There is no good time for a fire to any business. In the days and weeks leading up to Christmas, Jekyll’s Kitchen, one of Cleveland, Ohio’s most beloved and picturesque restaurants (and a part of the nationally-recognized Hyde Park Group of restaurants with multiple locations in four states), which overlooks the Chagrin Falls, suffered a devastating fire, literally leaving almost nothing of the restaurant remaining. With near panic in the minds of the restaurant owners and their 40 employees, Jekyll’s turned to the Alex N. Sill Company for help, after having two “very good success[es] on two small insurance claims in the past.”
Sill dispatched one of its teams of in-house experts consisting of former insurance company adjusters, building and contents appraisers, forensic accountants, and attorney, who worked on the adjustment. No large loss adjustment is simple, and this one was no exception. Between the building that had been reduced to rubble; the business personal property, including very expensive wine collection, that was (as we say in the industry) “out of sight” or gone due to the fire; and the difficult calculations surrounding the business income loss, due to the seasonality of the hospitality business, the loss adjustment required sophisticated and experienced adjusters familiar with complex losses this size.
The final result was a very successful negotiated settlement of several million dollars. As written by Richard Hauck, co-owner of the Hyde Park Group:
“In the end, the Sill Company got a large settlement for us, which covered our income loss, out of pocket costs and the complete rebuilding of the restaurant. The restaurant is nicer than it ever was before…”
Richard Hauck, Co-Owner
Hyde Park Group
A devastating fire destroyed one of America’s most beloved barbeque restaurants — The Original Famous Dave’s in Hayward, Wisconsin. This landmark restaurant situated on Round Lake was the birthplace of the Famous Dave’s chain. The beauty of its natural setting, authentic timber construction and popularity hosting as many as 6,000 diners per week made it one of Wisconsin’s most photographed restaurants.
Unfortunately, a conflagration engulfed the property and completely destroyed the building crafted from hand hewn logs, as well as the interior, which contained many artifacts custom made by local craftsman. The restaurant, nestled in the heavily wooded northwestern portion of Wisconsin also contained a trove of antiques representative of the area’s Native American heritage and lumberjack industry.
Just two months prior, Famous Dave’s experienced a horrific storm with 100 mile per hour winds and four inch golf ball sized hail. On the initial wind-hail-water loss, David Anderson, the Founder of Famous Dave’s, decided to try and adjust the loss without professional assistance.
“I did not hire a loss consultant like the Alex N. Sill Company and I personally tried to negotiate all of the losses myself with my insurance companies. I had a heck of a time arguing the true value of the losses our restaurant suffered with our insurance company. I felt that I was woefully unprepared to deal with the insurance companies who seemed not to be helping me despite all the years I religiously paid my insurance premiums,” remarked Mr. Anderson.
When the devastating fire hit Famous Dave’s, Mr. Anderson knew he needed to again enlist professional adjusting help.
As Mr. Anderson remarked: “All the folks who came to discuss their company’s expertise in working with us to negotiate our losses . . . did a good job, but one company stood out and that was . . . Alex N. Sill Company.”
Sill immediately launched its team of former insurance company loss adjusters, building experts, contents estimators and forensic accountants to inventory the damages (much of which was no longer in existence) and document and present its extensive insurance claim to the insurance company. The result was a highly successful loss recovery in excess of $3 million!
Mr. Anderson added:
“I am happy to report that we received 100% of all the money that we could have received from our insurance company. Because of the ‘one-of a kind’ hand-made building and antiques, we had a very tough time identifying all that was lost. This process was made easier by the professional experience that was provided to us by the Sill Company. The documentation alone was huge . . . thick books with huge volumes of research . . . were sent to the insurance company.
“If you’ve just experienced a devastating loss, I would highly recommend that you listen to what’s ahead of you, what’s involved in a huge loss and how the Alex N. Sill Company can help you . . . What you pay in fees to the Alex N. Sill Company will come back to you many times over and there is no question in our minds that they totally paid for themselves—absolutely no question about this. The relief after receiving our last check meant enough to me that [I] would be more than happy to share my personal experiences with you and am giving Alex N. Sill Company permission to give my personal phone number out . . .”
David Anderson, President
As stated most succinctly by our client, “It all started in the middle of the night. The fire began when nobody was around. A phone call from the fire department and your business is up in smoke.” So began the saga of Myron & Phil’s Steakhouse, a family owned institution in Lincolnwood, Illinois which had served Chicago’s best steaks for nearly 40 years and now in need of recovering from a major fire.
Similar to many fire losses, restoration company contractors quickly swarmed Myron & Phil’s owners. Upon referral, Myron & Phil’s met with the Chicago office of the Alex N. Sill Company, North America’s leading public insurance claims adjuster and loss consultant. Myron & Phil’s was immediately at ease, ensured by Sill about what its team of professionals could and would accomplish. Myron & Phil’s retained Sill to adjust the loss. The Sill team of in-house professionals was led by a former “captive” insurance company adjuster, a 46-year veteran building estimator and a 33-year contents estimator. An in-house forensic accountant responsible for calculating the business income loss and an in-house attorney responsible for evaluating the policy provisions rounding out the team.
The result was a seven-figure settlement for the insured, an amount far in excess of what the insurer had preliminarily proposed.
As further summarized by the restaurant’s owners:
“How does one read the insurance policies, interpret what they really mean as far as a fire loss is concerned, how does the whole process begin?
“[The] team from Alex Sill Company, [the] professionalism, the emotional handling of the situation, and dealing with the devastation of the items of inventory were handled above and beyond the call of duty. The negotiations with the insurance agent were professional yet firm. We always felt as though he had a personal investment in our business to make everything right and just . . . We highly recommend [the Sill Company] to those of us who do not have the knowledge of how to negotiate the insurance claim process and how to maximize your claim and minimize your loss.”
