Q: I am a newly elected board member of our community’s condominium association. As a result of Hurricane Irma, we experienced substantial damages. We are still in the midst of dealing with the insurance claims process, almost 2 years later. Do you have any tips to make sure we, as board members, are properly doing our job in the handling of our insurance claim?
J.R., Delray Beach
A. Yes. You may want to consider hiring a public adjuster and a law firm that regularly handles insurance claim negotiation who will advocate on your behalf with the insurance company. We have found public adjusters to be very skilled at obtaining significantly more money from the insurance company than originally offered on the claim. Public adjusters typically charge a percentage of the increase they are able to negotiate beyond the initial offer from the insurance company. You should also stay in close communication with your insurance agent throughout the claims process.
Q: There are rumors floating around that our condominium does not have enough insurance in the event of a hurricane or other casualty. How can we determine if the Board is maintaining sufficient insurance?
S.D., Fort Pierce
A: The insurance policies, quotes and all other related insurance information including appraisals are official records of the Association and you, as a member of the Association, are entitled to make copies of such records. So, first you should make a written request to inspect and copy the records and deliver the request to the manager or the Board. The Association has 10 business days following receipt of the written request to provide you access to the records. Additionally, the Condominium Act, Section 718.111(11)(a) requires the Association to obtain an appraisal of the building at least every 36 months and then insure the building for the full replacement value based on the appraisal. You should be able to determine from the appraisal and policy limits if the building is being adequately insured.
John C. Goede Esq. is co-founder and shareholder of the Law firm Goede, DeBoest & Cross, PLLC. T o ask questions about your issues for future columns, send your inquiry to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The information provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The publication of this article does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Goede, DeBoest & Cross, PLLC or any of our attorneys. Readers should not act or refrain from acting based upon the information contained in this article without first contacting an attorney, if you have questions about any of the issues raised herein. The hiring of an attorney is a decision that should not be based solely on advertisements or this column.