Two category 5 hurricanes, Hurricanes Irma and Maria, struck various islands in the Caribbean during the fall of 2017, laying devastation to significant parts of many of those islands. One of the islands so devastated was St. Thomas, USVI. And one of the properties significantly damaged was Mahogany Run Condominiums.
Adjusting a significant loss (or any loss) in the Caribbean islands carries with it particular challenges, such as difficult access to the islands, primitive living conditions during the adjustment, the limited number of carrier or independent adjusters located locally, the particular pricing of labor and materials on each island due to the local scarcity of both, the particular insurance adjusting laws in force at the time of the hurricane or promulgated in response to the hurricane, and the out of pocket costs incurred by an adjusting firm in managing a loss in the islands. In short, there are very few public adjusting firms in the Western Hemisphere qualified and substantial enough to effectively and professionally adjust such island loss claims.
Recognizing all of those challenges, the Mahogany Run Condo Board elected to retain Alex N. Sill Company, North America’s leading public adjusting firm, to assist with the adjustment of their very major claim following the hurricanes, based upon Sill’s long historical experience in handling hurricane claims in the Caribbean and the Bahamas. Sill responded by chartering private flights for its adjusting and estimating professionals so that they could gain access to St. Thomas immediately following the hurricanes’ strikes in order to provide immediate response to its island clients. That proactivity provided Sill with a headstart on its adjusting activities, ultimately allowing Sill to quickly settle the Mahogany Run Condo claim for a mid-eight figure amount, to the high satisfaction of the Board, allowing the Board to timely begin the process of rebuilding!
As written by Angela Callwood, General Manager of the Mahogany Run Condominium Association:
“This team…was professional and aggressive and worked hard to deliver the highest possible settlement for the Mahogany Run Condo Association. We found the [Sill] team to be always readily available to meet us…[Sill] went above and beyond and even assisted after the claim was settled.”
Angela Callwood, General Manager
With over 45 years in the real estate business, Axiom Properties manages thousands of multi-family properties in the Midwest. So, when one of their properties, Willow Creek Apartments in Portage, Indiana, suffered damage due to a storm, they recognized the assistance that a skilled and experienced public adjuster like the Alex N. Sill Company could bring. Sill, being the nation’s leading loss consultant and public adjuster, brings 85+ years of handling and adjusting first party insurance losses to an insurance claim. Led by former insurance company adjusters, Sill boasts a team of building experts, contents estimators, certified forensic accountants, and an attorney. Utilizing its full cadre of in house experts, Sill turned around a loss claim that was seemingly headed nowhere and successfully brought it to settlement. As stated by Logan Johnson, Regional Manager for Axiom Properties:
“I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your hard work and willingness to go the extra mile for us. Recently I had the pleasure of working with the Alex N. Sill Company to assist with a large insurance claim for one of our properties. Throughout the entire process you and everyone else with your company were as helpful and thorough as possible. In the end, through your diligent work, we were able to overcome the insurance company’s resistance and collect a much higher settlement amount than initially offered. I will also be recommending the Alex N. Sill Company to others in the industry as you have set the bar for professionalism and customer service.” [emphasis added]
Logan Johnson, Regional Manager
Super Storm Sandy is recognized for the havoc created up and down the east coast, especially along the New York and New Jersey shorelines. Unbeknownst to many, however, Sandy also caused meaningful damage along the shores of Lake Erie, affectionately regarded by Clevelanders as the “North Coast.”
Burton Carol, owner and manager of an extensive portfolio of apartment buildings, suffered significant damage to several of its high rise apartment buildings when the winds of Sandy swept over Lake Erie. Having had a pre-existing relationship with Alex N. Sill Company, the nation’s leading public insurance claims adjuster and loss consultant, Burton Carol immediately reached out to Sill to help with its building and business interruption insurance claims. Sill, utilizing its in-house staff of former insurance company adjusters, building appraisers and forensic accountants, set to work putting loss estimates together on the multiple properties. Sill’s efforts resulted in significant recoveries by Burton Carol on all of its damaged properties.
