Difference Between the Roles of a Loss Adjuster and Loss Assessor

This role is relatively new in the terms of the definition, as not many people know about the actual significance of a loss adjuster. In older times, when the insurance was a new phenomenon,  insurance companies used to hire an intermediary who could assess the authenticity of the claim and pay them a little fee for their services. However, as the profession evolved, the role of a loss adjuster has become important, which is why this blog focuses on what a loss adjuster actually does, to highlight the importance of their role.

What Do They Do?

Whenever there is an accident, a fire, a robbery or an incident that causes damage to the property, people file a claim if they have gotten their property insured earlier. To verify the claim and determine the degree of damage done, and subsequent steps required to file the claim, a loss adjuster is hired. A loss adjuster recommends the insurance companies how much is to be paid on the basis of the policy coverage. A loss adjuster works on behalf of both the parties and is impartial.

They also assure the claimants that their claim will be processed smoothly and without any biases.

  • They investigate the event and assess how the incident took place.
  • They negotiate with both parties, and take interviews of the witnesses, gather statements and settle claims according to the policies.
  • They calculate the value of the property, make guidelines for making a claim, calculate the losses, and check if the claim can be quantified.
  • They participate in trials, meetings, and act as a mediator.

Here are some other roles that a loss adjuster plays within their respective field with more or less the same duties:

  • Claim adjuster
  • Claim specialist
  • Property adjuster
  • Liability adjuster
  • Accident loss adjuster
  • Catastrophe adjuster

Often time, people make the mistake of mixing up the role of loss adjuster and loss assessor. The difference between these two is very subtle.

Who Are Loss Assessors?

A loss assessor exclusively works on behalf of the person who is making the claim. He makes sure that your property is valued and the losses are properly covered. He is more like an attorney to you who legally represents you when you are making the claim so you get the value you deserve. The basic duties of a loss assessor include:

  • Representing the claimant to the insurance company, setting meetings with the loss adjusters.
  • Drafting and finalizing the claim on behalf of the person who has suffered the loss.
  • Negotiate with the loss adjuster and the company to make sure the value settled is fair.
  • Handle the cases, which are complex, or those which the insurance companies have earlier refused to take due to complications in the process.

Understanding the Duties of an Insurance Assessor

The role of an insurance assessor is essential in the handling and processing of protection claims. People who file claims usually know nothing or very little about the significance of their role and only try to contact them after a disastrous event or when they need a protection guarantee.

We have chosen to share a few experiences on this profession and their role, to give a more detailed comprehension of what they do and why their role is significant.

It is essential to know that there are diverse ways that insurance agencies approach the administrations of insurance assessors. There are two types of insurance assessors:

  1. Assessors who are not affiliated by a particular organization; they outsource their services to insurance agencies and intermediaries.
  2. Assessors employed and designated by an insurance agency.

Difference Of a Loss Adjuster And Insurance Assessor

Most people cannot differentiate between the roles of a loss adjuster and insurance assessor. Both terms are generally used interchangeably, despite the fact that they have their own specific job profiles serve different purposes.

A Loss Adjuster is hired by the insurance companies. They will to guarantee that your policy is understood and how it can affect the claim that the party has filed.  They generally attempt to make it possible for the insurance companies to pay fewer sums for the claims filed.

A loss Assessor is an expert contracted by the individual documenting the claim with a specific end goal to ensure that the claim gets processed with an effective and justified result. For this, loss assessors take care of all the customs and measures that are required for a guaranteed settlement. A good insurance assessor can play significant role to get the amount you require and will work with you to document the claim. They will likewise cater to your queries and requests and guarantee that you get a lawful experience.

So these are the basic differences between insurance assessors and loss adjusters.

Duties Of Insurance Assessor

An insurance assessor works on the behalf of the claimant. A claimant approaches an insurance assessor to evaluate the accident or the mishap that has affected their insured property. For the property to be assessed and the claim to be filled, it is necessary that your property has a monetary value. Insurance assessor starts with evaluating the property and checks it for the damage done to it.

For example, if a house caught fire and had been damaged, the insurance assessor would go and evaluate the house, check its monetary value, evaluate the damages done, and decide if they are claimable. Once he is done with collecting the evidence and related information, he makes a report of the case and sends it to the insurance company on the behalf of the claimant.

The insurance assessor will see if the insurance company is covering the damage that the client has filled for. If they are, then the insurance assessor would see who is responsible for the fire incident and look for ways to compensate the claimant for the damage done. He also negotiates on the behalf of the claimant and makes sure that the case is properly.

