Ten Commandments (Recommendations) of Settling Tree Claims

Insurance
Across my desk came the assignment for the insured claim of irreparably damaging a protected tree during construction. It seems as though the construction personnel, shall we say, drifted across the tree barricades and smacked a protected tree but good. The government arborist cited code violations and a six-figure number for mitigation. There were pictures. Lots of them. And, yes, there was damage for certain. But was the damage irreversible or irreparable? And what of the fine for the tree loss, to the extent the tree was a total loss? The adjuster was justifiably confused. If the damage were to a car, there would be no questions as to clarity. What is the year, make, and model of the car? How many miles had been racked up? What condition was…
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Acts of God and Other Silly Notions of Trees

Acts of God and Other Silly Notions of Trees

Insurance
If you are in the business of adjusting insurance claims, you have no doubt heard this scenario numerous times: “There was this incredible wind out of nowhere, and the next thing I knew my huge tree fell through my roof.” Another often repeated theme goes like this: “It must’ve been a bolt of lightning! It hit the tree by my garage and the tree crashed down on my car!”   While the story changes from time to time, the general theme is that an act of God caused my tree to fail. If you are lucky, it is “just” property damage. If you’re not so lucky, it’s a death or injury. In any and all cases, acts of God are a rare occurrence. Certainly there are the vicissitudes and inclementicies of…
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If a Tree Fell in the Woods, Would an Insurance Agent Hear It?

If a Tree Fell in the Woods, Would an Insurance Agent Hear It?

Insurance
It is an amazing phenomenon to observe from afar. Extremely intelligent and well-versed insurance professionals handling claims become immobile when a tree or landscape issue comes before them. Their eyes glaze over. Their right hand goes to their chin. Their eyebrows rise. They ponder, what to do? Given that the tree or landscape did not kill or injure someone (which is an entirely different matter altogether), the agent is left with the task of paying the claim, denying it, or attempting to seek help in the marketplace to verify the casualty opinion of value. Claims sit on a desk for a year or more because the agent is frozen in a state of confusion. Resentment from the insured rises as his claim is not paid. The company name becomes tarnished.…
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