Said Joy Anzalone, Burton Carol’s Chief Operating Officer, about Sill’s contribution and adjustment:
“For almost 20 years, we have been a client of the Alex N. Sill Company for any large loss we may incur. I can [say] without hesitation that we would never have been able to achieve the successful level of repairs and replacements without their expertise in not only working with our insurance carrier but in helping identify issues that may not be readily seen . . . [Emphasis added.]
“Sadly when a fire occurs, not all of the damage is visible . . . but they have the most professional team of experts that respond immediately and basically hold your hand through the long and arduous process of trying to get an insurance company to do what we pay our premiums for them to do. There is no way that going it alone without the Alex N. Sill Company would net us the same recoupment dollars they achieve for us . . . The Alex N. Sill Company deserves their fee every step of the way in our eyes!”
Joy Anzalone, Chief Operating Officer
It is something different every day in the public insurance claims adjusting business. In the dead of a recent winter, a vehicle skidded on ice and struck a fire hydrant outside the Marion Centre Mall in Marion, Ohio. The force of the accident caused a pipe to burst in the mall, resulting in four to six inches of water covering half of the 527,000 square foot mall, anchored by Sears and Elder Beerman department stores and accompanied by such other recognizable national brand retailers such as GNC and Bath & Body Works.
After attempting to adjust its loss, but failing to be satisfied by the insurance company’s response and offer, the New York based owner and management company of the mall was referred to the Alex N. Sill Company, a leading public insurance claims adjuster and loss consultant. Sill’s staff of former insurance company adjusters, building appraisers, contents estimators and forensic accountants immediately stepped in to put together loss estimates on all the facets of the claim. Sill’s work resulted in a successful seven figure recovery that was significantly higher than previously offered by the insurance company.
One of the mall owner’s partners had this to say about Sill’s work:
“Throughout the handling of this, you have been there to answer our questions and to help guide us through this devastating event. After our mall was damaged by a substantial water loss . . . we retained Sill Adjustment Company to assist us with our insurance claim. That turned out to be one of the best decisions we made. When the insurance company wanted to move in directions not beneficial to the mall, the Sill Company was there to guide us and help us negotiate. They led the entire adjustment process, from generating the claim figures to securing the payment. Their attention to detail in both the building claim and the contents claim proved invaluable when claim negotiations began with the insurance company. Without reservations, in the unfortunate event of another loss experienced by the Marion Centre Mall, we would most certainly call on the Alex N. Sill Company again.”
Daniel Ghalchi, Partner
Arbor Properties, the owner/manager of a significant real estate portfolio consisting of luxury multi-family housing developments throughout the southeastern United States, suffered fires to two separate apartment properties in two different states — Tallahassee, Florida and D’Iberville (Biloxi), Mississippi — within a two month span. Arbor, recognizing its plate already was full with the range of responsibilities associated with overseeing its extensive portfolio and contending with typical daily operations, chose to consolidate handling of the two insurance claims with one national firm.
Arbor retained Alex N. Sill Company, the nation’s leading public insurance claims adjuster and loss consultant, based on the depth and strength of its in house adjusting and estimating experts experienced with providing coverage and service throughout the entire United States. Sill immediately mobilized its team of professional adjusters, building estimators and legal counsel to both critically and objectively assess the extensive damages at both properties and then respond with in-depth, line by line loss appraisal estimates. Sill further acted as an advocate, representing Arbor before the insurer when articulating its position on the policy interpretation and during the course of eventual resolution.
Sill’s combination of experience, understanding, determination and decades of respect within the insurance industry was a key factor in working through complicated policy language. Sill was instrumental in aiding Arbor to work through a twist in the policy language which presented an obstacle to receiving full recovery. Sill, however, untangled the issue to the benefit of the insured and thus enabled settlements at full policy limits on both losses in excess $1.5 million.