Why you should have a Loss Assessor represent you

Insurance claims are major business for lawyers, builders, salvage companies, Insurers, brokers, bank managers, Revenue, the Gardaí and loss assessors and loss adjusters alike.

Even though the vast majority of property and injury claims settle perfectly fairly, there is major fraud happening on both sides of the claims process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This has been going on forever and will continue. The honest claimant is therefore at a major disadvantage in the claim process.

This is for a number of reasons – Insurers write the policy and they dictate what is insured but more importantly what is not insured. Insurers define the claim management process, they use experts and are experts in managing that process and their expertise is supporting their position. It is not in the interest of the Insurers to make it too easy.  Insurers adopted the position for many years that the claim process was under their total control and that the loss adjusters acted purely for the Insurer and in fact that the insured was not entitled to independent professional advice.

The game has changed to some extent but there is further to go.

The Consumer Protection Code went some way towards rectifying this position. It has not solved the problem fully.  It does require Insurers to notify the claimant that they are entitled to professional advice but at their own expense, i.e. it is not an insured fee.  Ironically, this is an area that insurers can, and in some cases do, actually cover in the policy – but they are few and far between.  The Insurers that do cover the fees generally try to control who they pay for, and at what price so it may not be a decision for the claimant to make in their own interest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In my view, it is grossly unfair particularly in larger claims where the costs of processing the claim are driven up in many cases by the Insurers’ investigations.  It is wrong that the claimant who has suffered loss and damage to their property or business should have to bear this cost (loss assessors fees), when it is in consequence of the insured event and therefore should be insured.

It is absolutely clear that the claims process is extremely complicated.  Even a chimney fire today could involve a broker, an lnsurer, a loss adjuster, the fire brigade, and various builders who quote for repairs.  CCTV reports to clarify the extent of damage to the chimney flue possibly even forensic investigations in some instances. The only party who can co-ordinate this with the Insured’s interest in mind is the Loss Assessor.

It is most unreasonable for anyone to expect a person who works in a factory or the owner of a hotel business to understand all the complexities of an insurance policy.

It is a fact now that insurers are reviewing claims history, disclosure at inception of the policy, the cause of the damage, the likely cost of the claim, forensic investigations and many more aspects of the claim before accepting liability and offering to pay any money.

These processes can take many weeks at least and many months at worst.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the past 10 years in Ireland even though many many claims are settled and paid by insurers and people are generally satisfied, there are equally many claims that end up in the in the Courts or Arbitrations.

Insurers have not, in the recent past, covered themselves in glory, the issues that FBD had in relation to the rebuilding of many of their clients chimneys in private houses hit the headlines a number of years ago.  The work was grossly unsatisfactory and it was identified by Engineers that some of the repairs were actually dangerous. This clearly was an exercise by Insurer in saving money that backfired.

We have also recently heard about the RSA issue with claims processing and reserves and how that impacted on the revenues for the company throughout Europe. It is also less known that this approach to processing claims actually filtered down through to the loss adjusters and claims handlers and the whole claim process in RSA slowed down dramatically and became grossly unsatisfactory.  The Chief Executive lost his job in consequence but that didn’t help the unfortunate whose house burnt down or flooded.

We are also all well aware of the Quinn Insurance methods and approach to their client’s claims and how the public view of the claim process in Quinn insurance was far from acceptable in the context of the requirements of the Consumer Protection Code and the needs of somebody whose house just burned down – had a mortgage – in negative equity – and there no access to alternate funds.

This is when you need your insurers to be on side and honouring the contract fairly and fully.  The doctrine of “utmost good faith” applies to insurers as well as insured but if you are on the wrong side of that issue, it is virtually impossible for a person making a claim to even consider trying to argue that point legally.

Cleary’s have found in the recent past that if your Insurer is causing problems in the claim process, where slow decisions of acceptance of liability or investigations going on for months and months – it is extremely stressful & highly technical.  This brings a financial pressure on the claimant that may force decisions one would otherwise not take.

We have a case in process at the moment where Insurers instructed loss adjusters to visit the site on day 2 after the incident. Loss adjusters reported within 2 weeks to Insurers. On day 16 a forensic investigator was appointed who visited the site, interviewed witnesses and also reported to Insurers and this took a further 4 weeks.  Four weeks after that, we heard from the Insurer’s lawyers asking further questions and looking for further detail about the site and the circumstances of the fire.  We believed complete detail had been presented already to the previous two parties.  A letter then arrives from that the lawyers looking for further detail giving us another six weeks to reply.  While all of this is going on, liability had not been accepted and the six figure loss is impacting on the client’s business. The client cannot make decisions because the Insurers have neither accepted liability nor repudiated liability.  It is now week 16!  The owner does not know where he stands.  He may actually prejudice his own position if he pays for the repairs himself.

