millions of dollars for selling "forced-placed" home owners insurance policies that were often priced as much as ten times higher than typical voluntary homeowner insurance policies. These people, while responsive to their customers (banks and mortgage companies, et al) demands, assume that no one else – such as insured's who want to get paid so they can pay their contractors so they can pay their employee's and their suppliers - will figure out who’s in charge and therefore, they play fast and loose with the payments that are ultimately owed to you. Your 3RSystems, LLC Insurance Claims Consultant (ICC)™ contractor is trained on how to help you through the process to make sure it goes as smooth as possible.
In regards to contracting for storm damage repairs, doing the actual repair work is only 25% of the job - the easy part. Dealing with and going up against multi-billion dollar P&C insurance companies, their claims reps and their lawyers who are regularly reluctant to fully pay their insured's claims is 75% of the job - the hard part. If you want to make sure you are paid all of the money owed to you by your property & casualty insurance company on your damage claim you need an experienced 3RSystems, LLC trained Insurance Claim Consultant (ICC)™ contractor who understands the process from both the construction and the insurance side.
Additional advice and warnings
Never accept a claim settlement offer from any insurance adjuster before you have had a 3RSystems, LLC trained ICC contractor inspect your property for damage. A very small minority of property owners with damage mistakenly believe that they can, after a contractor has done all the work in making sure that all damaged items are accounted for and properly paid for - in other words, fulfilled their obligation, cancel the contingency agreement contract turned full contract then hire a less experienced contractor to do the repair work for less money while pocketing some of the insurance proceeds for their own personal use. This could be construed by the insurance company and others as insurance fraud. Many insurance adjusters who know the insurance company's they represent want to keep payouts low will often attempt to cause the insured property owner to cancel/breach their contracts and choose a less experienced contractor who will do the job for less money. Doing so would likely be an enforceable illegal breach of contract. If any attorney advises you that doing so is acceptable, you probably need to find a different attorney who is more interested in protecting your interests than in getting paid a small fee while exposing you to potential legal trouble.
People who sell Property and Casualty insurance policies are some of the nicest people you'll ever meet. Many insurance agents join numerous civic minded organizations and do many good things in their communities - just as they are trained to do by the insurance companies that hire them. Doing so brings in business! But, when it comes to helping insured's with their claims, by design, there is not much they can do to help. Their job is to sell and service insurance policies, not adjust claims. So, even if you've worked with your P&C insurance agent for many years and maybe even gone golfing together, don't be surprised to learn that your relationship with your P&C insurance agent may be of little interest to P&C insurance companies in general when it comes time to get your claim fully and fairly paid.
Before you sign, ask for proof of their 3RSystems, LLC Insurance Claims Consultant (ICC)™ training
Trusting without verifying that a contractor who claims to be an insurance claims specialist or expert really is one can be very expensive, time consuming and heart wrenching, among other things. Rather than take the chance that a contractor who claims to be an insurance claims specialist or expert really is, or is not, you'll be much better off trusting a 3RSystems, LLC trained ICC contractor who will make every effort to assist you in making sure that you are paid full 100% RTA on your claim and make sure that your property is restored to the same or better condition than it was in prior to wind and hail storm or other damage. If a contractor claiming to be a 3RSystems, LLC trained Insurance Claims Consultant (ICC)™ cannot provide you with proof of completion of the training program, feel free to contact 3RSystems, LLC through the contact link so the contractor's claim can be verified.
After over four decades of business experience which includes forty years of construction industry experience, twenty years of concurrent and verifiable insurance and investment industry experience and substantive and successful Pro Se legal experience, I put together the 3RSystems, LLC insurance claims process training program in order to teach contractors how to process property damage claims for full RTA value thereby benefiting insured's rather than P&C insurance companies. 3RSystems, LLC trained ICC contractors and their reps are put on a level playing field with the multi-billion dollar P&C insurance companies and their teams of independent and staff adjusters, in house claim reps and lawyers that all too often have the advantage over their "customers". This means that you, as the premium paying insured (that makes you the boss, not the insurance company) with the help of your 3RSystems, LLC trained ICC contractor are more likely to be paid all the money owed to you on your claim in much less time and with much less stress.
Want to make sure that your insurance company pays you everything they owe you on your insurance covered property damage claim? Put your trust in a 3RSystems, LLC™ trained Insurance Claims Consultant (ICC)™ contractor. You'll never pay more but you'll likely be paid much more on your claim then you otherwise would have so you can afford to get the job done right.
Larry M. Burtis, President - 3RSystems, LLC / Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
If you are a property owner who suffered wind and hail storm damage to your property and need help with your claim or need a referral to a 3RSystems, LLC trained Insurance Claims Consultant (ICC)™ contractor in your area, feel free to contact 3RSystems, LLC through the contact page of this site.
If you are a roofing or general contractor or contractor rep and would like to know how to become qualified as a 3RSystems, LLC trained Insurance Claims Consultant (ICC)™ or a manufacturer/supplier who would like to know how to help your contractor customers qualify, feel free to contact 3RSystems, LLC through the contact page of this site.
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Disclaimer - Other than offering my experienced opinions as a matter of reference, I do not give accounting, tax, insurance, investment or legal advice. If you need accounting, tax, insurance, investment or legal advice, I recommend that you consult with a licensed accounting, tax, insurance, investment or legal professional. BURCOS/3RSystems, LLC and its affiliates shall not be liable for, and the home owner/insured/property owner hereby disclaims and waives any rights and claims it may have with respect to, services provided by any company or contractor representing themselves as a trained 3RSystems, LLC Insurance Claims Consultant (ICC) contractor.
If you are a property owner who has filed a claim with your property & casualty insurance company for property damage which a professional licensed and insured contractor has told you is legitimate damage but your insurance company, through their adjuster(s) and/or an insurance company paid engineer and/or an "in house" insurance company claims representative, has ultimately said is not covered or does not exist, 3RSystems, LLC recommends that you consult with an experienced lawyer who practices and is well versed in construction and insurance law.