An unprecedented heavy snowfall between late February and early March 2018 and subsequent storm Emma led to a large number of buildings being damaged by strong winds and heavy snow load.
One such building was our client’s large industrial warehouse. The building suffered catastrophic collapse following the heavy snow; the collapse left the building in a very dangerous condition with a high risk of injury to the general public. This case study shows the complexity of business claims and how important it is to get the help of an experienced loss assessor.
Extensive Storm Damage
ICS were referred to the client by a close friend whom we had helped previously with an insurance claim. We met with the building owners very shortly after we received the call. We documented the damage and devised an immediate emergency response plan.
Normally you cannot start repair work without the approval of the insurance company, but due to a large number of claims resulting from the storms, there was going to be a delay before the insurance loss adjuster would be able to attend the site.
To prevent further damage and protect the public, we gave our clients the go-ahead to start the remedial work. As the storm damage to the building was so extensive, the emergency plan included the demolition of the building, along with the segregation and enclosure of the damaged area to prevent any risk of harm to the general public and adjoining business owners.
As the damage caused by the storm was extensive, my clients were very worried about the complexities of the claims process and the possible outcome of their storm damage claim. We assured them that we took the best course of action and put their mind at ease.
Our initial meeting with the insurers confirmed that all of the emergency works we carried out were justified and reasonable, and the insurers were satisfied to fully reimburse the expenses that had been incurred.
We negotiated the extent of the emergency works needed, the potential costs and a claims management strategy to be taken to establish the full extent of reinstatement.
The building was made up of reinforced concrete walls, concrete floors and a steel portal frame, it was very important to ascertain the full structural condition of the building before undertaking repairs. We helped our client select and appoint a professional consulting engineer, who then assisted us in compiling a full inventory of all required repairs.
Unfortunately, in this case, the building was so badly damaged that a repair was not going to be feasible and a full rebuild was required. We compiled and formulated an extensive Bill of Quantities for the rebuilding with the input of our client and their design team.
Armed with all the evidence and the rebuild estimates, we entered into negotiations with the insurance company and eventually, following months of intense negotiations, meetings and discussions both on and off site, we achieved a settlement which enabled our client a complete rebuild of the warehouse.
Storm damage claims, especialy commercial claims are very technical in nature and typically require a number of rounds of negotiation. It may even take 5 to 10 rounds to get to an agreeable settlement that we can recommend to our clients. ICS will never recommend settlement to our clients until the very best compensation and settlement terms are negotiated and secured.
Once the insurance company had agreed to the terms, we assisted our client with the tender process and the appointment of a building contractor. The replacement building is now under construction. As new buildings have to be designed and built in line with the current building regulations, the new building will be built to a much higher specification and it will perform better than the original one. Needless to say, the owners were delighted with the outcome and have gone on to refer ICS to others.