By Casey Boggess, COO, Texas ReConstruction
As a restoration contractor in North Texas, we’ve seen it all; fire, lightning strikes, hail, tornado, floods, you name it. No one is immune to the issues and there are several things we think building and business owners need to be aware of relating to property losses. We deal with commercial claims often at TRC, and regrettably, there are some common themes we see running through these claims. These issues cause problems for building and business owners alike, prolonging repair work and complicating the claims process. Often times, they can create a relationship of distrust between policyholder, insurance carrier, and general contractor. Remarkably, however, these issues are 100% avoidable with a little bit of information and a periodic review of your insurance policy.
Be careful when you upgrade your building. Making improvements to your property is a beautiful thing. Your business is growing and you need to improve and refine your process to keep pace. It’s critical that building upgrades and modifications are done in such a way that you are not putting your property at future risk.
A customer relocated his HVAC system from the ground to the roof top, but failed to properly shore up the roof framing to support the additional weight. Ultimately, the ceiling collapsed during a rainstorm flooding out the entire property and displacing the retail tenant.
Quickly expanding into more office spaces is great, until old wiring meets new wiring. Get an electrical inspection by a licensed electrician before knocking out walls to create more space, etc. Little projects that may be done on a whim or on a budget may have adverse effects down the road as claims arise
Update your coverage limits to account for recent upgrades. After you’ve made the upgrades to your facility, have them inspected and added to your policy due to an increase in property/business value. You don’t want to have something go wrong (like an HVAC unit crashing through your celling after heavy rains) and be under-insured. Business owners in this situation rarely cite wanting to save money as reasons for skimping on insurance; but rather an oversight in the evaluation of possible mitigation and repair costs.
Have a plan in place. This sounds obvious; however, you’d be surprised how many times we see business owners scrambling to figure out how to get repairs done, while simultaneously keeping operations going. Do you know what you would do if a portion of your building was unusable due to fire, or water damage? Do you have contractors you know that you could call to begin temporary or final repairs, or would you need to frantically search through Google, “interview” contractors and take them on a tour of the damaged facility only to hear, “We can’t do this. Sorry.” Identifying a qualified restoration contractor before the need arises can save you a tremendous amount of time and frustration in the event of a loss.
As your business grows and expands, make sure you are expanding your insurance coverage to match. Furthermore, carefully plan changes and upgrades to your facility to minimize risk of future damage. Finally, make a plan. Determine who you would call in case of emergency damage and what you would do to stay as operational as you can.
The cold hard fact is this: unexpected things happen. That’s why you have insurance. However, a little bit of education and planning can and will go a long way in making the restoration process smooth and timely.
As a client of RHSB you have a Claims Advocate assigned to you to assist you in the event of a loss. Your Team Leader or Account Manager is also available to discuss coverage or review insurance policy with you at any time.