As stated by Gordon Thames, President of Arbor Properties:
“Thank you and the Sill team for the great job you did in assisting us with two recent large fire losses that occurred at two luxury apartment communities we own and operate in Tallahassee, Florida and Biloxi, Mississippi. After surveying the large fire losses, I knew that having a qualified public adjuster like Sill Company to help adjust and press our insurance claim was going to be vital to achieving a fair resolution.
“Without Sill’s expertise and advice, we would have been much more likely to have just gone along with what the carriers’ adjusters initially asserted the carriers’ owed, which would have easily cost us over $250,000. My strong advice to any property owner dealing with a large loss and major insurance claim is to enlist the assistance of a high quality public adjusting firm like Sill Co. to bring much needed claims expertise and representation to help procure a fast and reasonable insurance claim adjustment. . . Sill can help level the playing field.”
Gordon Thames, President
The adage that “improbable events happen all the time” was never more true than in the case of one of suburban Cleveland, Ohio’s most prestigious apartments, Sherri Park Apartments. The property includes two beautiful multi-floor apartment buildings. Within a six month period, one of the buildings suffered significant damage from a gas explosion and resulting fire while the second building suffered serious damage when it was caught in the path of the winds of Hurricane Sandy that swept across Lake Erie.
After consulting with its long time law firm, Baker Hostetler, the insured retained the Alex N. Sill Company, the nation’s leading public insurance claims adjuster and loss consultant, to prepare building damage and loss of income calculations and adjust both claims on its behalf. Sill’s team, composed of a former insurance company adjuster, a 40-plus year building appraiser and estimator and a seasoned forensic accountant was dramatically successful in its representation of the insured. Their efforts resulted in settlements on the two losses in excess of $10 million.
Sill’s work was lauded by the insured’s Chief Financial Officer, who commented below:
“I would like to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to Alex N. Sill Company . . . for your assistance with the claims process following these losses. Both losses were multi-million claims. Without the expertise of the Sill Company, navigating through the complexities of settling such large claims would have been extremely difficult. Your team was always responsive and looked for creative ways to ensure the best possible result for us . . .
“I would recommend, without hesitation, Alex N. Sill Company to those that have suffered a loss and require the service of a public adjuster.”
Michael T. Holowaty, Chief Financial Officer
A national developer of multi-family apartment units suffered a major fire loss to one of its apartment buildings in Avon Lake, Ohio. The apartment owner retained the Alex N. Sill Company, nationally-recognized public insurance claims adjusters and loss consultant headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, to help estimate the damages and adjust the loss for building, contents and business income loss.
The result was a highly successful settlement with the insurance company, as stated by Phil Philippou.
“I wanted to . . . compliment you and your staff on a job well done with respect to the fire I experienced . . . The loss was well over $2 million and involved complex construction and financial issues. The insurance company was difficult to deal with . . . [Your] team navigated me through the maze of roadblocks that the insurance company [threw] at us, and . . . succeeded in making us whole . . . our company was well represented by Alex N. Sill Co.”
Phillip Philippou, Principal
This story is all too familiar for an insured incurring hailstorm damage. Castleton Manor Apartments in Indianapolis, Indiana, found itself in an “insurance adjusting nightmare” better known as “Insurance Catch-22” when several of its apartment buildings suffered damage to roofs due to a hailstorm.
Consider the facts: Several years earlier, Castleton suffered damage to the roofs as a result of a hailstorm. The insurance company retained an independent adjuster, which retained an engineer, which issued a report that stated that the damage to the roofs as a result of the hailstorm was not enough to warrant roof replacement and the carrier would only pay for downspouts and gutters.
A couple of years later, Castleton again was hit by a hailstorm. This time the insured hired an independent adjuster which hired an engineer which reported that the insurance company did not have to reimburse the insured for this loss, because the damage was caused by a previous storm!
So, here was an insured that had its previous claim limited for insufficient damage and the current claim denied as a result of the damage being caused from a previous loss that was limited. Sounds like “Catch-22?”
