Stephanie Corona: The Fire Fighter of the Insurance World

Stephanie Corona- The Fire Fighter of the Insurance World

In 2024, Texas witnessed one of its most severe wildfire seasons to date. The Smokehouse Creek Fire alone engulfed over 1.059 million acres, making it the largest blaze in recent history. This catastrophic event left several communities in ruins, displacing hundreds of families and burning 70% to 80% of homes in some neighborhoods to the ground.

That said, beneath the layers of smoke and ash, another challenge looms for those affected: navigating the complex world of fire insurance claims. Many find themselves overwhelmed by the intricacies of the claims process, often resulting in claim settlements that fall short of expectations.

The Crucial Role of Fire Insurance Claims

Fire insurance claim coverage can be a lifeline for those trying to rebuild their lives after such devastation. However, the process is seldom straightforward. From assessing the damage to negotiating with insurance companies, the path to fair compensation is fraught with obstacles.

Since people have little to no experience dealing with such issues, they often feel helpless and at the mercy of their insurance company. Many don’t have the energy left to fight for their rightful claim due to already pent-up emotional distress in the aftermath of the disaster.

It’s here that the expertise of a public adjuster becomes invaluable. These individuals can help build a policyholder’s case for more compensation by clearing up confusion and properly handling the claim process professionally.

They can guide policyholders through the claims process to make sure they don’t miss any crucial step and document everything that will lead to a higher claim. They’re much like firefighters, protecting policyholders from the blaze of insurance company representatives and underinsurance.

But, before we discuss the role of public adjusters, let’s understand the fire claims process through the lens of fire claims expert Stephanie Corona

Understanding the Damage and Claim Process

Stephanie Corona- The Fire Fighter of the Insurance
Photo Courtesy: Richard Chastain

Stephanie, a seasoned public adjuster and co-founder of ClaimsMate is well-versed in the nuances of fire claims. According to her, fire damage can vary widely. Some fires may destroy a property entirely, while others cause more subtle yet pervasive damage, like smoke and soot infiltration. Each case will require a different approach and result in a different claim process and settlement.

While the claims process can differ according to the damage caused, Stephanie outlines the typical steps involved in a fire damage insurance claim:

Securing the Scene: Ensure everyone’s safety and take immediate measures to prevent further damage if it is safe to do so. If you are concerned for your safety in any way, call a professional to secure the property.

Initiating the Claim: Contact your insurer to start the process and obtain a claim number.

Assessment by the Adjuster: An insurance adjuster will inspect the damage and hopefully guide you in your next steps, possibly recommending immediate temporary measures.

Receiving Emergency Funds: Insurers may provide funds to cover immediate needs such as alternative living arrangements, clothing, and food.

Obtaining Repair Estimates: Once you receive your approved estimate from your insurance carrier, it is time to see if you can find a contractor to make the necessary repairs for the settlement that has been approved. If not, it is time to reach out to a Public Adjuster.

Documentation: Keeping detailed records of all expenses and damages is crucial for supporting your claim. Take photos immediately after the fire, if possible, to show an overview of each room that is damaged and the contents in that room and their placement. Do not throw anything away until it has been approved by your insurance carrier and you have the money. If they tell you it is ok to discard your contents, but you don’t have approval, do not do this. Once the items are disposed of, if they are not approved, it is often difficult to get them approved.

Full Property Inspection: Check for unseen damage, as fire impacts can extend beyond the obvious areas. This is another time to reach out to a public adjuster. They have the experience to find damages that you might not know exist.

Why Choose a Public Adjuster?

Stephanie notes that, while professional, your insurance company’s adjuster may be conditioned to minimize the company’s financial exposure. This inherent conflict of interest can lead to lower compensation offers. On the contrary, public adjusters like herself operate independently of insurance companies, advocating solely for the policyholder’s interests.

Benefits of Hiring a Public Adjuster:

Comprehensive Support: They manage the entire claim process, from documentation to final negotiations.

Maximizing Settlements: Public adjusters often secure far higher payouts than initial offers from insurance companies. Even if you received a check for the total amount of your policy, there is often coverage above that for items you don’t know exist.

Expert Oversight: They ensure that all repair work is completed to a high standard, restoring the property to its pre-loss condition.

Objective Valuations: Providing impartial assessments of damage and repair costs.

While the Texas wildfires of 2024 have left deep scars on the landscape and its people, the road to recovery, though challenging, can be made easier with the right support. Public adjusters like Stephanie Corona play a pivotal role in this journey, ensuring victims receive the compensation necessary to rebuild their lives and homes.

As we look to the future, the importance of understanding and utilizing the resources available through insurance claims will undoubtedly become even more significant in mitigating the impacts of such devastating events.

Published by: Nelly Chavez


This article features branded content from a third party. Opinions in this article do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of CEO Weekly.