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Customer insurance claims

ShineBrite LLC

Contributing Member
After 5 yrs in business I'm running into my first dealings with insurance companies on customer claims. We recently had a major hail storm that wreaked havoc around my main area of business; golf ball and larger hail that left the ground white into the next evening. I'm having many calls for wood restoration as a result. I dealt with State farm today on a 2350+ sq ft project that had old stain on pt pine. State Farm allowed the customer a whopping 0.70 per sq ft for refinishing. They also poorly undercut the sq footage of the project. They allowed the client $1200 total for the job. I explained that the remainder of the old finish should be removed and went in depth on what my work requires in order for me to warranty the job. The rep said that State Farm does intense research to come to fair settlements and that I was trying to sell unecessary work to the client.
On the bright side, I also dealt with SafeCo insurance today and they had no problem at all with my estimate and wanted to add a gazebo that I initially doubted they would cover.

Sorry for a long post, but just wanted feedback on this experience. I was rather put off with State Farm after this.
 

Ken Fenner

Fuckhead
State Farm is notorious for not paying out. You can fight with the adjuster and win. Their job is to keep expenses down and deny or downplay claims. In the past I have advised my customers to hire a private adjuster. These are hired guns and that's all they do is battle insurance claims adjusters.
 

Terry Miller

New member
Ken,
With insurance company's, is it better to become friends with local agents who could recommend us, or stay away from them? Thank you.
 

Ken Fenner

Fuckhead
Terry, I don't think its a bad idea at all. Its like real estate agents.. you approach 20 of them until you find a gem. Historically though, since it is the adjuster's job to get the cheapest work, you will have to look hard. I find older agents have been around long enough to know cheap = more aggravation.

Now a real good bet is to get in bed with a private adjuster. They are not bound by insurance companies and usually make the homeowner 5-6 times as much as if they dealt with the insurance company directly so they tend to spread the wealth.
 

Terry Miller

New member
Ken,
Could it be a possible conflict if I were to advise using a private adjuster on a home where I am friends with the insurance company? In a small town it could be a problem? Thank you.
 

Mike Schoeben

New member
I've done tons of insurance work on decks and siding. Let your perspective customers know that the insurance money they get / got, isn't the final amount. Do your bid as usual, then have them submit it to their insurance company. Nine times out of ten, they will get the difference, and you'll get the job. I LOVE when it hails!! Hail = $$$:clap:
 

Ken Fenner

Fuckhead
Ken,
Could it be a possible conflict if I were to advise using a private adjuster on a home where I am friends with the insurance company? In a small town it could be a problem? Thank you.

Terry, you definitely know your situation better than I would. I look at it as business and not personal, but not everyone can separate the two.
 

Randy Ketchum

New member
I have got to chime in on this one: My State Farm Claim Experience:
10/07 we had a fire in my 18 year old sons room. We dealt with State Farm on the claim. First they cram 5 of us for what was going to me 2-3 days into a single two Bed Apt at a local hotel--they called it a suite. "No Problem--it's only for 2-3 days and at least we are all alive". Problem--at day 7 we called the adjuster and she said; "you should have said something"...my comment was "she should have known"..next 3 nights we stay in a beautiful 3 bedroom suite in the same hotel..lesson learned: Hold their feet to the fire. Now the kicker..6 months later finished basement sewer back-up. The challenge-hardwood floor replacement. Tried suggesting Ceramic vs. wood replacement. It would have cost me $3000 because the 'replacement cost' for the wood (State Farm report said they pay $x per square foot.) We open the policy and it says..'like or similiar' They wanted me to agree to similiar...I decided I wanted "like" and found the source of the original floor...that was it they paid for all of it and cost them an additional $5,000 (they could have saved $2,000 if they had opted for ceramic and would have reduced their Liability--stupid)-

Did you finish the deck previously...if so get an invoice to the homeowner or if you didn't do the deck before copy an invoice or two of 'like' decks provide to the home owner have them give it to the insurance company. Would buidling a relationship with the adjuster be of benefit to your business? My thoughts and good luck, I hope the Homeowner has a spine!
 

ShineBrite LLC

Contributing Member
I appreciate the responses here. This hail storm was rare here and was like none seen in many many years. I've given estimates to 9 home owners with claims and so far have only dealt with two insurance companies directly, State Farm and SafeCo (sp?). On the phone for about 30 minutes with State Farm, put on hold four times. I offered to meet with an adjuster. They basically brushed me off. Oh well, we won't starve. It's apparent that they lack real world information from pros in this industry. Another reason to be a member of the UAMCC. I wonder if we have anything going on that might influence this in the future?
 
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