My last post prompted this response from a Florida Home Inspector:
I also experience a claim wherein a buyer, who just so happened to be a litigation attorney, stated that there were damages to the roof in a specific location in the house he had just purchased, which we inspected.
He demanded that he be provided with our insurance company, policy #, phone number, and address of same. Did not want a phone call, a visit from us, or to discuss the matter whatsoever.
We had perfectly described the roof leak at the home he was purchasing, taken adequate photos and put them in the report, as well as described the faults to his face when he was there for the walkthrough at the end of the home inspection. We covered ourselves by putting in the disclaimers, some provided by InterNachi lawyers, and some we have put in over the years, something to the effect of “recommend further evaluation by State of Florida licensed roofing contractor”, etc.
After our inspection insurance company, and their lawyer contacted us about the claim of $6,000, we were told by our attorney that they would be sending out a claims adjuster to visit with us to further describe the detail of our Inspection Report.
Our lawyer advised us that they would probable settle for the amount of the claim, so as not to have to go to court over such a matter, because going to court to defend us would cost far more than the claim amount!! I was shocked.
I said to our attorney, so even though we did everything we were supposed to do by documenting the fault, taking pictures, and having spoken with the buyer at the walkthrough about the evidence of a roof leak, that we were expected to settle the claim, EVEN THOUGH WE DID NOTHING WRONG!
The claims adjuster said that after having met with us, and seeing the report we sent to the buyer, along with appropriate photos, and hearing what we said to the buyer at the
walkthrough, that he met with the buyer also, who was now the homeowner, and he (the claims adjuster) determined that there was no grounds for the claim.
Our lawyer representing our insurance company settled the claim in the amount of $6,000 in favor of the homeowner (previously was the buyer).
Where is the justice for home inspectors?
We can do everything by the Standards of Practice, and document, document, document, and still get screwed.
We now show this as a loss run which makes for a higher insurance premium, and we did nothing wrong.
The lawyer representing us said that this lawyer (the buyer of the home) probably already has this planned before he even dialed our number for a home inspection. This is the line of work that he was in as a litigation attorney, and unfortunately, knows the system and that the insurance company would settle the claim in his favor even though we, the home inspector, were not at fault.
Unfortunately that is a quite common result for home inspectors across this great nation. And one that I have personally put an end to.
In my practice, I represent both plaintiffs and defendants and when I am representing a plaintiff, this is what I want to happen. I want to send a demand letter and get a check back by return mail.
I want the recipient of my demand letter to turn that letter over to his insurance carrier so that the next person that I hear from is a claim adjuster who, if I have done my job of fact-gathering, will rapidly conclude that the case is a loser and start negotiating exactly how big a loss it is going to be.
That’s what lawyers who represent home inspectors’ clients want to happen, too. The difference is that their claims, unlike my clients’ claims, never have any merit.
So they want to hear from a claim adjuster, too, so they can negotiate their bogus claim against the claim adjuster’s desire not to spend any money defending the meritless claim.
What they absolutely do not want is to hear from me telling them that their claim has no merit and that, should they be foolish enough to prosecute it, the inspector is fully prepared to defend the claim and, following their certain vanquishment at trial, to seek retributive justice. In spades.
Ninety-seven percent of them get the message and fold their tents.
If you are tired of your insurance company’s cave-in philosophy, you need to be insured through Lockton Affinity which is the only home inspector insurance program that fully endorses my approach to these ridiculous claims. While that should be reason enough for inspectors to want to have their E & O insurance with Lockton Affinity, here’s another one. When an inspector purchases E & O Insurance from Lockton Affinity, he puts a little money in my family’s pocket and supports my work on behalf of home inspectors at no expense to himself.
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