Mark & Ellie Freedman, Owners
One of Cleveland, Ohio’s best known, respected and loved restaurateurs, Doug Katz, suffered a catastrophic fire to one of his restaurants, the Katz Club Diner, as a result of what was determined to be a set by a third party. The loss provided unique issues in calculating the building damage and repair or rebuild cost inasmuch as the restaurant consisted, in large part, of a vintage railroad car.
Within a week of the fire and after struggling with the assistance of an attorney to get his hands around all the issues involving the loss and claim, Katz retained the Alex N. Sill Company, the nation’s leading public insurance claims adjuster and loss consultant, to handle the preparation of the insurance claim. Sill’s staff of building consultants, inventory specialists and forensic accountants immediately set forth to prepare loss estimates for presentation to the insurance company.
Working quickly to ensure that Katz could get his facility up and running again, Sill engineered a highly successful settlement with the insurance company which enabled Katz to complete his restaurant plans. As Katz remarked to Sill’s President Michael Perlmuter (who also commented that in all his years as a businessman, he cannot remember a client coming into the office to hug him in thanks):
“As a recent client of the Sill Company, I wanted to write and convey my sincere thanks for all you did to help with my insurance loss. The arson at my diner was devastating to me and to the entire staff. The Sill Company was there from day 1 and assisted me with every possible need. Their expertise and attention was a true gift at a deeply stressful time. I have dealt with many companies with regard to my restaurant businesses, but have never worked with one that exhibits more professionalism, customer support or reliability…The Sill Company made the entire process manageable. Every stress was handled, and the Sill Company actually made the experience pleasurable.”
Douglas Katz, Chef/Proprietor
The Trout Club in Newark, Ohio suffered a major fire in its cart garage that spread and did excessive structural damage to two levels of the club. The facts that: 1) the structure was made up of precast panels that were integrated into an old farmhouse built in the mid-1800s, 2) there was a significant amount of inventory and business personal property spread over the 7000 sq. foot building, and 3) that club had not even been operating a full year, so there was very little business history to show for its business loss claim, made this claim especially daunting for Trout Club owner, Brent Dewey.
Immediately recognizing these hurdles, Mr. Dewey retained nationally recognized public adjuster and insurance consultant, the Alex N. Sill Company, to estimate the damages to his building, inventory and appraise the damage to the business personal property, establish a business interruption claim, and negotiate a settlement with its insurance company. Mr. Dewey understood that this effort would be overwhelmingly beyond his capabilities, recognizing that the “insurance companies have their own adjusters…so now we had ours!”
The result of hiring Sill was a major recovery in 7 figures for the Trout Club!
As set forth by Mr. Dewey in his thank you letter to the Sill Company:
“Mike Hickle with the Alex Sill Co. was our representative throughout the entire process and was there from beginning to end for us. He was great in keeping me up to date on where we stood in the claim process…He was able to get us money quickly within a few short days after the fire. This was important as we still had payrolls and normal bills to pay…Mike and the entire team from Alex Sill Co. are an amazing group of professional people that work well together…I can’t imagine going through a major claim like this without them. I was able to focus on rebuilding my building and my business and they took care of the details!”
Mr. Dewey-we are pleased that we were there to be able to help you!
Brent R. Dewey, Owner
As Greg Ardisson sadly found out, insurance claims (even those that seem no-brainer, straight-forward, policy limits claims) are far more difficult to manage and resolve than an insured could ever anticipate. A disastrous fire struck The Night Owl Food & Spirits restaurant and lounge that not only threatened the Ardisson family livelihood, but, in fact, threatened to change their whole lives. As Mr. Ardisson commented: “Our family depended on those businesses for not only our livelihood, but it was indeed our lives. My two sons were born and raised during my tenure as a small business owner and our plans were for them to carry on the family business…”.
Like so many other insureds that the Sill Company meets with following a disaster, Mr. Ardisson initially believed the resolution of his claim would be quite easy, and frankly had never heard of the public adjusting industry or Alex N. Sill Company. And again, he commented: “I knew for sure I wouldn’t need your service because my building was a total loss. There was no way I wouldn’t reach the limits of my actual cash value policy.” Further, both his agent and the insurance company adjuster warned him of the “evils” of using a professional consultant that solely represented his interests. As the adjustment of his loss progressed, , however, Mr. Ardisson soon realized that without an advocate in his corner, the insurance company (and agent) that he had been paying premiums to for many years, were not representing his interests or resolving the loss claim as Mr. Ardisson believed it should be resolved. As Mr. Ardisson further commented: “As it turns out, you knew in advance how things would likely go. I remember the overwhelming feeling of betrayal, loss and confusion as to which way to turn once I figured it out for myself.”
Turning to Sill after approximately 45 days of failing to resolve what seemed to him to be a simple matter of his insurance company paying policy limits, Mr. Ardisson retained Sill to appraise the damage to his building, his business personal property, and his significant business income loss. Using its in-house team of experts, Sill immediately turned the tables on the insurance company, ultimately settling the entire claim for nearly 7 figures. As finally stated by Mr. Ardisson, after the less than positive experience with his insurance company for what seemed to be a relatively simple claim of policy limits:
“[Hiring Sill] was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Combine that with the sense of resolve I had to see this thing through was a winning formula that has made possible for myself and my family to move forward…Without your help, that wouldn’t have been feasible…I’d like to thank the Alex N. Sill Company…for making us whole again.”
Greg Ardisson and Family, Owners