In a quandary, the insured retained the Alex N. Sill Company, the nation’s leading public insurance claims adjusting firm and loss consultant with offices, among other places, in Indianapolis. Sill’s expert claims adjuster re-educated the carrier so that it understood that there was liability on its part . . . either for the first loss or the second. The result: a significant insurance recovery allowing the insured to replace the roofs.
As stated by the Executive Vice President of Equity Property Management (owners of the Castleton Apartments):
“When faced with extensive damage to the majority of our roofs at one Indianapolis location we were rebuffed by the insurance carrier, their adjusters and engineering consultants following two distinct yet successive claims for damages to the same roofs. Without Alex N. Sill Company’s assistance, and in particular the work of your Executive General Adjuster, we would not have successfully resolved the claim and obtained a settlement in an amount that allowed EPM to make the repairs in a proper manner.”
Kevin J. Donohoe, Executive Vice President
Tragically, many insureds have never heard of the business of public adjusting or the experience, skill and services public insurance claims adjusters provide that can aid and improve an insurance recovery.
That is precisely what Stuart Krantz, President of Krantz Management, a Cleveland, Ohio based real estate management firm, came to learn during two recent insurance losses, including one which resulted in an increase of nearly 300% due to Sill’s work.
As so often happens, after going a very long time without any claims, Krantz Management was hit by two sequential losses to two different properties from two different causes. First, the company suffered a fire to one of its apartment buildings. Next, Hurricane Sandy’s winds swept across Lake Erie and lifted a roof on another of its apartment buildings along the Gold Coast of Lakewood, Ohio.
In both cases, Alex N. Sill Company sent its expert team of adjusters, building loss estimators and certified public accountants to document and present Krantz’s fair claim for damages to the two separate insurance companies. In both instances, Sill’s work resulted in significantly greater recoveries than the two carriers had presented Krantz during the initial estimates.
As provided by Stuart Krantz:
“My family real estate management company recently had cause to retain Alex N. Sill Company on 2 separate losses . . . We had never heard of the Sill Company, had no plans to use them, and weren’t even aware that there were companies like Sill out there. Our insurance company, State Farm, said the damage was somewhat limited and to just a small area of the building and offered us $75,000 to settle the damages. I then learned about the Sill Company, hired you, and you ultimately settled the loss for approximately $200,000 more than State Farm’s offer! We . . . would have been lucky to get ½ of the recovery that Sill got for us.
“I will not hesitate to hire Sill again. They were excellent in communicating, returning calls, and taking the reins throughout the entire adjusting process.”
Stuart Krantz, President
Hurricane Matthew swept through a very narrow path that included the Bahamas and parts of the eastern seaboard of Florida, including the Daytona Beach area, in the fall of 2016. With experience handling significant international insurance claims (including non-domestic policies with language that is literally, foreign to American adjusters), the Alex N. Sill Company was called to the Bahamas to assist in the property damage claim adjustment for numerous insureds. One such insured, the Marlborough Building, located in Freeport, Grand Bahama, had its roof almost entirely destroyed due to the strong winds and ensuing rains.
Recognizing that their expertise was not in valuing damages to building and putting together an insurance claim, within days of the hurricane damage, the Marlborough principals retained the Sill Company to “step into its shoes” and handle the claim for them. Despite the international language contained in their policy, and despite working with an adjuster whose home base was not the United States, utilizing its in-house adjuster and building estimator with experience in the Islands, Sill was able to achieve a very quick and beneficial settlement for the insured. As stated by Steve Raad, Managing Director of The Marlborough Building:
“We knew we had insurance, but our immediate concern was being able to negotiate with the Insurance Company to obtain a fair and equitable assessment…We can say without a doubt that the Alex N. Sill Company team…[was] very helpful and professional, and acted in our best interest. They managed the difficult process of negotiating with the Insurance Company to our great satisfaction. Thank you Alex Sill Company for a job well done.”
