Recently I did a presale inspection and subsequently came across hail damage. I had been recommended by the neighbor whom only knows be through a mutual friend.
The home owner notified their insurance company which came out and validated my findings. Word got out and other people in the neighborhood started getting their roofs inspected and replaced. I advised the neighbor who recommended me to contact his insurance as well.
They came out at first and couldn’t get on the roof,…eventually sent out one of their specialist who said no damage. I did an investigative inspection (no charge) and noted hail damage. Advised owner to contact his agent and give report to same and that should clear it up…so far I have been batting 100% on these type of inspections.
I was contacted by an Erie Ins. adjuster / investigator to meet him at the site to evaluate the roof. I got there early and marked up same…of course when he got there it was evident that his mind was already made up by the statements and questions he asked.
The jist of it all is that this is your typical Haag inspector (3 day school) who works for insurance companies and claims everything is “heat blisters”. Obviously I disagreed asked if he new what causes blisters…other than heat and some manufacturer defects he couldn’t answer. I asked him if the course he took went over how anomalies are caused as well as any extensive discussions on proper venting… other than a deer caught in head lights, he said very little. (I would be curious to find out if they do explain how improper ventilation can severely impact a roof and who to look for).
I pointed out both anomalies (scuffs, tears, faster burns etc) and hail damage as well. He did not like that I had a large drywall knife to lift up shingles, he said was invasive however I advised him that my investigative inspections are more extensive and can be invasive.
He stated several of my alleged hail damage marks were simply fastener burns…of course with knife in hand it showed him that indeed they were not…he then tried to explain that it was heat blister (I call this leap frogging…jumping from one lilly pad to the other).
It was like a verbal chess game except I could answer his questions but he could not answer mine. It is obvious that some of these guys that work for insurance companies can not deviate from their learned script.
After I enlightened him on the importance of establishing weather the roof was properly ventilated (which it was) he finally asked his cohort to join him upon the roof to which the guy (probably a rookie) only said that it was blisters which is common on southern side of roofs in the south and that 95% of roofs look like this. I advised them I have installed thousands of square of shingles, built over a hundred homes from Ohio, Virginia, Indiana and North Carolina…not to mention the number of homes I have inspected and have yet to see a pattern where 95% of all southern slopes have heat blisters…talk about BS.
He asked my opinion on Haag (course) for which I told them they have some good material from what I have seen however many of their students are parroting the premise that Haag uses to help insurance companies negate a claim that being that granule loss is not important and furthermore that just because the mineral mat is exposed does not adversely affect the roof to which I disagree (I didnt even go into detail about the purpose of granules).
I advised him that there is no way a person who has no understanding of roofing systems, including ventilation systems etc… can take a 3 day course and be an expert. Its no different than a person getting their GC license here in NC and then taking a 1- 2 day seminar in becoming a home inspector and then presto…they are magically knowledgable inspectors…its simply crazy. He advised he is not an expert or an engineer. I told him strange how your company tells that to their clients…that their roofing expert or engineer will be out to review same.
(all got quite again…)
After awhile it was obvious that these guys were not going to jump from their heat blister lilly pad.
When all was said and done the homeownes were livid at the insurance representatives and is looking at contacting a lawyer and suing them.
(the homeowner himself is a master carpenter with over 20 years of experience…from framing, to roofing, remodeling…so you can imagine he was not happy about their BS).
I can not speak for others but it is my experience that Erie Ins. has an highly unusual rate of denying hail damage claims…especially one where it is evident. I would be curious if any other inspectors have come across similar experiences.
Strangely I did speak with another adjuster today who handles about 30 insurance companies and he said off the record that there is quite a bit of pressure put on by some claim managers to deny or negate as many claims as possible which is what I suspect is happening with Erie, especially in this area where we have been hit my at least 4 extensive hail storms that I know of within the last 14 months.
Anyway, now that I am done venting I think I will go play chess… and eat my Oreo cookies…mmmmmmmmmmmm : )