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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In bidding the repair part of an insurance claim, I found myself involved in a battle between the cleaners and the insurance adjuster. Bottom line is someone needs to take over the cleaning part of the job and no one wants any part of it. The then two and a half weekold furniture is still in the house and its going on 6 months since the incident. I need the job I'm under contract, and am considering takeing over the cleaning just to get it going. I'm prepared to purchase an ozone gen. and a hot thermal fogger, Just need a little advice. Anyone have any experience in these processes? Thanks :w00t:
 

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Good ol' Clarence, Mo ... was thru there a few months back ... stopped in Bevier to take a picture of the locomotive for a friend (he's a decedent of the Bevier family and happens to be one of my competitors in the fire restoration and construction business) ... I have 24 years of experience in restoration and construction ... sold my restoration companies about 5 years ago ... are you asking about cleaning and deodorizing the contents, structure or both? Right of the bat I'd say leave the contents to a professional restoration company. Many of us here can walk you thru cleaning and deodorizing the structure.

Transport Railway Train Locomotive Vehicle
 

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If there was much smoke damage the furniture will have to be pitched, you will never get all the odor out and it will recontaminate the house after it has been cleaned resulting in another insurance claim,most companies will pay for replacement to avoid this!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
RWA, Thanks for your reply, I go though Bevier quite often. In the summer, they have a Homecoming where they have a well known entertainer for free concert. Anyway down to business, I would like to treat everything but the furniture, as I think it should be replaced. They were new and had little depreciation. One thing I need advice on is what to purchase. I don't plan on going in to the business so I don't want to go all out, but I do want it to do the job. I was looking on jondon.com at the electro-gen 2000, but it only take water base products. Then there is a slightly smaller electro-gen that uses both water and solvent based. What do you think?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks House bldr for your response, I agree but the insurance is baulking. They have already droped her policy so they are no longer interested in pleasing her. The fire was contained to a 20 sqft area right through the center of the house, from the basement up the stairs and through the upstairs ceiling to the attic. My plan is to remove all carpet attic insulation, and floor insulation and kilz everything including the attic. The insurance is paying to remove the hard wood flooras there was a few boards damaged up against the wall. She wants to patch it in and refinish it. and use the money somewhere else. Is this a good idea? Will the odor seep out from between the subfloor and hardwood. The sub floor is chared on the basement side. I have advised against it What do you think?
 

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Thanks House bldr for your response, I agree but the insurance is baulking. They have already droped her policy so they are no longer interested in pleasing her. The fire was contained to a 20 sqft area right through the center of the house, from the basement up the stairs and through the upstairs ceiling to the attic. My plan is to remove all carpet attic insulation, and floor insulation and kilz everything including the attic. The insurance is paying to remove the hard wood flooras there was a few boards damaged up against the wall. She wants to patch it in and refinish it. and use the money somewhere else. Is this a good idea? Will the odor seep out from between the subfloor and hardwood. The sub floor is chared on the basement side. I have advised against it What do you think?
Any charred wood MUST be r&r or sandblasted to remove char and sealed,sounds like you would not only have an odor problem but possibly a structural issue by leaving the charred floor not to mention closing the door to any possible legal action against the insurance company if you don't at least fix what they allowed!
 

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Fuller, who's doing your cleanup work? I'm in Atlanta, about 20 miles from Clarence. I know there's 2 fire & water restoration companies in Kirksville. Lewellens & Servpro.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Servpro out of Hannibal, but there are some kind of issues. I'm not sure whats going on but so far I'm the only bidder the insurance and the customer agrees on so I might be doing the clean up as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Any charred wood MUST be r&r or sandblasted to remove char and sealed,sounds like you would not only have an odor problem but possibly a structural issue by leaving the charred floor not to mention closing the door to any possible legal action against the insurance company if you don't at least fix what they allowed!

I agree I told her the only way I would guarentee is if we do it the way the insurance wants to do it.
 

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Servpro out of Hannibal, but there are some kind of issues. I'm not sure whats going on but so far I'm the only bidder the insurance and the customer agrees on so I might be doing the clean up as well.

If you decide not to take on the cleanup & are interested in another company, I know the owners at Lewellens & can put you in contact with them if you'd like. I know they travel to Clarence.
 

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If you decide not to take on the cleanup & are interested in another company, I know the owners at Lewellens & can put you in contact with them if you'd like. I know they travel to Clarence.
They do good work! I can attest to that. Isnt' Lewellens the owner of the servpro franchise also? Or maybe its Servicemaster? Oh well they do good work and can trust what they do.
 

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There is nothing like a controversial fire loss to start the year!

Get comfortable........this is a long one.

This is a long posting for two reasons: 1) I don't like seeing property owners taken advantage of by the carrier, and 2) I don't mind sharing knowledge to help others (in this case..you) to better their career or business.

If I understand your postings, you do not deal with insurance claims on a regular basis. Whether you do or not and only with limited information, I am sharing and/or making recommendations based on 16 years of restoration/adjuster experience.

