Breezy Indeed…

The 23rd and 24th of February in South Niagara will be a time that is looked back upon with something less than fondness. Heck, the whole of Ontario enjoyed some pretty windy weather those few days!

People all over the province experienced damaging winds, fallen trees, and flying object damage. It is already being referenced as a significant weather catastrophe by the insurance industry. We have seen enormous numbers of claims, and millions of dollars in damage. So what happens after the roof blows off?

The first thing that needs to be done is to report the claim to the insurance company. As an option, you can always report your loss to your broker and get any free advice on offer from them. When you report to the company directly, you’ll want to have your insurance policy number as well as your effective date, as the Claims Representative will need that information to set up the claim in their system.

Once the claim is reported, the real work starts. You should next receive a call from the company adjuster. This individual will typically ask questions to verify the facts of the loss, and to ascertain the extent or severity of your damage. This is a “triage” of sorts, to make sure that those folks in more urgent need of service get it.

Here is the first speed bump: most people feel that their situation requires immediate and complete attention, and when they don’t receive it, they become grumpy. Realistically, if the wind blew a quarter of the shingles from your roof into your neighbor’s yard, that’s pretty bad; but it’s not as bad as having a tree fall down and split your house in two. Obviously, the individual with the split house truly needs attention first!

Next to happen, typically the adjuster will assign a service provider (contractor), who would then send an estimator to attend the scene and complete an estimate. After a storm like we had, many estimators have upwards of 100 estimates to complete! And an estimate could take hours to complete, depending on the complexity of the damage.

Once the estimate gets submitted to the insurance company, in the background, the company will often get a “Control Estimate” from a different contractor to make certain that the first one is accurate and complete. This could also take hours to complete. Of course, it bears mentioning that the contractor preparing the Control Estimate isn’t going to get the job to repair your home, so that Control Estimate would likely fall towards the bottom of the pile.

After the Control Estimate is submitted to the adjuster, the company then calculates the offer to you, the insured. There is often more than one option, based on whether you wish to do the work yourself, hire your own contractor, or go with the contractor who provided the estimate. It should be noted that the insurance company adjuster is likely handling hundreds of claims, and it takes time to get to every one of them.

So you decide to go with the first contractor. Now we just need to get your job scheduled for completion. The date selected will be based on the availability of the work crew, whether the materials are in stock at the lumber yard, availability of sub-trades, etc. It can take a while to get a start date. The rule of thumb after you suffer a loss? Be patient. Ask your broker questions. And most of all, be patient.

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