When home inspectors contact me to squash a claim, there are three documents that I always ask for: All correspondence with the claimant, the Inspection Report and the Inspector’s Inspection Agreement. These documents essentially constitute the “claim file” and invariably provide a torrent of reasons why the claim will fail.
After having sucessfully dispatched over 300 home inspection claims since 2006, I never expect a claim to have any merit and my expectations are never dashed. Of course, claimants and their attorneys, by and large, do not regard the mere fact that a claim has no legitimate predicate as any obstacle to making it. Indeed, their most frequently and fervently expressed desire is that the inspector “turn [the claim] over to your insurance company.”
And who can blame them? After all, most insurance companies operating in the home inspector professional liability field do not regard the mere fact that a claim has no legitimate predicate as any obstacle to throwing money at it. As long as the amount does not exceed the insured’s deductible, that is.
Those two well-established modi operandi of claimants and insurers constitute incontrovertible evidence for many inspectors that having professional liability insurance merely “puts a target on your back.” If only not having professional liability insurance removed the target from your back, what a wonderful world this would be! [For a discussion of why it doesn’t, go here.]
Fortunately, there’s me. And the Lockton Affinity Professional Liability Program. No home inspection claimant is going to get money thrown at them while I continue to draw breath.
Recently, a home inspector in Florida who has a multi-inspector firm contacted me to respond to two claims. Both claims were ridiculous on their face, but this inspector had armed himself with a strong Inspection Agreement that, inter alia, barred claims that are brought more than one year from the date of the inspection.
So, in addition to telling the claimants’ attorneys that the inspector had not been negligent, I could also state that, even had he been, the claim was untimely.
The inspector was not even aware that he had had this provision in his agreement.
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