As many of you know, we had a flood in the salon last month. The last few weeks have been a great learning experience in dealing with the “insurance process.” For me, it has been a terrible experience and I wanted to share some knowledge I gained, possibly making it easier should you find yourself in this situation.
I have great insurance, but because the flood originated in a neighboring shop, I decided to try to deal with their company, (The Hartford), in order to get the shop damage repaired. Their agent, Larry Stewart, was rude, uncaring and essentially unresponsive. He even told me in a phone conversation, that if I wanted customer service, I should call my own company.
Now remember, THEIR client flooded MY salon, and ruined what I’ve worked 21 years to build! I was also told they did not cover “replacement”, and the damaged contents would be depreciated. After taking a week to respond to the claim, they used a subcontractor. They don’t even employ their own claims adjusters! The adjuster spent ten minutes in the salon, took a few pictures and left.
Frustrated, I contacted my own agent, Trey Abercrombie, who was caring and wonderful. I have Travelers Insurance and a great policy because his father, Jim Abercrombie, took the time to be sure I had the right policy coverage. He sent a fantastic claims adjuster, Jim Weaver, who responded within 24 hours. He spent over an hour examining and documenting the damage. His helpful attitude and concern was so comforting during an extremely stressful time, and was quite the contrast to Larry Stewart of The Hartford. Mr. Weaver stayed in contact with me almost daily, always trying to help in any way he could.
In addition, I choose to try to remain open so we could service our clients that we care deeply about; not close for 3 weeks and use the lost income portion of my policy.
This experience has taught me a few lessons that would have made this process run more smoothly:
- If you have Hartford insurance cancel it now. After 42 years as a business owner, dealing with them has been the worst experience I’ve ever encountered!
- Be sure you have replacement coverage and enough to actually cover everything you own.
- Document what you have in your home or business…open all drawers, cabinets, closets, etc.. Take photos and write up a current inventory list with model numbers when appropriate.
- Understand the company’s required proof of property.
- Find out if the insurance company has their own adjusters, or if they sub them out.
- Ask about the time frame expected from the company for the adjuster to come for damage assessment.
Let me say, which company and coverage you choose makes a BIG difference!
I’ve spent countless hours at the salon putting it back together and getting our stations repaired, but we are almost there. I’m hoping some of this information will help you if you ever need the insurance you pay for monthly. In my case it has been 21 years for this salon!