Steve A. Raad, Managing Director
As North America’s leading public insurance adjuster and loss consultant, we enjoy being the guys wearing the “white hats”. And once again, the Alex N. Sill Company was able to ride to the rescue, when an Illinois woman, who had purchased an older schoolhouse in Poy Sippi, Wisconsin, at a deep discount, for conversion and investment purposes, received serious push back from her insurance company following an overwhelming fire. This “push back” was in addition to a slight language barrier issue that the insured had, as a result of English not being her original primary language.
First, her insurance claimed that the fire was “set”, and held her as a possible suspect in the alleged arson. As a result, she turned to the Sill Company for help, recognizing that attempting to adjust a loss in another state would be next to impossible, especially one that had as many hurdles to jump as this loss did.
Once retained, Sill Adjusting helped overcome the issue of the alleged insured arson. Next, the insured was faced with an issue regrading vacancy and occupancy. Again, Sill successfully countered the insurance company’s “vacancy allegation”, with the defense that the building was under lease to a tenant, and therefore, not “vacant”.
Then, utilizing its team of adjusters, building appraisers and forensic accountants, Sill went to work appraising the damage to the structure as a result of the fire, smoke and resulting water damage. In relatively short shrift, Sill was able to direct the adjustment in favor of the insured and obtained a remarkably positive loss settlement of nearly seven figures with the insurance carrier.
As stated by the building owner, Hong Nguyen:
“The morning of the fire I was completely overwhelmed with not only the emotional aspect of losing my plant but also needing to deal with reporters, local police and investigators. I knew I was going to need an experienced insurance adjuster to understand the complexity of my situation and the major damage to my building. I hired The Alex N. Sill Co., to represent me. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made…The Alex N. Sill Company fought in negotiations for me and in the end was able to obtain a very fair settlement…It was truly a pleasure working with [Sill] throughout this entire process and would highly recommend your company with complete confidence.
Hong Nguyen, Owner
Hurricanes Irma and Maria laid waste to selected Caribbean islands last fall. The US Virgin Island islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix sustained significant damage in selected areas, as did the islands of St. Maarten and Puerto Rico.
Handling property losses on hurricane ravaged islands involves significant and different challenges than those on domestic losses. Travel to the islands during the winding down of a hurricane can be hazardous, and is accompanied by a lack of creature comforts, such as adequate housing, food, water and electricity. Fortunately for our insured clients, the Alex N. Sill Company, North America’s premier Public Claims Insurance Adjusting company, has years of experience managing and overcoming these issues in servicing our clients’ hurricane losses. Hurricanes Irma and Maria were no different. Utilizing various means such as private helicopters and private planes, the Sill team of adjusters, building consultants and contents estimators, accessed the islands even while the hurricanes were still raging, and immediately engaged with our clients on the ground.
One such client, the Point Pleasant Villa Owners Association on St. Thomas, had incurred significant damage to the various condominium structures on the property. Immediately after being retained, Sill swung into action, employing its adjusters, accountants, and attorney to review and summarize the provisions and limitations of the insurance policy, and its building consultants to prepare an exhaustive and detailed estimate of building damages.
The result was that a settlement for building policy limits was quickly obtained for the Owners Association. The results could have been a lot different, as we have heard through the grapevine from other losses in the islands where Sill has not been involved.
As stated by Susan Meisenhelder, Vice President of the Point Pleasant Villa Homeowners Association, in a letter to Sill:
“I want to express our sincere appreciation for your firm’s expert services regarding our insurance claim for damages to our property caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017. Your team developed a detailed loss analysis and advocated on our behalf resulting in a settlement that far exceeded our expectations. We could not be happier with the outcome…[Y]our firm helped us fulfill our duties as a board and minimize owner problems, which can predictably arise anytime scores of individuals are involved in an insurance claim…Having gone through this process it’s apparent to us that Alex N. Sill is highly respected in the insurance industry. You leverage your firm’s reputation and relationships to your client’s advantage to ensure timely attention to the claim and aggressively negotiate and escalate it within the insurance carrier’s organization to maximize and accelerate the settlement process.”
Susan Meisenhelder, Vice President