An Intro to Hurricane Insurance Claims for Home & Business Owners


Hurricane Town Hall: Attorney Mark Nation answers questions from home and business owners regarding hurricane insurance claims.

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0:02 - I'm very mindful of your time 0:04 and I know that a lot of you probably have questions 0:06 and I want to get to those questions. 0:09 I wanna go a little bit, speak briefly about 0:13 my experience, tell ya a couple things that 0:16 are real important for me to get the information 0:21 that I want to get to you. 0:22 There are two points that I want to make, 0:25 and then talk a little bit about the type of cases 0:29 that I can help with and then we'll get to your questions, 0:33 and so experience wise, I've been doing, 0:37 I've been practicing law for 27 years 0:39 and I help policy holders with claims against 0:43 their own insurance companies, 0:45 and I've done literally thousands of cases 0:50 on behalf of policy holders in the state of Florida. 0:55 From Andrew, Charley, Francis, Jean, Ivan, Wilma, 1:01 Dennis, Matthew, Erma, and others. 1:05 (audience member mumbling) huh? 1:06 - Wilma. - And Wilma! 1:08 October 25th, how could I forget Wilma. 1:13 So I'm very passionate about what I do, 1:17 and that is helping policy holders 1:19 in claims with their insurance companies. 1:21 There is nothing we pay more for 1:23 and have less of an understanding of than insurance. 1:28 You pay your premium, you get this thick document 1:32 your insurance policy and I pick juries all over the state 1:36 when I'm trying these cases, and I ask, how many of you 1:40 have gotten that policy and you said, you know what, 1:42 I'm a conscientious home owner, I care about my family 1:45 I better read things thing, raise your, yeah, nobody. 1:49 You turn around, you put it in a drawer, 1:52 that's what everybody does. 1:53 I've represented insurance adjusters, 1:56 and that's what they do, and so that's not uncommon. 2:02 But then a claim occurs, and then you think 2:07 well is it covered or not, you call the insurance company, 2:09 the insurance company might say no. 2:13 I can tell you this, if your insurance company says no, 2:16 is low, or slow that's a good case for me to take a look at. 2:21 If the insurance company is doing the right thing 2:25 I'll tell ya, but if they're not doing the right thing 2:28 I'll tell ya that too. 2:30 Either way you owe it to yourself 2:32 and your family to have peace of mind 2:36 and so back to the experience. 2:38 Thousands, literally tens of thousands of home owners 2:41 and business owners against insurance companies. 2:46 I try those cases, on behalf of our firms, 2:51 I am called in from other lawyers throughout the state 2:54 to help them try those cases, 2:56 that they have against insurance companies. 2:59 'cause one of the things I'm passionate about 3:02 is making sure that the insurance companies pay 3:06 what they're obligated to pay, 3:07 not more, but just what they're obligated to pay. 3:12 The other thing I'm passionate about is making sure, 3:15 that you're well taken care of, 3:18 and there are some lawyers, 3:20 and I tell ya, if you're hiring a lawyer ask 'em, 3:22 when's the last time you tried a case 3:24 in front of a jury concerning this type of issue? 3:26 And if they say anything other than giving you a date 3:29 and a time you may wanna question that. 3:31 My last trial on a homeowner's insurance case, 3:35 was in Stuart four weeks ago, 3:38 30 minutes into jury deliberation, 3:39 the jury sent out two questions. 3:41 Can we give more money than Mr. Nation asked for? 3:43 And if so is there a cap on how much we can give? 3:48 Two months before that I was in front of a jury 3:50 in Dade County on a homeowner's case, 17 minutes in verdict. 3:55 I try these cases, I know what juries think 3:58 about these cases and I try 'em all over the state. 4:01 My office is in Central Florida, takes me about an hour 4:03 and 15 minutes to get here by plane, 4:06 I'm here because I'm passionate about helping you 4:09 and your home and your friends 4:10 and your neighbors who have these types of claims. 4:13 I told you there were two points that I wanted 4:14 to make and if I could only make these two points to people, 4:18 I've accomplished what I've come down here for. 4:22 Point number one, if your insurance company denies, 4:25 or low balls the claim do not get intimidated. 