News from Aspen Claims

Spring Floods Pose Major Threat to U.S. in 2019


May 22, 2019

Federal weather officials in the United States are painting a dire portrait of the approaching
flood season. Recent flooding that has wreaked havoc across the Midwest might merely be a sign of things to come. 

While the majority of midwest crops have yet to be planted for this year's harvest, record flooding has impacted a variety of other major industries, namely livestock, transportation as well as the delivery of ethanol to refineries. The great midwest floods of 1993 resulted in the deaths of 50 people and caused over $15 billion dollars in damages.

According to a recent report by the U.S. National Water Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, more 
than 200 million people and two-thirds of the 48 contiguous states are currently at risk for flooding in their communities, 13 million of which could be facing major flooding scenarios. Many of cities along the banks of the Missouri River have already been inundated including those
in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota.

There are a variety of factors contributing to the likelihood of serious flooding this spring, particularly in the middle part of the country. Heavy snows throughout the winter will melt, and above-average rainfall is expected on top of that. 

The high flood risk paints a picture far dire than the typical involves extensive inundation of structures and roads and large-scale evacuations. NOAA scientists also worn of the potential of  chemical runoff from the rains would cause above-average hypoxia conditions — “dead zones” of water with low oxygen caused by nutrient pollution that can kill fish and other marine life. Such conditions are likely to affect both the Gulf of Mexico and Chesapeake Bay.

Heavy winter snows across Colorado are expected to dramatically affect those living in flood zones across the state. According to scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder (NCRA) the worst flooding in the Colorado region would happen if the weather warms up too quickly, loosely defined as having a week or so of 70-degree temperatures soon, along with the addition of heavy, warm spring rains.

What is key for Colorado homeowners to remember is that there is a 30 day waiting period after purchasing flood insurance before it becomes effective. Many homeowners don’t realize basic homeowners insurance doesn’t include flood protection. In the event that major flooding effects the Colorado region this spring,, your car, home, or valuables may fall victim to extensive damage. Such cases, you can file a catastrophe claim with your insurance even if you do not have flood insurance. Be sure to document any and all flood damage that affects your property once it is safe to go outdoors. This will help an adjuster evaluate your situation. 

For more information and help with catastrophe insurance claims this flood season, the experienced, knowledgeable team here at Aspen Claims Service can help. We have experienced adjusters available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Keep our phone number 888-819-5904 in your phone to call in the event of an emergency.
 
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Helping Your Customers Navigate Terminology of Fire Insurance Claims


By Erika Bynon - May 9, 2019

Each year there are more 1.2 million house fires in the United States, leading to billions of dollars in loss. House or building fires are the second most common types of fires, following wildfires. Each part of the country has its struggles when it comes to fires. The northeast part of the country has a more significant number of fires; the west coast has the most in loss. Insurance companies navigating these types of insurance claims have a few things to know as they navigate through to help customers understand the way through the process. Use this guide to help better explain claims to your customers. 

Types of Fire Insurance

There are several types of fire insurance to cover a variety of issues. Some of these types include: 
  • Average: When an individual or business has an “average policy” written into their insurance, they will not be rewarded if the policy amount is higher than the property value. 
  • Blanket: For businesses with multiple locations, comprehensive insurance covers each location no matter where they are. 
  • Comprehensive: All encompassing, comprehensive policies are a blanket over a variety of scenarios. These can include an explosion, inclement weather and lightning, national disasters and more. 
  • Consequential: When a fire occurs at a business, it can put a halt on getting the work done. Consequential plans aid in any loss in sales due to the fire. 
  • Declaration: 
  • Floating: Items that can be transported easily are covered under a floating policy. Floater insurance can be applied to each item. 
  • Reinstatement: For those with a reinstatement policy, an insurance company will just replace the actual items destroyed in a fire. 
  • Replacement: Those with replacement policies receive an amount that includes the appropriate depreciation. 
  • Specific: When a person has a particular plan of insurance, they can receive up to a particular amount of funds. Anything over will be the responsibility of the person. 
  • Valued: A person or business can choose a valued plan, which has the insurer cover the amount of a total loss, even if the fire does not cause a total loss. 

