fbpx

Features

When my house caught on fire, I had absolutely no idea what to do. I am not an insurance industry insider (eg. public adjuster), so I was very trusting of the insurance examiner. From day one, I made many mistakes that cost me thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars. Even though the odds were stacked against me on my claim, I was able to fight my way through it. I detailed my strategy here for you.

Learn the 3 P's !

I developed a system called the three P's, that's what got me through. Patience, think like a Project Manager, and Legally Punching the Bully in the face.

Patience

Many insurance companies unscrupulously drag out claims to wear you down. I outline things you can do to remove this key leverage.

Think like a project manager

Getting hyper organized is key to fighting back. I teach you how I leverage the best practices of Silicon Valley to use against anyone standing in your way.

Legally punch the bully

There are legal ways you can defend yourself against being pushed around. Show you will stand up and bullies will leave you alone.

First 24 Hours

I outline all the mistakes I made in the first 24 hours that cost me thousands. It's a common mistake but costly.

Worksheets

I have a outline key worksheets that will help you through this. Checklists, and a glossary of key insurance terms so you don't get intimidated.

Book Excerpts

Here are some excerpts to give you an idea of what to expect from this book. I go through step by step, starting in the first 24 hours down to strategizing your return back to your house.

Page 5

As of my writing this, the fire that devastated my family happened only nine short months ago. While our life is far from back to normal, I can confidently report that we have survived the ordeal, grown closer as a family, and, as hard as it may be to believe, we have ended up in a better place financially as a direct result of that fire—something I wouldn’t have even believed myself before it happened.

What started out as an initial offer of $19,703, I was able to get them to settle for over $150,000. Getting to that final settlement amount required navigating a sea of unknowns, including a very quick assessment of whom I could trust and whom to avoid. It was a frustrating and often exhausting process. But in the end, I did it.

Now, I want to use that hard-won knowledge to empower you to do the same. My hope is that the information I share with you here will facilitate navigating the insurance process after a fire, so that you can focus your time and energy instead on taking care of your loved ones and getting back to normal. Right now, normal may seem a long way off, but I assure you, it is possible. Let me show you the way.

Page 5

As of my writing this, the fire that devastated my family happened only nine short months ago. While our life is far from back to normal, I can confidently report that we have survived the ordeal, grown closer as a family, and, as hard as it may be to believe, we have ended up in a better place financially as a direct result of that fire—something I wouldn’t have even believed myself before it happened.

What started out as an initial offer of $19,703, I was able to get them to settle for over $150,000. Getting to that final settlement amount required navigating a sea of unknowns, including a very quick assessment of whom I could trust and whom to avoid. It was a frustrating and often exhausting process. But in the end, I did it.

Now, I want to use that hard-won knowledge to empower you to do the same. My hope is that the information I share with you here will facilitate navigating the insurance process after a fire, so that you can focus your time and energy instead on taking care of your loved ones and getting back to normal. Right now, normal may seem a long way off, but I assure you, it is possible. Let me show you the way.

Page 8

First and foremost, don’t sign anything within the first 24 hours of the fire. Don’t hire vendors and don’t commit to any work, such as cleaning or repairs. Don’t commit anything, until you’ve finished reading this guide.

Like unscrupulous lawyers chasing after ambulances, often construction and cleaning crews will listen to police scanners to find fires in the area, and prey on the homeowners. One such contractor approached me and said, “Hi, I’m John Doe, and I represent XYZ Construction Company. My friend is the city’s fire captain. He called me to tell you about your misfortune and recommended I come by to help out.”

While this sort of thing may happen occasionally, keep in mind that, in general, government agencies are not in the business of recommending vendors. Sure enough, I did some digging, and the city had no idea who Mr. Doe was.

People like this will show up on site seeming charming and sympathetic. They will see your family crying and commiserate. Then they’ll tell you that everything will get back to normal if you just sign on the dotted line.

But don’t do it. Instead, consult this playbook for how to handle the first 24 hours. This is what I should have done after my fire. Your situation may be different, but even so, you’ll hopefully find value in this advice. Use your best judgment.

