I am most fortunate as an arborist to accept a large number of insurance claims for my review and comment. Sometimes I find myself across from the insurance companies. In this matter, an insurance company had refused a claim for approximately $88,000. An 18-wheeler had crossed the road and destroyed the front rows of a nursery plant display.
There was no doubt that the truck destroyed the plants and that the driver was at fault. Fortunately, no one was injured. The sticking point was the valuation of the damaged plants. Was the value to be wholesale or retail? The insured claimed retail; however, the plant appraiser for the insurance company rendered a wholesale value. The law seems to state that the plants’ value is the “as is, in-place value.” So because it is a retail business, the value should be retail.
I rendered my opinion of value at retail. But the bigger factor had been, in my opinion, the loss of species representation, that pesky little issue that is so often overlooked by plant appraisers and subsequent valuations.
Every nursery puts its best product closest to the road for visibility of passing motorists. Makes sense. And, often that representative product is of one species for a mass impact to the viewer. As customers patronizing the nursery come into the nursery proper to purchase product, they also purchase other items for sale. It’s much like when we go into a grocery store to pick up a gallon of milk, we often grab a few other items we think we need.
The same holds true for a plant/tree nursery. With the destruction of all plants in the first couple of rows also came the loss of sales from additional purchases that would have been made if not for the accident.
My opinion of value therefore included the lost revenue from the sales that would have been made but were not made due to the loss of the best-selling plants.
The insurance company settled the matter for over six figures. That was a wise decision as yet to be calculated were the replacement costs of the casualty plants that had to be purchased from a wholesale grower, a matter that would have added additional costs to the assignment.
If you are an agent with insurance claims for my review for plants, trees, or related product, my desk top review might be of great value to you. Perhaps you just have a question or two about your claims that you need some advice on.
I’m always available for a meeting to discuss your questions as a professional courtesy.