How to recognize risks, focus on prevention, and report claims
The spring storm season is quickly approaching, and Mother Nature can be unruly at times. But you don’t have to be caught unprepared. When a storm causes damage to your property, our goal is to help you get your students back in the classroom and your operation back to normal.
You may need to work with a number of different contractors and individuals to get your property restored or replaced. This basic guide will help you know what to do and what to expect at every stage. Spring storms typically include hail, winds, and flooding, which lead to a high volume of claims being filed throughout Texas each year.
First things first
If your property has been hit by a storm, there are a few things you can do to right away to maintain a safe environment and prepare for the claim process:
- Secure the area and protect property against further damage.
- Cover building contents and other exposed property.
- Tell your adjuster immediately if you believe a building may be structurally unsafe.
- Board up broken windows, holes in walls, leaking roofs, and other areas exposed to damage.
- If emergency repairs are necessary, take photographs and keep a record of emergency repair costs. Both photos and receipts will be required for reimbursement.
- File a claim immediately (or as soon as possible). Failure to do so could result in late reporting coverage issues.
Reporting a claim
You can report a claim online. Call 800.482.7276 if you need assistance. We will begin assessing your damage upon receipt of the claim. A TASB adjuster will call you to discuss the details of the damages and provide you information regarding the claims process. An independent adjuster in your area will contact you to schedule your damage inspection.
A complete assessment of your claim may require inspections and consultations from multiple professionals, such as:
- TASB claims managers and/or representatives
- Independent adjusters
- Structural engineers
- General contractors
- Roofing specialists
- Other cleanup and restoration companies.
Look for contractors who provide a written estimate. In many cases, TASB may require Fund members to submit more than one written estimate for the covered damages.
An independent adjuster will conduct an initial inspection to assess the damage. The timeframe for this inspection to be completed depends on the severity of the damage. The inspections may be conducted by both an independent adjuster and/or engineer depending on the damages. When the initial inspections are complete, you will receive a written repair estimate. Your TASB adjuster will call you to explain details and answer any questions you may have. Remember, your TASB adjuster is available to help you throughout the claims process.
Our goal is to make your first payment within 60 days (or earlier) of the damage assessments. The initial payment amount will be based on the value of the damaged items or costs to repair them. Please keep in mind that the time of first payment will depend on the severity and complexity of the claim so it could take a little longer.
What is covered?
Once we have all reports, estimates, and documentation regarding the damages claimed, we will review for coverage. Our review includes both what was damaged, how it was damaged, and to what extent.
Here are the definitions of three key terms we use:
- Building refers to everything that is permanently part of the building; attached additions and extensions as well as fixtures, machinery, and equipment that is a permanent part of and pertains to the building’s purpose.
- Other structures include fences, light poles, bleachers, athletic fields, playground equipment, sheds, and signs.
- Personal property generally includes contents of the buildings and other structures that are owned by the Fund member, such as:
- Furniture and fixtures
- Books and education equipment or supplies
- Tools and sports equipment
- Landscape and maintenance equipment
- Electronic data processing equipment, including computers and related items
Common risks that could affect how hard your organization is impacted by a storm include:
- Exposure to building exterior windows, doors, and roofing
- Exposure to equipment and vehicles
- Power and business interruptions
- Inadequate emergency planning
Precautions taken throughout the year can help you prepare for and mitigate losses during spring storm season, including:
- Perform inspections at least twice a year or as required by warranties.
- Conduct additional inspections ahead of storms and after unusual events.
- Maintain all records and inspection reports.
- Establish rooftop control procedures, log roof access, and advise contractors to use caution with heavy tools and equipment.
- Inspect outdoor equipment prior to powering it on.
- Train staff to look for issues and report possible issues.
Important coverage information
Your coverage contains some limitations and exclusions. Refer to your Property Coverage Agreement for information. For details on your specific coverage, refer to your Contribution and Coverage Summary.
The Fund has additional information and tips about spring storm preparedness and recovery. Contact us for more information on what to do if you have experienced damage from spring storms.
Editor's note: This article was originally published in May 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.