Insurance adjusters still working through tornado damage - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Insurance adjusters still working through tornado damage

By Morgan Thomas - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Residents call their insurance companies to report damage to what's insured.

"We have claims on everything as minor as a tree limb on a fence to the total destruction of the home," said Brian Little, field inspector for Hocheim Insurance Company.

And the insurance company turns the claim over to an adjuster who arranges an inspection.

"Inspect the damage, write an estimate, photograph the damage and assist the customer with temporary living expenses," Little said.

Brian Little is the only local adjuster for Hoechmeim Insurance Company. And since Dec. 23 he's seen a lot. Adjusters like him have inspected tornado damage to your cars, homes and businesses.

"We assess all the damage while we're there," Little said. "It could take 20 minutes or all day."

There may not be anyone busier. And their job requires an eagle eye. Little described what he looks for with a roof claim.

"Aside from the obvious damage, we check to see if the shingles have been lifted or the seals are broken," Little said. "We check for structural damage to the rafters and the ceiling jars, any damage to the inside of the house that could affect the sheet rock."

Home and business owners have to preserve what's left before the insurance adjuster arrives - tarping up the roof is one of the ways to do it.

"There's a nominal fee for the roofer to cover the roof and prevent future damage," Little said. "We like to see those blue tarps because our policy holders have taken steps to prevent future damage."

After the adjuster has completed the claim inspection, you can start repairs. But if you run into trouble with your contractor, it's not your problem.

"This is not the homeowner's responsibility to arrive at an agreed price," Little said. "That's our responsibility and the responsibility of the contractor."

But to make the whole process easier and the repairs started faster, invite your contractor to the inspection.

"We prefer the contractor to be there when we adjust the claim because it gives us one step up in the whole process," Little said. "We don't have to wait to communicate with the contractor."

An adjuster's job is to observe damage, so they've seen a lot. But last week's tornado even left an impact on insurance adjusters.

"I've done this 18 years and its the most severe damage I've ever seen," Little said.

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