In bidding the repair part of an insurance claim, I found myself involved in a battle between the cleaners and the insurance adjuster. Bottom line is someone needs to take over the cleaning part of the job and no one wants any part of it. The then two and a half weekold furniture is still in the house and its going on 6 months since the incident. I need the job I'm under contract, and am considering takeing over the cleaning just to get it going. I'm prepared to purchase an ozone gen. and a hot thermal fogger, Just need a little advice. Anyone have any experience in these processes?

Before starting any work, here is some key information that you must have up front and or will need:

1) Homeowner information.
a) Get a work authorization and or preliminary contract to represent the insured and perform all work for mitigation and repairs to restore the property to its pre-loss condition; this is based on insurance agreed scope of work, which may involve mediation, appraisal, litigation and or the insured paying out of pocket.

Do not do any work until all coverage has been determined and who is going to pay for what.

b) Get a copy of the homeowner policy and determine the type of policy (possibly an HO3) and coverage available.
c) Get adjuster and carrier claim # and contact information. Get all copies of correspondence and documentation (estimates, checks, letter of cancellation, carrier/engineer fire report), create an activity log with info gathered from insured from date of loss until your arrival.

2) Vendors on job prior to your arrival.
a) Who performed initial emergency services (board-up, any water extraction or deodorization) or handling of contents? Get all estimates and documentation from insured of their work or charges.
b) Get the fire marshall report.

With this info,

a) Why was policy cancelled?
b) Are prior vendors still on job?
c) Why are you involved in a battle with the cleaners and carriers? Aren't you only bidding the repairs or are you going to act as GC for all aspects of the loss? When you say "cleaners", do you mean for contents or the structure (demo, extraction, dehumidification, deodorization)?
d) Six months after the loss, why are the contents still on site? By now, they should have been photographed and inventoried on site.

Without more info, I would treat the carrier payment and estimate as a preliminary estimate/payment. You now need to prepare a supplement estimate with a notation for a 2nd supplement based on discovery of additional damage after demo.

You will need to prepare estimates for supplemental Emergency Services (deodorization, water extraction, dehumidification), possible Mold Remediation, Demo with P&O, Cleaning, Contents (documentation through inventory of every item with photographs for each item and determination of restore/replace and dispose of or pack out/clean/pack in/storage) and Repairs.

e) You may need a IEP for mold testing. They will do sampling of air quality and hard surface items. You need to know the condition of the home before you start work so as to protect yourself for liability issues of mold. This could cost from $1,500 to $2,500. In addition to the sampling, they will also write a protocol on how to proceed with any remediation or dehumidification.

In the event of a lawsuit, you want to protect both the insured and yourself. An attorney would ask, "How do we know that you didn't contaminate the atmosphere or increase the size of the loss?". Without independent documentation of existing conditions, prior to you working on site, you can't defend yourself. In addition, an IEP report will also show how the carrier let the loss increase, due to either bad faith or delays in processing the claim.
f) You will need an engineer to verify and document the structural integrity of the structure. He will also write a report. This may cost about $1,000.

....I would like to treat everything but the furniture, as I think it should be replaced. They were new and had little depreciation. One thing I need advice on is what to purchase. I don't plan on going in to the business so I don't want to go all out, but I do want it to do the job. I was looking on jondon.com at the electro-gen 2000, but it only take water base products. Then there is a slightly smaller electro-gen that uses both water and solvent based. What do you think?

Because of unknowns with this claim, you, at this point, should not move the contents if you don't have the proper insurance (Bailees Coverage....Coverage for legal liability resulting from damage or destruction of the bailor's property while under the bailee's temporary care, custody, and control). There is the posibility that a lawsuit might develop down the road.

g) Even after 6 months, deodorization is a 3-step process, and you must follow proper protocol to protect yourself in the event of a lawsuit.

h) As for your comment.........I don't plan on going in to the business so I don't want to go all out, but I do want it to do the job.......this is a dangerous position to take on a loss of this type.

During my travels throughout the country, I have met so many "regular" contractors, those who aren't true restoration contractors, state that handling water and fire losses don't seem to be a challenge.......after all, I have been a general contractor for 20 years or whatever.........Wrong Answer! The insurance restoration field is a specialized field. If you do not know what you are doing and try to cut corners, you may find your financial liability more than you bargained for down the road. Especially in a loss of this type, you have to under the entire claims process.

Thanks House bldr for your response, I agree but the insurance is baulking. They have already droped her policy so they are no longer interested in pleasing her.

i) This is where the experience of a restoration contractor comes into play. If they are baulking at the contents costs and have dropped her policy, this is where the information/answers to A-H above is pertinent.

