It’s been three years since the Category 4 Hurricane, Irma, hit the Keys and swept up the western side of Florida. Residents in Miami-Dade felt the force, a Category 1 in this region. Local home and business owners sustained property damage, not to mention extended power loss, associated costs and the post-traumatic stress of a natural disaster hitting home. Within a few months, most were able to work through the repairs required. A handful though, are still fighting to repair what was lost.
Owner and VP of CMC Claim Consultants, Inc., Cristina and Michael Cordo, help to uncover the mystery behind insurance claims of this caliber. After years of battling, some are still stuck in a litigious purgatory, waiting to repair their property, waiting to regain costs, waiting to carry on with their lives. It happens every day and for different reasons. It could be a hurricane, a fire, a burst pipe, or any number of things gone wrong. “Our job is to help people get their lives back on track after disasters strike,” says Michael. “Most people don’t understand their policies, or how to navigate them. That’s where we come in.”
“We’re experts just like the insurance companies,” adds Cristina. “We make sure we maximize all the damages, taking everything into account, from door casings to outlets to behind the walls or the a/c unit. Everything adds up. We don’t get paid unless you do.”
A Tale of Two Claims
In many cases, as the above, policy owners faced with unpaid claims opt for the legal route. “I know clients still unresolved after five years,“ Michael explains. “In the meantime, what do you think is happening to their house? They’re pulling out loans, trying to fix patches, the extent of the damage just continues to snowball. Let’s not forget that attorneys get paid by the hour. Multiply that by 5 years and now you’re looking at a $1mm settlement.”
CMC offers an underused alternative not advertised by most insurance providers. Most policies have what’s called an Appraisal Clause. If you and your insurance company do not agree on the value of your claim or are still in disagreement on the damages to your property or the price to fix your damage, this is an alternative dispute resolution method that could expedite the settlement of your claim. It involves two sets of appraisers, one for the client and company respectively, plus a mutually agreed umpire to mediate the process so both parties can come to an agreement. “The appraisal process works,” Michael tells us. And the CMC reputation for this process is second to none, with licensed employees, and thus experience, in all three aspects as adjusters, appraisers and umpires.
The Appraisal Process
Let’s say you file a claim for property damage. Then the insurance company offers a small amount of money. Most people accept this and move on for various reasons; they don’t want the fight, don’t know the true extent of the damage, or perhaps they’re simply thankful they got anything at all. The good news is that by the money exchanging hands – no matter how small – the insurance company has essentially admitted fault. Invoke Appraisal Clause. Now you can get a full unbiased home appraisal, performed by an adjuster of your choosing, like CMC, to assess the true extent of any damages done. The insurance company will do the same. After the inspections, everyone meets with the predetermined umpire to come to terms. Because the insurance company has essentially already admitted fault, the negotiating balance of power shifts. The process stays out of court, and costs the policy holder nothing if they’re unable to recoup damages – unlikely the case.
Advice for Policyholders
“Double check your policy,” advises Cristina. There seems to be a trend towards people taking insurance discounts, ones they don’t always understand. A lot of policies have been cutting Water Damage, as property owners assume this falls under their mandatory Flood Insurance. Not the case. It’s important that people in South Florida have both. “People can send us a copy of their policy. We’ll always double check it for free,” Cristina offers. “We’ll let them know exactly what’s covered, and what’s not.” She goes on, “Also, be sure to have current photos of your full property at all times, especially before a hurricane. Keep everything documented, keep receipts for any repair or cleanup.”
What started from the corner of their kitchen has grown into a full-fledged family operation.
In 2004, Cristina and her father first launched what is today an award-winning, community business. Little by little, they brought in family to assist with the operation, which today consists of the dynamic husband and wife duo, plus six highly trained and skilled adjusters. “We’ve always done this together,” says Michael. “We really like what we do, and consider everybody close who works with us. There are no closed doors. I don’t know more than anyone else. We keep an open mind all the time so everyone can learn and grow.”
Their passion for the business is evident. Cristina adds, “We are a family business fighting for families. In a moment when people need somebody the most, we’re there to reassure them they’ll be OK. Home is their castle. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their home. Those types of things drive us to do what we do.”
“I remember when we were young and first starting out, there was an apartment building in Miami Beach on fire with a young couple who had to throw their baby 5 feet between buildings to safety. After crying together with the terrified parents, we immediately went home and cleaned out our closets to bring all the children’s clothing, food and necessities we could find. We truly care and just want to help people,” Cristina recalls.
Necessity is the mother of invention, or so they say. During Irma, CMC was so dedicated to their clients, they would work by candlelight and flashlight until 2am, visiting up to 10 clients a day. Today the pandemic has created a new wave of dedication. CMC is proud to have created and launched a new internal application through Apple, ensuring their employees can be anywhere, anytime, and do their jobs. “We designed it to cater to how we do business, making us more efficient,” Michael tells proudly. The app is just another example of their ultimate goal to benefit their team, clients and industry.
CMC Claim Consultants, Inc. is located at 12651 South Dixie Hwy, Suite 207, Pinecrest, FL 33156. For more info, call 305-668-3335, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow them @cmc_claimconsultants. cmcpublicadjusters.com