Explaining Replacement Costs and Actual Cash Value

When working with homeowners or businesses, ensuring they understand replacement cost and the actual cash value is critical. 
  • Replacement cost: Reimbursement for the original cost of the items lost. For instance, if a television lost in a fire was originally $800, the customer will receive $800. 
  • Actual cash value: Depreciated value of the items lost in a fire. For instance, if a television that was initially $800 two years ago is now valued at $600, the customer will receive $600. 

Getting an Adjuster 

Fires can happen at any hour of the day. Working with a claims service can provide 24/7 access to adjusters all across the country. Round-the-clock assistance provides your customers with quick and convenient service to help them get their insurance claim filed faster. 

To help assist your insurance company with fire damage claims, Aspen Claims Service has adjusters all across the continental United States ready to help. From daily insurance claims to large loss claims, let us do the work. Begin working with Aspen today by calling 888-819-5904 or email claims@aspenclaims.com
 
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What to Expect from Pending Changes the National Flood Insurance Program


April 24, 2019

New changes to the way risk is calculated under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) could cause flood insurance premiums to rise and property values to reduce in values in most flood-prone areas, according to a recent report by Bloomberg. The proposed changes to identifying flood risk for properties across the country has been met with skepticism, particularly as an increase in natural disasters and flooding have spiked as a result of global warming. Flooding is the leading natural cause of property damage in the United States, and records show that the average flood claim amounts to nearly $42,000.

Traditional, flood insurance terms were dictated on whether or not a home or business lied either in or outside established 100-year flood plains. Now, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has proposed plans to utilize private-sector data and other contemporary research to better identify flood risk —and set insurance costs on that new data.

While the move is expected to be one of the first major advances in calculating flood risk since the establishment of the NFIP in 1968, critics such as those at the National Association of Home Builders predict it could hurt communities at the greatest risk of flood damage. 

A vast majority of United States homeowners with flood insurance —approximately five million homes as of 2018 —receive coverage through the NFIP. Yet in 2019, the NFIP is expected to begin congressional reauthorization due to the fact that the number of policies under the program’s auspices has fallen by about half-a-million coverages since 2009.

Congress had first attempted to overhaul the program in 2012, but cut short the effort in the wake of loud public protest against the process of increased premiums. FEMA spokespeople have claimed that this most recently proposed overhaul is not intended to indescretionately raise premium costs, but to better help homeowners identify their flood risk with more exacting data so they can be provided more accurate rates based on their unique flood risk. 

Increasing the cost of flood insurance tends to depress home values for two reasons. Firstly,  higher flood insurance premiums raise the overall cost of owning a home; secondly, they can act as a warning —and yellow flag not to buy —to potential buyers about the likelihood that a house will flood.

When you work with the professionals here at Aspen Claims, will work with you face-to-face to answer your flood insurance questions together, not only to review disputes and you and your property’s viability for the NFIP,  but also not other routes of underwriting are overlooked. Contact us today to stay on top of proposed and newly established changes flood insurance programs so that you, your loved ones and your property can stay adequately protected.
 
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Are You Interested In A Career As An Insurance Claims Adjuster?


April 3, 2019

 Are you looking to make a change in your career? Or trying to determine what field you would like to go into? Working as an insurance claims adjuster might be the perfect fit for you. Job openings in this field are expected to rise in the coming years, especially with devastating natural disasters and fires. There is a need for good people to help those during trying times—which may be the fit you were looking for. 

Demand for Work


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ occupational outlook handbook for claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators, the claims adjusting field are projected to stay consistent for the upcoming years. While every workplace varies, salary ranges can start in the low $30,000s per year or into the $50,000s-$60,000s pending experience, expertise, and more. With natural disasters and devastating wildfires, like the recent California “Camp Fire” that has killed more than 80 people and wiped out neighborhoods, people that can be on the ground quickly is in demand. 