This highlights the inadequacy of our current Consumer Protection Code and indeed the claim processes.  The only message is to get your representation early and hope that all goes well.

Sean Cleary
Managing Director
Clearys Claims ManaWhgers

5 Reasons Why Business Continuity Plans Fail

A Business continuity plan is imperative in running a business. It is really important for a medium to large organization to have a business continuity plan in order to ensure the smooth flow of all the operations in all departments of the business.

When it comes to disaster management, business continuity is always an important topic to learn from.

A business continuity plan is crucial for post disaster or emergency for a company otherwise there could be huge losses for a company. But there are times when people just can’t handle it and fail miserably in carrying out a business continuity plan.

Here are 5 reasons why your business continuity plan can fail. Avoid these pitfalls and you will most likely be disaster proof.

  1. Wrong estimations

This is a common theme among all the failed business continuity plans out there. Many times, managers and executives don’t think things through and make really unrealistic expectations in making a plan. They assume that things that require electricity or power will be working should any emergency were to take place. But to the contrary, these are the first things that get ruined during disasters such as floods, earthquakes, storms etc. The best thing to do is to have a backup server for your business. These days everything is cloud based anyway so you can easily recover any important data that might have been lost in the office.

One of the most common misconceptions by people is that they think they live in a disaster free area where nothing can go wrong. You can’t be sure of anything so it’s better to have a business continuity plan just in case.

  1. Not being prepared

Always have safety and emergency kits at hand or easily accessible in the company so that if there is any emergency, the chances of recovery are quick and higher. A fire extinguisher should be in multiple places on every floor. Encourage your employees to have their own medical kits with them in their cars and also give them those where they can keep it in the drawers of their desks.

  1. Not having survival accessories

Having a backup server is all good but you need additional things that will help you to be in contact with your workers. You would need extra batteries, rechargeable flashlights, water and food supplies etc. if the area where you work is evacuated then there is all the more reason for you to need these items. Have a list of all the contact numbers of you workers so that you can reach them whenever you find the means to do so.

  1. No testing

It is good to have a business continuity plan, but it is great to have it tested out so that you are aware of any discrepancies or holes that need to be filled out. You need to have a fool proof plan and in order to have it, a drill or rehearsal for an emergency situation is the key.

  1. Not shared with everyone

A good business continuity plan is always shared with everyone. There is no point if it is lying around with only one person.

4 Reasons to Have Your Home Insured

Everyone wants to sleep in a home knowing that they are safe from any mishaps that could occur or any disasters that might befall them.  Nobody wants to wake up the next day knowing that there has been damage done to their property either by a person or by the weather now do they? So why should you be any different. You need to ensure the safety of not only your house but in doing so; you will protect your family as well.

That is why it is really imperative to get a homeowner’s insurance that you can claim, should anything wrong happens with your property. Insurance for your home is a great investment that you will make and you won’t ever regret your decision. There could be a number of reasons why you might need one. You can look up how much insurance  money you can claim from companies by looking up an insurance calculator online or getting it checked by companies such as Clearys for a better estimate.

Here are 5 reasons why you need to get insurance for your home.

  1. Protecting your assets

If you have invested so much in your house such as building a patio, an outhouse, remodeling  the kitchen etc then a home owner’s insurance is your safest bet in protecting your assets.  If something wrong happens, at least you will have an insurance to claim from a company. You can easily find out how much insurance you can get by checking out from an insurance calculator online or from an insurance agent

  1. Temporary housing

Many insurance companies also offer temporary housing to people if their house is ruined or impossible to live in due to the extreme property damage. So while your house is being repaired or reconstructed, you can always have a nice place to stay in. This ensures not only your safety but comfort as well. Although it might not provide you the same level of comfort as as your home but at least you will have a roof to live under. Find out from your insurance agent if they offer temporary housing and also how much you can claim after property damage. Using an insurance calculator will also help you get a rough estimate.

  1. Mortgage

Most of the banks need you to have your home insured in order for you to get mortgage. This is a safety net for them as well as for you and also gives you credibility in front of the bank. If you have insurance then you can easily get a loan approved by the bank. Insurance policies differ from company to company so you can use an insurance calculator to help you determine the best one for your home.