4:30 Even if you, it comes with a long 4:32 and complicated report from an engineering firm 4:35 that literally may be 100 pages long, literally. 4:40 My clients often get these denial letters 4:43 and they read it and they do, oh, 4:46 well I didn't know that was in there, 4:48 and I don't even know what that means, 4:50 and then there's a report attached 4:52 from some engineering firm that can be 50 to 100 pages long 4:57 and you start flipping through that thing. 4:58 It's got a binder on it, looks like a book 5:01 and you go nothing I can do, there's nothing I can do. 5:08 That's the case I'm looking for, the one that you think 5:12 there is nothing that can be done. 5:15 I cannot tell ya how many times I get 5:17 that engineering report from the insurance company 5:19 and their denial letter, and those end up being 5:23 the center pieces of my case to win 5:28 on behalf of the policy holder. 5:30 Point number one do not get intimidated! 5:32 I don't care what that letter says, 5:37 I don't care what the report says, 5:39 let me look at it for free. 5:42 I will look at it, if they're doing the right thing, 5:45 I'll tell ya, if they're not, I'll tell ya that too 5:50 and you owe it to yourself to have that peace of mind. 5:53 There are things in those letters, 5:55 I've had insurance companies quote parts of an exclusion, 6:00 they'll say we do not repair, you got a 28 year old 6:03 three tab shingle roof on your house. 6:06 Before the storm, it didn't leaking, 6:08 and then you get an engineer out there 6:10 and there's a section the engineer says it's wear 6:13 and tear and old age and right there they quote 6:16 the wear and tear exclusion, I've won cases like that, 6:22 time and again hundreds of times. 6:25 Don't get intimidated, let me look at it. 6:27 They may say it's flood, and you don't have flood coverage. 6:31 Let me look at it I just got paid policy limits 6:34 for a case on a Matthew claim where the insurance company 6:37 said it's flood, I went in and proved, it was wind. 6:41 My engineers and I went out and we picked that house apart 6:46 and I would say from the foundation to the roof 6:48 but that would be untrue because we went 10 feet below 6:50 the surface and started examining it from there up, 6:54 and we knew that it wasn't flood, it was wind. 7:00 So let me look at that for free, 7:02 don't let it keep ya up at night 7:03 going well there's nothing I can do. 7:06 But the other thing the second point is, 7:09 and, I never ask for money from you. 7:14 You don't have to bring your check book 7:15 or your credit card leave it at home. 7:17 In almost every one of my cases, if I'm successful 7:21 in making a recovery for ya, the insurance company 7:23 has to pay my fees and costs, 7:24 and if I lose I'll work for free. 7:28 That's a pretty good deal, 7:30 give it, let me look at it for free 7:33 and I'll tell ya if they're right or wrong. 7:34 If they're wrong and we make a recovery then in almost 7:37 every case, where I make a recovery they have to pay 7:40 my fees and costs, if I lose I work for free. 7:43 The only time that's a little different 7:44 is sometimes they offer a lump sum settlement 7:48 and it's a contingent fee then, 7:49 just a percentage, regardless you don't owe me anything, 7:53 if I lose, and you don't need to worry about whether or not, 7:57 or how I'm gonna pay the cost. 7:59 In these cases I have a team that I hire. 8:02 I have a meteorologist, a forensic meteorologist, 8:04 I bring in to talk about the weather. 8:07 I bring, I have a certified roofer, 8:10 I've got a general contractor, we've got a general, 8:12 building contractor or general, 8:14 yeah general contractor over here, I've got the team 8:18 to be able to put this thing together. 8:20 I've got geotechnical engineers, 8:22 structural engineers, hydrodynamic engineers 8:25 whatever we need to win that case. 8:28 Alright those are my two points, don't get intimidated 8:30 and don't bring your check book, 8:33 and then the final thing is, the cases that I handle 8:40 let me go back to my first point 'cause here's my concern. 