Our Director of Operations, Joel Hossli, helps us understand that “Flood” isn’t always what we think it means…
When I first started working in the restoration industry my twin boys (now age 11) asked me, “Dad, what do you really do for work”? My immediate response was to say that we help people when they are in need. That feeling has been a motivation throughout my career with JCR. Why would I share that, and why in this forum? It’s because anything truly worth doing – we do for others.
In our industry we often see good people going through bad times. Between the collaborative efforts of many (Adjusters, Brokers, Property Managers, Firemen, etc…) we hope to help those people get through it. The occurrences that we are unable to help are often the times we can’t forget. I wanted to offer one type of situation that I have seen too often…
We often hear the claims that “My house / building have been flooded; please help!!”. Those of us in this industry should know that the term “flood” can be a tricky word. A “flood” is a general and/or temporary condition where two or more acres of normally dry land OR two or more properties are inundated by water or mudflow. Many conditions can result in this “flood” condition: rains, damaged levees, or clogged drainage systems. Again, why does this matter? If these conditions were better understood, we would be better equipped to help those when in need. Two examples of such:
- Heavy rains affect a neighborhood and several buildings. One of those buildings is a 5-story condominium building (all units are on floors 2-5). As a result, water enters the basement level of the condominium building and affects the entire electrical system. The building is declared uninhabitable for all unit owners. The unit owners then look to their insurance providers for coverage of their “Additional Living Expenses” as a result of having to find a temporary location to live in while the building’s electrical system is restored. All claims are denied due to not having Flood Coverage Endorsements. The question I am asked is – “why would I ever need flood coverage when my unit is on the 3rd floor of a building?”
- A water supply line located under a parking lot breaks and affects garden level units in three different apartment buildings. Each tenant looks to their insurance provider for coverage; claims are denied due to not having Flood Coverage Endorsements. The common response received is “I’m nowhere near a river or lake and I was told I was covered for pipe breaks, but now I’ve lost everything in my home?”
Most of you that may read this are in the position where you can help people in times of need. Many times that help can be found in how we assist people in preparing or evaluating their risks based on our past experiences. In these two situations I felt sick that the people affected did not have better assistance in understanding the risks that could (and did) affect them. Many times this lack of understanding may simply be the result of not being equipped with enough or adequate information. Who would have thought a 4th floor condo owner would need flood coverage? Who would have explained to a friend that they were not protected against certain pipe breaks?
As I first wrote, I hope that I am able to live up to that statement I made to my boys. I hope that I can help others when in need. Sometimes that can be accomplished by just sharing our experiences.
When is a flood truly a flood? The answer may surprise you.
Director of Operations
J.C. Restoration, Inc.