Page 9

1. Make sure your loved ones are ok. My philosophy is that anything with a soul needs to be addressed first: spouse, children, pets, and anyone else who may have been in your house at the time. If the paramedics determine that someone needs medical attention, go with them to the hospital and have friends and family meet you there. Delegate the rest of the list to them while you focus on caring for and comforting your loved ones.

2. Find family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers fast. Look for anyone you can trust, whose interest in helping you out is not financially motivated. Get them on the phone and ask them to meet you as soon as possible. Keep them close, while having the vendors remain at arms’ length.

3. Document everything you can for the insurance company. Start by writing down the date and time of the fire, followed by a brief account of what happened. Then, you’ll need to document the extent of the damage: how badly burned is the house, what possessions are lost, singed, or otherwise damaged, etc. Ideally, you’ll want to write it all down, as well as taking photographs of everything. The vendors (cleaners or contractors) may offer to take care of documentation for you. Don’t trust them. Delegate it to someone you know and trust. If your property is safe to enter, then take as much as you can from a safe distance. If it is not safe to enter, then document what you can from the outside.

4. Call the insurance company immediately. The sooner you report the incident and can get in touch with the person who will be handling your case, the better. Here is a list what you should talk to them about:
a. Get the name, phone number and email address of your claim rep. They may be helpful, or they may treat you like just another number, as we talked about earlier. If it’s the latter, don’t worry, they don’t need to be your friends -you have your family for that.
b. Ask them if you’re able to get an emergency advance (i.e. an immediate payment to you against any later payouts) to help you cover expenses. If money is tight, they may be able to get you a few thousand to deal with living day to day.
c. Have them e-mail copy of your policy. Hopefully they’ll do it, so that you can get it as quickly as possible. However, they may only be willing to send it by snail mail, or try to stall the process in other ways. If this is the case, at least have them explain the important information to you. For example, what’s the deductible? What are the limits on housing allowance? In short, what can you expect as you deal with them in the coming weeks and months?
d. Your mailing address. If your house is not livable, have them send all correspondence to a trusted friend/family member. Tell them it will get lost if they don’t do it. If there is a history of mail theft in your neighborhood, and you are not going to be there for an extended period, then that’s an even more compelling reason. Also have postal service forward your mail to a new address, or hold it for you. You don’t want an over-stuffed mailbox attracting vagrants.
e. One thing the insurance company may bring up is contractors, cleaners, and other vendors to do the necessary repair/cleanup work. Be extremely skeptical of any vendors recommended to you by your insurance company. This is the fox watching the henhouse. I will teach you how to deal with finding/choosing vendors in a later section.

Page 23

You’ve managed to negotiate the first hurdle in your ordeal. Now, your journey really begins. This next phase of the process will feel like some strange alternate reality, full of paradoxes. On the one hand, vendors will be hounding you to sign up for their services as soon as possible and get the work started. On the other hand, the insurance company will be taking its sweet time, delaying any and all payments as long as they possibly can.

During this time, your loved ones will be itching to get back to normal, but in some cases that may take 6 months or more. As much as you want to return to your regular routine quickly, you shouldn’t rush into a poor settlement just in the name of getting things over with.

If your goal is get the maximum amount legally allowed to you and your family, you must be willing to incorporate the strategies laid out in this book. I researched insurance claims extensively, and found no other methods as effective as these. In fact, these tactics helped me go from an initial offer of $19,703 to one at over $150,000!

Your solution to taking your life back is the three P’s. We’ll cover them more extensively over the next three chapters, but for now, they are, first and foremost, have patience. Second, think about the situation like a project manager. Third, when you encounter bullies, or anyone who tries to hinder you from getting what’s rightfully yours, don’t be afraid to give them a legal punch in the face (metaphorically speaking).