  1. Natural disasters and accidents

The weather can be really unpredictable so you better not take a risk for your nicely built house to be wrecked in just a few hours by a storm, floods, earthquake or even accidents such as a fire. Find out how much you can claim on damaged property through natural disasters by using an insurance calculator.

The biggest Cyber Security threats in 2016 and beyond

Headless worms, machine-to-machine attacks, jail-breaking, ghostware and two-faced malware: The language of cyber-security incites a level of fear that seems appropriate, given all that is at stake. Hackers are launching increasingly sophisticated attacks on everything from critical infrastructure to medical devices.

Hackers

Research company Gartner estimates that there are approximately 6.8 billion connected devices in use in 2016, a 30 percent increase over 2015 and they also predict that by 2020, that number will jump to more than 20 billion connected devices. Put another way, for every human being on the planet, there will be between two and three connected devices (based on current U.N. population projections).

The sheer number of connected devices, or the “Internet of Things,” presents an unprecedented opportunity for hackers. “We’re facing a massive problem moving forward for growing attack surface,” said Derek Manky, Global Security Strategist at Fortinet.

“That’s a very large playground for attackers, and consumer and corporate information is swimming in that playground,” he said. Many consumer connected devices do not prioritise security. As they proliferate, expect the number of attacks to skyrocket. “A lot of these products and services, oftentimes security will take a backseat, so it puts a lot of information at risk,” said Manky.

In its 2016 Planning Guide for Security and Risk Management, Gartner puts it like this: “The evolution of cloud and mobile technologies, as well as the emergence of the ‘Internet of Things,’ is elevating the importance of security and risk management as foundations.” Smartphones present the biggest risk category going forward. They are particularly attractive to cyber criminals because of the sheer number in use and multiple vectors of attack, including malicious apps and web browsing.

“We call this drive-by attacks — websites that will fingerprint your phone when you connect to them and understand what that phone is vulnerable to,” said Manky.

Apple devices are still the most secure, said Manky. “Apple’s had a good security policy because of application code review. So that helps, certainly, to filter out a lot of these potential malicious applications before they make it onto the consumer device,” he said. “With that, nothing is ever safe,” he said.

Smartphone Security

This year has seen the emergence of entirely new worms and viruses that are able to propagate from device to device such as “headless worms”: malicious code targeting “headless devices” such as smartwatches, smartphones and medical hardware.

“These are nasty bits of code that will float through millions and millions of computers,” said Manky. Of course, the potential for harm when such threats can multiply across billions of connected devices is orders of magnitude greater. The largest we’ve seen to date is about 15 million infected machines controlled by one network with an attack surface of 20 billion devices. Certainly that number can easily spike to 50 million or more,” said Manky. “You can suddenly have a massive outage globally in terms of all these consumer devices just simply dying and going down.”

Expect a proliferation of attacks on cloud and cloud infrastructure, including so-called virtual machines, which are software-based computers. There will be malware specifically built to crack these cloud-based systems.

“Growing reliance on virtualisation and both private and hybrid clouds will make these kinds of attacks even more fruitful for cyber criminals,” according to Fortinet.

At the same time, because apps rely on the cloud, mobile devices running compromised apps will provide a way for hackers to remotely attack public and private clouds and access corporate networks.

As police services and government departments boosts their forensic capabilities, hackers will adapt to evade detection. Malware designed to penetrate networks, steal information, then cover up its tracks are emerging and will continue to spread. So-called ghostware will make it extremely difficult for companies to track exactly how much data has been compromised, and hinder the ability of police services to prosecute cyber criminals.

“The attacker and the adversaries are getting much more intelligent now,” said Manky.

Alongside ghostware, cyber criminals will continue to employ so-called “blastware” which destroys or disables a systems when detected. “Blastware can be used to take out things like critical infrastructure, and it’s much more of a damaging attack,” he said.

“Because attackers may circumvent preventative controls, detection and response capabilities are becoming increasingly critical,” advises Gartner in its report.

Word Cloud

Many corporations now test new software in a safe environment called a sandbox before running it on their networks.

“A sandbox is designed to do deeper inspection to catch some of these different ways that they’re trying to change their behaviors,” said Manky. “It’s a very effective way to look at these new threats as we move forward.”
That said, hackers in turn are creating malevolent software that seems benign under surveillance, but morphs into malicious code once it’s no longer under suspicion. It’s called two-faced malware.

