Haute Residence caught up with Daniel Odess, CEO of GlobalPro Recovery who dishes how luxury homeowners can protect their assets in case of natural disaster, how to plan for the worst before the worst hits and the most common insurance cases seen.
What is your number one advice to luxury homebuyers as they purchase homes in high-risk weather zones?
Flooding is the number one loss affecting homeowners in the US market. Therefore, luxury homebuyers purchasing homes in high-risk weather zones need to first check flood maps and building elevations because it may be very costly and restrictive to ensure, modify and/or improve the property. Since a property at or below certain flood elevations is more prone to damage, you may be looking at significant costs to bring the property up to code. Worse, some of these required improvements will be most likely not covered by flood insurance resulting in high out of pocket expenses.
Protect yourself from building inspectors by ensuring that their reports accurately reflect the quality of the property. The inspection report needs to properly identify the cause and origin as well a proper cost assessment. Take the time to further investigate all issues and document any efforts to mitigate, even if its paid for by the seller. Retaining this proof of repair will avoid any prejudice in future insurance claims. If not, you may find yourself impacted by the misreporting of issues in future claims.
What are the top things people should always make sure to have ready in order to be best prepared for an unexpected natural disaster?
First, always retain electronic copies of your insurance policies by storing them in cloud-based servers, like Dropbox or iCloud. This will ensure that you have access to your records when you need them most without relying upon your broker, agent, and/or assistant; while you’re dealing with damage to your property, they may be doing the same. Also, most of the time, communication is very limited during natural disasters that affect large areas. It is important to note that most homeowner policies stipulate that the claim needs to be reported directly to the insurance company, not the agent. Without the policies, you will delay the process and unaware of your rights, limits and obligations.
Secondly, for luxury property owners, I strongly suggest a contingency plan: where are u going to go? Most luxury properties are located close to coastal areas, so while you should have emergency supplies in case you are stranded, you should also have a well thought out evacuation plan. Be honest, you are most likely not going to stay in a property that is located near or on the ocean. Evacuating from these areas is not easy and it takes a considerable amount of time and money. The roads are very restricted and they get very congested.
When is the best time for luxury property owners to call GlobalPro? Before the disaster? After?
Both before and after are all good times to contact us, but in a perfect world you’d want to contact us first so that we can prepare all of the proper documentation and have it set up and ready for you after the storm. We offer a 360-degree approach to insurance. We are there when you place insurance and when you need to recover. Unlike brokers and agents we do not run away from the oncoming disaster, we go towards it. We are on the front lines as the eyes and ears for our clients, ensuring that their interests are protected. We are on the ground accurately reporting the damages and the progress of the mitigation efforts.
By contacting us before a disaster strikes, we can familiarize ourselves with the risk and document the assets ahead of time by taking photographs, video and by collecting all the documentation necessary to expeditiously file, adjust and settle a claim. During and after a major disaster communication is typically limited and conditions are unsafe due to a lack of utilities. Our team is safely stationed throughout the threat area ready to respond to our client needs. Proprietary technology and equipment allow us to do our job in almost any condition. Doing this ahead of time is the best way to position yourself for a full and expeditious recovery to make sure you have the right policy to recover from your damages.
However, if you tried to handle your own loss or engaged incompetent representation, we routinely reopen, investigate and resubmit claims for insureds. Our team has sorted through thousands of denied losses, avoided litigation, and obtain recoveries for our clients. While it’s the most ideal situation, we stand ready to assist anyone that has already filed a claim.