Water Loss Claims

Building owners suffer a huge number of residential and commercial water losses every year. Many result in disputed insurance claims because insurance policies attempt through fine print and tortuous wording to restrict coverage for water damage to several narrowly defined events, such as burst water pipes.

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During this time of trauma, if the insurance company acknowledges coverage for the loss, then insurance adjusters pepper the owner with questions that are unanswerable (“When did you buy the living room coffee table?”). They demand receipts for furnishings that were never kept.

They urge you to sign contracts with “cleaning services” without telling you of astronomical charges that eat into your coverage. They do not tell you that “cleaning services” rarely succeed in cleaning heavily damaged furnishings that should be discarded and replaced in the first instance. They do not tell you that the “cleaning services” rarely succeed in cleaning heavily damaged furnishings that should be discarded and replaced in the first instance. They present remodeling contractors who are “preferred providers” who owe their livelihood and their allegiance to the insurance industry. These providers have the incentive to complete their work at the least possible expense to the insurance company.

Finally, the insurance company adjuster (whose employer wrote the insurance contract and seeks to minimize any payout) tells you what benefits are provided and in what amount. The adjustment of your loss may vary by several hundred thousand dollars — depending on whether you take the adjuster’s word for it, or hire an independent advocate who represents your interest under the policy exclusively.

I am a university professor and collector of rare books. Books are the furniture of my life. Because I have taught in many parts of the world, I have placed my extensive library in storage in Portland. My books were severely damaged when the storage facility suffered a water intrusion. The insurance company vigorously disputed the value of my books. Thankfully, Bob took the case on a contingent fee, and obtained an outstanding recovery that allowed me to replace my library.
— Saul Benjamin
When a pipe burst in our new home, we didn’t know exactly who to call. Shenker & Bonaparte really straightened things out and helped us navigate the system to get us back on track to where we now are living safe and sound in our home.
— Dave Winchester & Claudia Gallison