When your client’s home is damaged from a brutal storm or catastrophe, it often takes a fight to make them whole. If you’re an attorney, public adjuster, contractor, or building owner, you don’t have to stand against the insurance companies alone. Tom and Tim Simmons, Managing Members at Mission Property Loss Consultants, are the experts you need to best serve your customers.
Storms create weaknesses in even the strongest buildings and homes. They also expose everything wrong with the insurance claims industry. Attorneys, adjustors, and contractors in the insurance restoration space already know the hoops it takes to advocate on behalf of policy-holding clients. In the wake of catastrophes like Hurricane Ian, the whole country is now waking up to problems in the system.
For insight, we turned to Tom and Tim Simmons, both Managing Members at Mission Property Loss Consultants. Since Tom Simmons founded the company in 2019, they’ve estimated more than $3 billion in damages. The father-son duo also co-authored Secrets of Insurance Claims, a book that empowers policyholders with cutting-edge industry knowledge.
“Insurance based claims are not in everybody’s wheelhouse of expertise,” Tim Simmons explains. “A lot of people are leaving, much-needed money on the table.”
If you want an idea of just how much money is being left on the table, look no further than the impact left by Ian last September.
Ian was a whopping category 4, killed almost 150 people in Florida alone, and caused devastating damage to property owners across the sunshine state and beyond. Once the dust settled, the cost to homes and buildings went down in history: Ian is second only to 2005’s Katrina, with insured losses being upwards of $65 billion in Florida.
This is the part where America’s insurance companies swoop in to save the day, right? Not quite.
For property owners and families across Florida, it wasn’t just a long wait in line to file their insurance claim; the process failed to make many people whole again.
Reporting from Selim Algar of the NY Post reveals that “over a quarter of closed insurance claims in decimated Lee County have been denied.” Algar tells stories of split hairs between what is storm or flood damage, outright denial, and families being left living in tents and “on the brink of financial ruin.”
The question of storm vs. flood damage has long plagued the industry – and has left many homeowners out in the cold while separate coverers try and pass the buck.
“When you have documented sustained winds high enough to do damage to property roofs and exteriors,” Tom Simmons explains, “you’ll have water damage on the inside of people’s homes long before the flood ever reaches it. But when you have evidence of flooding, you can’t deny that. Usually, it’s what we call concurrent losses: flood damage insurance takes care of the flood line and below and wind insurance takes care of the flood line and higher. That is typically how different coverages are applied.”
“It’s a classic case,” Tim Simmons adds, “where better documentation is needed to clearly demonstrate the difference.”
Without this expertise present on site, this nuance leaves room for what we saw in Lee County: countless policy owners unable to get the insurance companies to issue proper payment.
If you’re involved with the insurance restoration business, either as a contractor or an attorney, this is just one of the many things to look out for.
Brianna Sacks, writing for The Washington Post, dives further on the issue, sharing an insider report from Jordan Lee, an insurance adjuster. While inspecting the home of a retired couple in Rotonda West, Lee calculated $200,000 in damages. 10 days later, Lee found that only $27,000 would go to the homeowners, with Lee’s name still on the final report (which was changed without his consent).
“Accuracy is critical,” Tim Simmons says. “These situations can greatly impact a family and set them back for years financially. The documentation has to be clear, presented correctly, sustained, and presented with redundancy.”
There’s a lot happening here – and it paints a picture why attorneys, public adjusters, and contractors need to be on their A-game when advocating for their client’s insurance claims. So how did we get here, and why has the claims process become so difficult for policyholders?
Tom Simmons believes that insurance companies have experienced a “brain drain.”
“The first-level adjusters have very little to no knowledge of construction and/or policy,” he explains. “They often misrepresent or misinterpret the policy. Very few are equipped with the knowledge to properly assess, document, write an estimate, and interpret the policy. They have their claims process very segregated and fragmented for plausible deniability.”
This isn’t an expose on the insurance business, just the recognition that they’re going to do what they can to help their business and shareholders. For the same reason, shouldn’t you find property loss consultants to best advocate for your clients?
Tom Simmons and Tim Simmons built the team of industry experts at Mission around this central problem. With Mission’s inspectors versed on both construction, building code requirements, and policy, clearer and more careful documentation is their key to helping people claim the losses they deserve.
This is, in part, why Mission has scaled so rapidly – 10X in the last six months alone. In the wake of storms such as Ian, contractors turn to their guidance to fill in the legal gaps, while attorneys can lean on their precision in assessing damage in the field. It’s a model that allows everyone to focus on what they’re good at, scale their operation, and ultimately do the best for clients left devastated by catastrophe.
Are you leaving money on the table for your policy-holding clients? With the right insight, you don’t have to.
To see what Mission Property Loss Consultants can do for your business and your clients, visit their website. For more insight on the insurance restoration industry, get a free digital copy of Secrets of Insurance Claims, co-authored by Tom and Tim Simmons.