As I was writing that headline, the thought struck me that many readers might not be familiar with the Mad Men-era advertising invention. For those benighted youngsters, in ubiquitous television commercials of the day, Brand X was the competing product that left ring around the collar, caused soapy buildup and dry lifeless hair. In real life, Brand X E and O Insurance Companies for home inspectors are ones that can cost you a small fortune.
A veteran home inspector recently called me about a claim that he had only the day before turned into his insurance company. He advised the company that he wanted to engage his own attorney to respond to the claim. The company told him not to do that; that it would handle the claimant. That, the inspector told me, was what he was afraid of.
The claim, of course. was completely ridiculous and involved the inspector’s alleged failure to advise the claimant that the supports for an elevated deck were inadequate. By the time that the claimant notified the inspector of the issue, she had already completed the “repairs”.
The inspector had, in fact, not only called out the issue in considerable detail in his report but had attached multiple photographs to the report to substantiate his observations. Moreover, he had called out about 100 other issues with this property.
In other words, despite this inspector’s yeomanlike efforts on this client’s behalf to prevent her from purchasing the Money Pit, she moved on full steam ahead. And now, she wants the inspector to pay for her stupidity.
What was giving the inspector agita was his previous experience with this Brand X E and O insurer for home inspectors. A few years prior, he conducted an inspection of a commercial facility which had a thickly carpeted hallway with padding underneath. After the carpet was removed, a one-inch drop over a substantial run was uncovered – literally. Obviously, there is no way that that could have been discovered prior to the removal of the carpeting.
Equally obviously, that’s the sort of claim that requires a firm, take-no-prisoners response that leaves no doubt in the claimant’s or her attorney’s mind that the claim will be energetically resisted and defeated, following which the inspector will unleash hell on everyone involved in prosecuting it.
Instead, Brand X Insurance Company paid the claimant $14,000, $5,000 of which was the inspector’s deductible. Ouch!
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