According to loss consulting firm Adjusters International, when a hurricane damaged Marty Saturn’s Marriott Hotel in Key West, Florida, he had two concerns—keeping his customers happy and his hotel running. That is why he turned to outside assistance in the form of professional loss consultants who advocate for the insured.
“I never shut down so I needed to focus on my customers. Frankly, dealing with insurance policies was not my first priority,” recalls Saturn, executive vice president of Meisel & Cohen Properties, the national real-estate investment firm who owned the hotel.
In addition to keeping the focus on his business, Saturn also believes that professional loss consultants can save businesses substantial money. “Insurance policies are complex, so you need someone to advocate for you who understands all the ins and outs,” he said.
Saturn turned to Adjusters International, which works on behalf of the insured, assessing and documenting losses and assisting in the settlement of property claims. Currently in Florida helping respond to recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Charley, the company has helped businesses recover from Hurricanes Andrew, Isabel, Hugo, Marilyn and Iniki; the Mexico and California earthquakes; the Midwest flood; and the Oklahoma City and World Trade Center disasters.
“Our philosophy is—don’t suffer twice—once from the initial crisis and again when trying to recover,” said Ronald Cuccaro, president and CEO of Adjusters International. “A professional loss consultant lets you leave worries about insurance in the hands of experts so you can get your business back up and running.” Cuccaro said taking immediate action can be psychologically helpful while minimizing the financial impact of a disaster and improving the chances for recovery.
He suggests four initial steps: First, move quickly to protect property from further damage; Second, establish a claim-management team with one spokesperson; Third, set up a post- loss plan to protect your operations and market; And fourth, notify customers, banks and suppliers, especially if you are still open for business because they may assume otherwise.
Mike Marshall, president of Marshall Management Inc., a hotel management firm, recommends one other step—hire a professional loss consultant.
“Settling with the insurance companies would have been a part-time job for me, and I had a company to run,” he said about his experiences after his Outer Banks resort was destroyed by a hurricane. “I didn’t even have the time to document damage properly. Adjusters International sent a team to document the issues and handle the claims, so we could get all that was coming to us while I kept the business going. Basically, they became one of my employees.”
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