Part of this topic was addressed a few years ago. Here is a needed update with a recent experience of a client I had performed an inspection for. I had advised the client to file an insurance claim for an area of damage to their kitchen. A leak detection company was sent out by the insurance company to verify what was leaking in the kitchen. Before this took place the owner had a water mitigation company submit a price for needed mold remediation that I had recommended. There was some disagreement by the ‘leak detection vendor’ that the insurance company sent out versus the scope and cost for mold remediation that was submitted to the insurance adjuster.
It is important to remember that one major disadvantage of a vendor sent by the insurance company is that the vendor has to follow the rules or direction the insurance company sets for them. There is a lot of ‘private communication’ between the vendor and the insurance adjuster that is not disclosed to the homeowner or client. It can be likened to letting the “fox guard the hen house”. Insurance companies want to save money and depending on the adjuster and company they may say contactor A or B recommends a course of action which the adjuster supports since it will save the company money but not necessarily do what is actually needed for the home or client.
There is also the problem of having the Correct professional make the needed recommendations. Insurance adjusters don’t have all the qualifications to do this so they bring in other professionals for this reason. In addition, many times the adjusters don’t always know they need another professional in the mix to give unbiased recommendations such as a Certified Microbial Consultant that will normally recommend more work than what the insurance wants to pay for.
Home owners like to save money too and like it when the insurance adjuster sends out one of their vendors since it does not cost the homeowner anything initially to inspect. However, depending on the situation it can cost the owner a lot in various ways such as not doing the needed work to keep the family safe from mold and bacteria, which happens more times than you care to know. Or doing repairs properly due to the potential cost of doing it the correct way.
Keep in mind that by state law that the home owner decides who does work on their property even if it is paid for by insurance. The insurance has no authority of does what work on your property unless you give it to them. So, while it is nice and convenient to let the adjuster send out one of their approved vendors you cannot be assured you are getting the work you need with total certainty. Where can you go to get the professionals, you need to give an unbiased recommendation for work that needs to be done?
One way is to use Certified Professionals, that are not an approved vendor for your particular insurance company whom you will contract and hire directly for which the insurance company will reimburse you or send payment on a covered claim. When it comes to water damage with moisture and potential mold/bacteria issues I recommend choosing a Certified Microbial Consultant (CMC), like myself or Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) to evaluate your home when you have a water damage situation. You need to also choose a restoration company (again not from your insurance company) to follow the recommendations of the Microbial Consultant or Industrial Hygienist that evaluated/inspected your home. The CMC or CIH are the top certified professionals to evaluate water damage and potential mold situations which cannot be ignored by the insurance adjuster and have higher credentials than any restoration company the insurance company may have on its vendor program. Doing this ensures that you get unbiased recommendations of what should actually be done and by law the insurance company has to work with the professionals you choose for those covered expenses on the insurance claim. I say covered expenses as these can vary with each company and policy.
Steve Mullins (i.e. Mold Detector)
CMC, Certified Microbial Consulant
Moisture and Mold Detection, Inc.