8:43 Somebody is gonna get a report, 8:46 and they're gonna say to themselves, 8:47 even though they've heard me say this. 8:50 They're gonna say, well I know he said that, 8:54 but he can't be talking about, this is just too solid, 8:56 there's nothing that can be done about this. 9:01 I am talking to you. 9:03 And I am telling you I don't care what the report says 9:06 don't evaluate it on your own, let me do it, 9:11 and so don't ever think, well know he can't be talking 9:14 about me because this is just too foolproof. 9:19 Let me look at it alright, those are my two points. 9:22 Now the types of cases are any type of damage 9:27 to your home or building or your boat house 9:31 your dock, anything from wind, from flying debris 9:38 from water that's not all I do. 9:42 I do fire cases, where, any time your insurance company 9:44 says no, is low, or slow is a good case 9:47 and I don't care if it's a shingle roof, a slate roof, 9:50 barrel tile roof, I don't care if it's cracks in the wall, 9:53 I don't care if it's mold in the house. 9:55 I don't care if the toilet backs up. 9:57 I don't care if the lift station went out 9:59 and you're the last house on the row 10:01 and then all the sewage pumps into your house, 10:04 I've had 'em all I don't care what it is. 10:08 Anything that can damage a building, 10:10 I have not had a meteorite yet, 10:12 but I am waiting for it. (audience laughing) 10:13 Anything that can damage a building, 10:15 I pretty much have handled, 10:17 and so that's one case where you got damage 10:22 and your insurance company says no, 10:24 it's a good case let me look at it. 10:26 Second, you got a roof, it is, let's say it is a 28 year old 10:30 three tab shingle roof, might not be pretty 10:33 but it was keeping the water out. 10:37 The wind came in, now, you don't even have any leaks 10:43 on the interior leaks on the interior roof of your house 10:46 but a roofer's gone up and said the sealant strip 10:48 underneath the shingle, and you do have a sealant strip 10:51 underneath your shingle has lifted up. 10:55 Your shingles, you aren't missing one shingle, 10:58 but now it's sat back down on the other shingles 11:01 but that sealant strip has been broken 11:03 and it'll never reseal, that's a good case 11:06 for me to take a look at. 11:07 Your insurance company says nope, it's 28 years old 11:11 any problems you got are wear and tear, deterioration. 11:14 We're not buying it we're not paying, 11:16 that's a good case for me to take a look at. 11:18 Or your insurance company says, alright we'll give you, 11:22 you do have damage but you don't need your roof replaced 11:25 well give you $2,500 it's less than your deductible 11:28 that's a good case for me to look at. 11:30 There's a rule in Florida, they gotta match, 11:33 you can't just fix shingles you gotta match 'em, 11:36 and so you can't spot repair 'em you have to match 'em 11:40 by statute, it's not in your policy. 11:43 They'll never tell you about it but it is in the statute. 11:46 There's a 25% rule that says if 25% of the section 11:50 of a roof has to be repaired or replaced, 11:52 they gotta do the whole thing. 11:54 They're not gonna tell ya that. 11:55 So, if they say, and a roofer says 11:59 need to replace it and an insurance company says 12:01 no we'll give you $2,500 let me look at it. 12:05 I've tried those cases many many times. 12:08 If they say, interior damage, is covered 12:13 but the roof's not good case let me take a look at it. 12:16 You say the roof's $15,000 to replace, 12:18 they say it's $12,000 let me take a look at it. 12:21 'Cause if they say no, if they're low, or slow, 12:24 that's a good case for me and the final one is, 12:27 and I know this has happened a lot. 12:29 People have submitted the claim, either an adjuster has not 12:32 come out or they adjuster's come out and disappeared. 12:35 Dropped off the face of the earth 12:36 and you haven't heard anything. 12:38 The insurance company by statute has 90 days 12:41 to pay or deny your claim. 12:42 Now in the infinite wisdom of our legislator, 12:45 not this one sitting here, our former legislator, 12:48 but in the infinite wisdom of our legislature 12:50 I'll bet he fought this one. 12:51 It says 90 days to pay or deny, guess what the last 12:55 sentence of that statute says, however the failure 12:58 to pay or deny within 90 days shall not form 13:00 the basis of a law suit, not a lot of teeth in that one. 13:03 But I can work with it. 13:07 Any time they say no, are low, 13:09 or slow that's a good case for me to take a look at.