This is at least partially the sheer volume of attacks is so high — Fortinet sees half a million security threats per minute.

“Companies should definitely enforce more security policies,” said Manky. “Security’s becoming a board level discussion, so that’s already happening, and it should continue to happen.”

Part of any cyber-security strategy should be the use of antivirus software, the education of employees not to click on unknown attachments or links as well as keeping software up to date, also know as patch management.

“A lot of these devices are not going to be patched that quickly or they might not have an update mechanism on them,” said Manky. “Certainly, any time a patch becomes available, companies should enforce that because these are closing a lot of the holes where attackers are navigating through.”

Here is how Gartner frames it for business seeking to protect themselves in 2016 and beyond. “While some traditional controls have or will become less effective, techniques such as removing administrative privileges from endpoint users should not be forgotten. Similarly, vulnerability management, configuration management and other basic practices have to be priorities in organisations that have not yet implemented them effectively.”

And ultimately, something is better than nothing, advises the firm: “Addressing priorities does not mean striving for perfection, but rather ensuring, at least, that critical exposures are remediated (or, if applicable, mitigated with compensating controls) and that the residual risks are minimal and acceptable (or at least enumerated and tracked).”

2009 Storm & Flood Commentary

Clearys Claims Managers

In 2009, the whole country experienced severe flooding and storm damage.

It was called the worst event in 50 years – indeed, some suggested it was the worst in living memory. Global warming was blamed for the damage or, at least, for having contributed to it. Bad planning and development were also highlighted as causes for many of the properties affected.

Today, only 6 years later, things are as bad as ever – worse indeed, given that the proportion of properties having flood insurance cover is much lower now than it was in 2009.

Following the flooding in 2009, many buildings were repaired with the money paid by Insurers making buildings habitable, comfortable and usable again. Little thought was put into preparing for similar occurrences happening again and certainly not only 6 years later.

This is a tragedy.

Clearys have come across numerous cases of flood damage where there is no insurance cover this time around. TV programmes and interviews are highlighting the extremely difficult circumstances this type of slow, insidious, destructive damage has inflicted on many unfortunate householders, farmers and businesses. Others in vulnerable areas, though not yet affected, are fearful for the future.

Securing assistance from the state is a possibility but the funds available to successful applicants are very low. Even at that, compensation is available only to those who do not have insurance cover and have suffered clear and specific damage. The Irish Red Cross are also distributing funds and humanitarian aid to people exposed to flooding but similar limitations apply to that scheme.

After the 2009 event, there was much work done by the state, through local authorities and the Office of Public Works. Defined areas which would be categorised as flood zones for national flood mapping purposes were identified. The insurers then availed of this service and either withdrew flood cover for property in these areas or hiked premiums for those who were “lucky” enough to be offered cover. Of course they would – what would you do?

The ball was then dropped by the state. No planning was put in place to deal with the obvious: what would happen to all those areas and their inhabitants, businesses and farm owners when flooding returned? Far fewer of them would have insurance cover next time around.

The Irish solution to this Irish problem was for government to call a meeting with the insurance industry after the horse had bolted. Clearly, for many unfortunate victims of recent events, there was no access to funds, allied to which they had the worry and stress of possible further recurrences with no prospect of cover being reinstated. Even if cover was available, it would be prohibitively expensive.

It appears to me that a possible solution for the state, property and business owners, insurers and, indeed, charities is to define a plan for residents and businesses that are in this “Catch 22” situation: Let the state assist them in buying insurance cover going forward and stop all future development, without appropriate flood protection, in these areas.

This scheme could include loss of profits cover for farmers and businesses. Cover could be capped so the potential recoveries deal with ‘humanitarian’ issues if they arise. The claims would be dealt with by the insurance industry. The state would have no involvement in the process nor would the charities.

Ultimately, it should be clear to everyone that continuing to reside in flood zones carries a risk and that, over time, people should have the choice and wherewithal to move away from them.

Such a scheme would mean that the cost to the state could be evenly spread over time and insurers could remain on the pitch with all the structures to deal with this problem at no additional cost to them.

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Handling of Insurance Claims for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises [SMEs]

This article from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority provides confirmation of all of the claim issues that we see all of the time. Some of these issues are easily dealt with while some are not. The Executive Summary refers to “unregulated firms such as Loss Adjusters and Third Party Administrators (TPAs)” and are often involved in the claims process. The implication here is that this contributes to difficulties for the consumer/claimant.

The findings section speaks for itself, the main issues being:

  1. who should drive the claim?
  2. significant under insurance (Para 1-14).

