When it comes to filing a condo insurance claim, one of the first steps a condo property manager, condominium board or owner should take is to talk with their broker.
Why? Many property managers and condominium boards, for example, may not be familiar with the process of reporting a condo insurance claim.
“I do honestly believe we can make significant (premium) savings by educating property managers and condominium boards (on) the importance of working with their insurer when a loss occurs,” said John Slattery, executive general adjuster at Sedgwick during a recent Canadian Underwriter webinar.
When a flooding incident occurs, for example, the first call may be to a plumber to shut the water off. But the next one should be to the broker, Slattery said, because they would have a list of preferred contractors who specialize in these sorts of claims.
The broker’s knowledge is invaluable because the property manager may not know, for example, that a condo contractor is different from a home contractor, Slattery said. The condo contractor would have the proper experience, licencing, and tools to deal with a condo loss.
“And there’s a mandate on their part (as a condo contractor) to try and salvage as much as possible, versus going in and ripping out and removing everything,” he said.
The same is true for adjusters, Slattery added. The right professional who understands the nuances of a condo property needs to be involved.
“You’re dealing not only with the property manager, but tenants, unit owners (and) contractors that have been brought in by the other unit owners,” he said. “So, there’s a lot of moving parts.”
Quickly control costs
Furthermore, it’s important an adjuster gets out there quickly to control costs. If a property manager delays getting in touch with the broker that can mean more bad news for the condo corporation.
Panellist Jeff Rodin, president and CEO of Condominium Insurance Solutions, said prior to COVID-19, he did three educational sessions a month with property management companies. Providing them with the expertise on such things as appraisals and contracting is essential, he said.
“We educate them on what needs to be [done], to have all the moving parts put in place … to properly insure the condo and mitigate from loss. But mostly it’s an educational seminar for the property manager, to the board of directors, on how to mitigate losses.”
Condo unit holders also need to be informed, said panellist Lindsey Bellinger, assistant vice president of commercial lines underwriting at Aviva Canada.
“At the end of the day, the unit owners in these condominiums (are) a huge factor (in) some of the losses,” she said. “So there has to be … basic education for the unit owners as well.”
The bottom line when it comes to filing a condo claim, contact your broker for the professional guidance needed.
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