You can't solve the problem until you know what the problems are. Having worked with or for 39 different carriers, I, as a restorer, really don't care what the carrier thinks. In your case, you will need some help. First, you could get the help of the Department of Insurance or Department of Financial Affairs of your state. There is an agency that will assist. Or, you can ask for advice from other restoration contractors. Then, as a last resort, you might hire a Public Adjuster or Attorney. While I am not a big fan of this step, I may be able to help you with further details, but, again, a PA or attorney may be needed.

The fire was contained to a 20 sqft area right through the center of the house, from the basement up the stairs and through the upstairs ceiling to the attic. My plan is to remove all carpet attic insulation, and floor insulation and kilz everything including the attic.

I would not perform any of this steps until coverage has been determined for the entire loss.

The insurance is paying to remove the hard wood flooras there was a few boards damaged up against the wall. She wants to patch it in and refinish it. and use the money somewhere else. Is this a good idea? Will the odor seep out from between the subfloor and hardwood. The sub floor is chared on the basement side. I have advised against it What do you think?

The #1 goal on any insurance loss is make sure that the insured understands the entire loss and how the claims process will proceed. Carriers count on property owners getting tired of delays and "moving on." This saves them millions of dollars in pay outs.

Clarify "....she wants to use the money somewhere else..." She needs to be educated on the extent of her loss, procedures that need to be taken for mitigation and restoration and explain Why?

I always ask the insured, initially and before repairs, if they had any thoughts of changes or upgrades. Once, I am satisfied that all carrier funds have been paid to the insured, I take the comments of the insured and show them how we can move the funds around and give them the "most bang for the buck" with their funds. If there is a mortgage on this home, proper structural repairs are a must. The lender will send an inspector, so that funds can be released.

Deodorization, Extraction, Structural Drying, Dehumidification, and possible Mold Mitigation are all a priority.

I agree with "House bldr".

The customer has to have entire faith in you that you are following all steps to protect her.

You should not remove any structural items (carpet/insulation) until, at least, these items have been sprayed with a counteractant spray (Step 1 of the 3-step process).

All workers should have Tyvek suits and cartridge respirators (employees need to be fit tested). If you are not familiar with this insurance, Commercial Pollution Liability insurance is a must where potential water/mold issues are of concern.

Servpro out of Hannibal, but there are some kind of issues.

What does this mean........some kind of issues????

I'm not sure whats going on but so far I'm the only bidder the insurance and the customer agrees on so I might be doing the clean up as well.

This is for the benefit of you and the insured. Again, this is where the insured needs to understand how the claim process works.

Rule #1: Once I get a signed work authorization, I do not let the adjuster or carrier dictate the Scope of Work. This is the job of the Restorer..........again, a specialized field. If you don't understand how this works, I will help if you want. The insurance carrier cannot tell the homeowner, who to use as a contractor. You only need the blessing of the insured. As long as you can work within industry guidelines, the carrier has no say in who does the work.

It is your job to determine what needs to be done and how.

Closing
1) To say the least, there are many unknowns that need to be determined before proceeding with any work.

I, personally, would collect all information, that I, initially, listed, and develop a game plan. Then, coordinate a game plan with the insured. The insured must be behind you 100%.

Documentation and tons of photos are also a must. There is certain to document this loss for insurance and legal purposes.

If you have a copy of the carrier and emergency service estimates, I would like to see them; maybe even a few photos....front elevation of the home, source of loss, and interior photos showing wide shots of loss, along with smoke/suit damage to various rooms

E-mail me if I can help. I can be reached 24/7 by e-mail or phone (210-823-3864) or fax (1-800-416-3662).
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well let me start by cordialy thanking you guys for all your responses on my thread. You have been very helpfull. Heres the update: Turns out apearently, the customer has been most of the problem. I did the numbers from actual bids by the ectrician, hvac, cleaner, and myself the carpenter, and found that we were about $2000 off from what the insurance was proposing. also the insurance co. didn't want to replace the 2 week old furniture. According to the customer the ins. co. wasn't working with her at all. As I stated before we are completly out off work untill spring so I went to bat for her, spent about 10 min. on the phone with the adjuster and pretty much got her everything she wanted included new furniture. She has yet to return my calls. Some people just can't be pleased. Anyway, thanks again for all the help. After all the research iv'e been doing on this fogging and ozoning, I'm thinking it might be something I can do during down time.
 

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FremontREO:

Thanks.

If anyone needs any help (advice, insurance estimates prepared, contacts in your part of the country) with any type of insurance loss, feel free to contact me 24/7.

All e-mail come to my BB immediately.

For those of you having any issues with new construction and wet framing, I also have contacts, across the country, that can help you dry new framing and provide certification for the owner.

Some of you may want to use this certification as a marketing tool.
 

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fullerbuilt:

It sounds like you have everything under control.....good for you.

Don't hesitiate to contact me, if I can help you with anything regarding this claim.

Also, I must compliment you on taking the time to thank everyone for their posting.

For the last few months, I find some who asks for help, and, after, providing long replies, they never reply.......frustrating.

So, thanks again and good luck.
 
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