I am a contractor or construction design professional
While a property damage and casualty loss may provide for significant projects, these can be a hornet’s nest. We provide the following services which can assist you in procuring work, performing the work and remedies for getting paid for your work:
Review of your insurance policies and your ability to qualify for bonding
When you take on new work, of any type, making sure you have the proper types of coverage, realistic deductibles and commercially reasonable limits is essential. You also will want to explore your ability to qualify for bonding, whether on public projects or on private projects that will require payment and performance bonds. Your bonds and insurance policies are written by the insurance industry and can be difficult to navigate. We urge everyone, whether or not you are taking new jobs due to loss from a hurricane, to set a consultation, for a flat fee, to have us review your coverage with you. We can explain some of the common traps contained in the policy and direct you to provisions that are buried in the policy which you need to be aware of. Our goal is to give you an understanding of what is insured, what is not insured and your basic obligations under your policy. We also want to be able to go through the basics of bonding and why it may be necessary to obtain work from insurers.
Working with you and the insurance adjuster
On each job where insurance is involved, your work will be reviewed by an adjuster or by an insurance company contractor. They set the prices, make the payments and tell you whether or not they will pay for all or some of your work. They tell you whether your work is up to par or not. This results in scheduling difficulties, hold ups in payment, and being forced to take less money than your work is worth. Let us help you with the dialogue with the insurer.
Claims filing and supplementation
An owner’s insurance claim must be timely filed and supplemented as you or they discover new damage. A frequent excuse for denial of a claim by an insurer is the failure to timely report or discover damage. Let us review the process with you so you can help your customer act with the diligence that their policy requires.
Construction liens are a powerful tool for obtaining payment. However, the construction lien law landscape gets more complex every year. With hurricane claims, we contract with owners, property managers, associations, companies, tenants, and countless others, all of whom may or may not limit your ability to lien a property. The types of property, the types of services, the language of your contract and countless other factors determine whether or not you have lien rights, and, if you do, how to perfect those lien rights. Done incorrectly, a lien can be deemed unenforceable or fraudulent and lead to licensure complications, large damages measures and even criminal complaints. Let us help you through the lien process from the time of contract through recording and lien enforcement.
Your customer’s property needs to be secured and their losses mitigated so that they can preserve as much of their house and contents as possible. Will doing work outside of their insurance void your coverage? Will their insurance company reimburse you for these repairs? How does this tie in to the owner’s obligations under your contract? Allow us to guide you on these gray area issues.
How to Avoid the Fight to Obtain Your Final Draw and Retainage
The job is going great and the owner thinks you are phenomenal. The work is substantially complete and it is time for payment of that final draw and release of any retainage. Suddenly, the work is terrible, you were never on time and your labor was unqualified to do this job. Always a fight to obtain that final draw and release any retainage. There are methods by which you can arm yourself for this fight in your contract and during the course of the job. Let us share our ideas and methodology with you to prep yourself before you find you are about to give up your overhead and profit.
Assignments of Benefits
Many restoration or related contracts contain a benefits assignment provision wherein you take over as the claimant on the owner’s insurance policy. The technical complications are not only multiplying as the insurance industry exploits minor details in assignment language, but, some policy provisions are not assignable and some insurers stretch you out on payment knowing you will eventually take less than what you are owed. We have experience dealing with the insurers and in trying to keep the owner on the hook for amounts not paid or not payable from the insurer.
Unlicensed contracting and disciplinary actions
While all in the industry are eager to obtain work, please make sure you are licensed in the jurisdiction where the work is being done for the type of work you are performing. We have experience in construction industry licensing and disciplinary actions and can help you navigate through issues which may lead to a potential claim. Remember, if you are not considered licensed in a jurisdiction, there may be no obligation on the part of the owner or insurer to pay you for the work. Let us help you avoid these problems.
Every job needs a written contract. Not only are there statutory mandatory provisions for construction contracts, but, a contract is your one chance to reduce your risk of non-payment and reduce your risk of adverse claims. When was the last time your contract was reviewed by an attorney or otherwise updated? We have extensive experience in reviewing and drafting contracts for all those in the construction industry. Let us put our knowledge to use for your benefit. Paying to have the right contract up front may save you tenfold if a job goes awry.
Does it matter that the owner has a mortgage on their house?
Absolutely. The mortgage contains complex provisions for what happens in the event of a loss due to a hurricane, and the lender may largely control the process by which the structure is repaired or rebuilt. The lender may also be an additional insured on the insurance policy. This can slow down or alter the course of the insurance payouts and timely getting the work done. We have experience dealing with lenders in these instances and want to help you navigate the process so that the lender is only exercising the control over the work and insurance proceeds that they are legally entitled to and not unreasonably holding up your payments.
The property/unit is in a community where there is a condo or homeowners association.
This may mean there are multiple policies, which cover the Owner’s damages, and where your payment may come from. This also may mean that the association:
- May control the pace and type of work done;
- May tell the Owner who is allowed to do the work;
- May require submittals to the Board or its Committees to approve the proposed work; and
- May have the right to inspect the work done. These concepts and the laws surrounding them are very technical. We have been through this from both the owner’s side, contractor’s side and the association’s side. We can assist you in understanding the process and working with the association.
Preservation of evidence of the loss
When an owner incurs a loss, and at each point during the repairs being made, you need to help the owner make a record. We can help explain to you the best practices to use to preserve your evidence of the existence of a loss and that the damage was repaired. This is also crucial where the insurer or owner claims that repairs were not made properly and we can assist you with defending the defective construction claim and with obtaining coverage for such a claim from your CGL carrier.
Preparing for the next storm or weather event
We have dealt with property and casualty claims and know what steps are prudent and necessary to take. Let us help you in formulating a plan to put you in a better position to mobilize quickly should this locale ever suffer another extensive loss due to a weather event.
Liquidate damages and delay claims
These are huge dollar figure claims that accrue each day work is not timely performed. The delays may not be your fault, but rather a result of the owner, association, insurer or others working on the job. Let us help you with strategies to proactively avoid these claims and how to properly document critical path deviations.