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Protecting Home Inspectors from Meritless Claims

There is nothing like a road trip for restoring your faith in the future of this country and reminding you that, despite our manifold problems, the present is pretty awesome, too.

As I write this, I am sitting at the departure gate for my flight home to Philadelphia after having spent a few extra days in New Hampshire and Maine following the presentation of the Law and Disorder Seminar to about 25 home inspectors at the ASHI Northern New England Chapter’s Spring Conference in Eliot, Maine.

The inspectors who came to this seminar were all seasoned veterans and virtually all of them had had one or more bad experiences with an unreasonable client, a cowardly insurance company, an unprofessional real estate agent or a vindictive seller that had caused them considerable agita and cost them lots of money. In other words, this was a sampling with a margin of error of zero.

This, of course, is not exactly terra incognita to me. I am accustomed to inspectors being shocked, shocked that their insurance company would pay a bogus claim, or would immediately offer their deductible to the complaining former client, or would assign them an attorney “who didn’t seem to know anything about home inspections” and who would churn the file, running up legal fees for years, before eventually caving in and settling the case for “nuisance value.”

And I am completely inured to the astonished reaction from veteran inspectors who are hearing for the very first time in their inspection careers that there is no longer any reason for them to stand for this nonsense. That there is a new sheriff in town! That their days of routinely refunding inspection fees are over!

While my message is a breath of fresh air, it is also a trifle overwhelming because it is such a disconnect from the fairy tales that they are accustomed to hearing from insurance company lawyers who infest industry conferences. And that is because the interests of those lawyers are diametrically opposed to the interests of the inspector.

The inspector wants the claim to die aborning. That is the absolute last thing that an insurance company lawyer wants to see for reasons that should be surpassingly obvious.

My interests, one cannot fail to apprehend, are perfectly aligned with the home inspector’s. We both want the claim to go away. And pronto!

And that is exactly what has happened in 97% of the over 500 claims that inspectors have asked me to respond to in the last seven years.

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