Ability to Use Variety of Skills


There are a variety of skills that can be piled together to make a great claims adjuster. Are you curious to find answers? Use your investigatory skills to delve into the facts. Love working with people? Adjusters will work one-on-one with property owners as they make their assessments, requiring communicative and customer service skills. Enjoy just doing some paperwork while listening to music? You will need to put together your information and reports, which can be a great way to wind down a project. 

Every Day Brings Something New


There is no “set day” for a claims adjuster. Each day may bring something new to visit and investigate. Even if you work set hours, what you see and do will vary. For others, the schedule can differentiate. If you like working non-traditional hours, you can coordinate a schedule that your clients will much appreciate. Plus, your commute will be great as others won’t be on the road!

Travel


Insurance adjusters can travel. For some, it is just within a localized area to assess issues. For others, they can travel quite a distance to an accident or problem. Traveling is an added perk as you will get to see things you never have before. Plus, some extra time in the car is great to catch up on some of your favorite podcasts or music. 

Help Others


A career in insurance adjusting gives you a chance to work with people. While they will work with many others throughout the life of their insurance claim, having one-on-one time with clients requires customer service skills. If you enjoy working with people, this allows you to provide a friendly face during a trying time. 

Do you think you’re ready for a career in insurance adjusting? Consider exploring claims adjuster careers through Aspen Claims Service. Our independent firm offers jobs all across the continental United States, and we would love to have you on the team. We are actively looking for those with experience and those without that are ready to learn. Fill out an application to get started.
 
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Top Winter Insurance Claims in The United States


March 20, 2019

With winter in full swing, many states across America are enduring cold temperatures, several inches of snow and dangerous ice. For other states not used to this type of weather, even just a small amount of snow and ice can be detrimental. This can cause an influx in insurance claims to an agency as homeowners reach out for help resolving situations. Insurance companies should be ready for some of these top winter claims that may come in over the next few months. 

Frozen Pipes


Many homeowners face frozen pipes when temperatures dip below freezing. It’s not just the temperature that causes this to happen. In houses that are not as well insulated, typically older homes, it can cause the water inside them to expand. Pressure is then added within the pipe, and when that pressure becomes too high, the pipe will burst. Each home and situation are different, so there is not an exact number of homeowners should pay attention to before taking precautions. Share with your customers these six great tips to keep pipes from freezing to help them be more aware this winter. 

Snow and Ice


Large amounts of snow and ice can wreak havoc on a roof. Ice dams form as water from melting snow and ice collect around the ends of the roof, as well as the gutters. This tends to happen because heat from inside the home radiates through the roof, causing the snow to melt. The weight of the ice becomes detrimental, often causing the gutters to fall. In addition, if there are any holes in the roof, water can leak inside. Also, as some homeowners try to use a shovel or other heavy item to remove snow and ice from the roof, it may damage the shingles; potentially leading to internal leaks. For others, especially in areas that see substantial snow falls, the weight of snow and ice on a roof can be dangerous. While every situation is different, the average home can sustain holding 20 pounds of snow or a couple of inches of ice. 

Wind

During winter storms, wind can be a considerable threat to homeowners. There are even some days that happen to be particularly windy without any snow, sleet or ice at all. Wind tends to cause issues to homes when gusts or sustained winds are 50 mph or higher. But even winds more than 25 can be dangerous. Roofs can be removed from rooftops or raise roofing, causing water and ice to get under the shingles. Debris may also hit the sides of the homes, damaging the siding, windows, and more. Homeowners in areas filled with trees may also experience damage due to falling branches or trees onto the house, power lines, vehicles, and other areas. Homeowners should use extreme caution and if they notice a tree has contacted a power line, to stay away from it and call their local power company immediately.  

As your insurance company helps customers this winter, know that Aspen Claims Service is here to help. We can help your insurance company handle daily, or catastrophe claims if additional assistance is needed. Contact Aspen Claims Service today to see how we can help your insurance company this winter. 
 
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