Our view is that the insurer is in the driving seat. They write the policy, they control payments, they deal with all background investigation into disclosure & claims history, warranty & liability investigation and forensic investigation. Clearly a mine field.

It is clear that the claimant must, in any claim situation, have access to specialist claim advice. It is only then that the pitch is levelled to some degree.

Prepare for strong winds and cold temperatures this winter

Follow these tips to help prepare for high winds and freezing temperatures this winter.

When strong winds are forecast:

  • Make sure that the property is well maintained and drains are cleared regularly
  • Roofs should be inspected regularly for loose slates/tiles and poor guttering.
  • Trees should be maintained and dead/vulnerable branches should be removed.
  • Outdoor items such as patio heaters, furniture, barbeques, bins and animal feeders should be secured or securely stored.
  • Gates, doors, sheds and fences should all be closed and locked.

What you should do after a storm:

  • Contact Clearys Loss Assessors on 1850 28 1850 to register any claim for damage and any discuss repair work required.
  • Do not re-enter structurally damaged buildings until advised that it safe to do so.

article-2530915-1A586FB200000578-664_964x641Preparing for freezing temperatures:

A burst pipe in your attic, if unaddressed, can be as devastating as a flood through the front door. It probably represents the greatest risk posed to your home by freezing conditions. Freeze thaw action can also cause structural damage.

How to prepare for the freeze:

  • Lag/insulate outdoor pipes, attic tanks and supply pipes.
  • If a property is unoccupied, the water should be shut. Run the hot taps to drain the attic tank. If your home is unoccupied for any period during cold weather, leave the heating on to protect pipes from freezing and bursting.
  • Open the attic door to allow heat into your attic. This helps to prevent the pipework and tanks in your attic from freezing.
  • Leave the underside of the attic tank un-insulated to allow warm air to reach the tank.

In the event of a burst pipe:

  • Turn off the water supply immediately.
  • Turn off water dependent appliances including your boiler.
  • If the water leak is from the attic/above ceiling level, turn off the water supply and turn on all hot taps to drain remaining water out of attic tanks as quickly as possible.
  • Engage a professional immediately to stem any flow and make repairs to prevent further damage.
  • Report the incident to Clearys Loss Assessors immediately and do not effect any permanent repairs until all damage has been assessed and repairs are agreed with us.
  • If appliances are affected, turn off the power at the mains board if safe to do so.

In the event of a leak:

  • Retain all damaged material as it may be crucial to establishing the nature of loss, assessing damage and validating your claim.
  • Contact Clearys Loss Assessors on 1850 28 1850 to register any claim for damage and to discuss repair work required.
  • Ventilate, gently heat and dehumidify the property.
  • Do not re-engage utilities until they have been checked by a competent and qualified professional.

What you should do if your property is affected by frost damage.

Frost damage is one of the risks of property ownership that many people overlook. Of course, if your property is well constructed and you live in a temperate climate, you probably don’t have anything to worry about. But even so, the last few winters in Ireland have been especially harsh with more and more incidences of frost damage occurring. So what should you do if your property suffers from frost damage?

Frozen Pipe

The most detrimental side effect of frost damage is burst water pipes, especially underground pipes. Not only can this lead to further problems such as high water bills, but there is no way of telling where the burst is or how bad it is without the help of some expert professionals, so it pays to be prepared. As a preventative measure, you should ensure that your property is adequately insulated, especially the roof. You should also consider insulating the walls.

In the event of frost damage, it is vital that you turn off all taps completely, as drips can freeze and block the pipe, adding further hold-ups and possibly damage. Also ensure that all stop taps and valves have been switched off or closed. Next, you should thaw any exposed pipes by placing a cloth soaked in hot water over them, or alternatively, a filled hot water bottle. Do your best to keep the property warm; use electric heaters if you have reason to believe your heating pipes may be damaged from the frost also (although this is unlikely if the heating been used recently).

The next step is to contact an underground leak detection professional who can search for any inaccessible pipe damage. At this point, you should also contact a loss assessor who will visit the property, gather records and make an inventory of damage, estimating the amount of losses as a result. Once the loss assessor’s survey is complete, you can submit an insurance claim and commence repair works; however, be sure to keep records of what repairs are carried out and all details about them, as this will aid your claim.

Once any damage has been repaired and your insurance claim has been processed, it is worth investing in pipe insulation to avoid a repeat occurrence. This is best done after the adverse weather has improved so it can be completed without delay and will not have any further impact on your property.