To understand this strategy fully, you need to put yourself in the shoes of the insurance company. They have the money that they’re legally obligated to release to you. However, they also have more experience than you do in dealing with these situations, and they have you outgunned legally. So they’re only going to give you the bare minimum they can get away with—unless you know how to fight back. To illustrate, let’s consider it from the point of view of your insurance examiner (the one reviewing your case and ultimately determining your payout). Let’s look at two other hypothetical customers that this examiner may be dealing with at the same time.

Page 25

Case A – Larry. Larry just had a house fire. The insurance company has assessed the damages and found them to be around $150,000 worth. However, Larry’s main concern is settling the matter as quickly as possible, moving back into his house, and carrying on with his life. In fact, he’s even indicated to the insurance company that he’s willing to do some of the work himself, instead of hiring contractors.

What the insurance company gleans from this is that Larry is non-confrontational and can be pushed around easily. They further deduce that Larry will be willing to settle for a much smaller payout, in exchange for simply getting the whole matter resolved quickly.

Case B – Sally. Sally just had a house fire as well. The insurance company has assessed approximately $50,000 worth of damages. However, Sally’s main goal isn’t simply to get the matter over with quickly and painlessly. Her goal is to get what’s coming to her, and she’s willing to do what it takes to make that happen.

Furthermore, Sally has made this clear to the insurance company, being assertive in all of her communications. She has been extremely detailed-oriented and has carefully examined every scrap of paper and every e-mail she’s received from the insurance company, and made note of everything they’ve said to her over the phone or in person.

When the insurance company sent an adjuster to examine the damage to her property and give an estimate, she met with him personally. She even was able to correct some math errors he made while measuring the property, and politely pointed out the correct figures.

Sally has fought to get the insurance company to pay for the same level and standard of housing that she and her children are accustomed to. She has followed up with deadlines for the insurance examiner to turn around decisions every 7 days. She has assertively detailed a plan of escalation to the insurance company, if her demands are not met. The insurance examiner once made the mistake of ignoring her emails for 72 hours. His boss got an earful from Sally, and the examiner is now on a short leash.

Get your copy now! The longer you delay in having the right knowledge, the more mistakes you will make that may cost you thousands of dollars. Many in the insurance industry prey upon first time insurance claimants. They have more experience than you in a house fire, they use jargon and most importantly they delay. Use my experiences to help guide you through this.

Get your copy now

Chapter Overviews

Key chapters from After A Fire

Below are summaries of 3 chapters of the book plus a description of the appendix to help you get through your house fire. The key to getting through this disaster while getting the most of the insurance company and its vendors is using the system I have outlined in the book, the Three P’s

Chapter I - The first 24 Hours

Chapter I - The first 24 Hours

In this section I tell you how to survive the first 24 hours after a fire without giving up your rights to the insurance company and give you tactics to maximize your claim. I have made my share of mistakes, even one that cost me tens of thousands of dollars. But I was still able to recover from it and got a fair settlement for my family. Learn from my mistakes.

Chapter III - Your playbook, the three P's

Chapter III - Your playbook, the three P's

Using this strategy, you will be able to cut through the veil of the insurance company's core strategy of stalling. Your solution to taking your life back is the three P’s: Patience, think like a Project Manager and legally Punching the bully in the face. To fully understand this strategy, you need to put yourself in the shoes of the insurance company.

Chapter VII - How to choose a vendor

Chapter VII - How to choose a vendor

Assuming that you had substantial structural or smoke damage to your house, the two vendors that you need to prioritize are general contractor and, if necessary, a public adjuster. This chapter will detail how to find the right vendors and who to hire first to make your life easier.

Appendix - Worksheets

Appendix - Worksheets

I have created 3 critical worksheets to get your through this ordeal. If I had it during my initial days after the fire, I would have saved weeks if not months. I have even created a detailed glossary of terms so you are not intimidated by working with the vendors and adjusters.

Reader Messages

Real messages from those who have been through fires and read my book

Melanie L

Melanie L

I met Jack and his family since we shared a common fire remediation vendor. He interviewed me about my experiences and was able to use my story in the book. Only after I went through my ordeal did I kick myself for not doing the things he has outlined here. Now that I read his book I know that many can benefit from using this approach. I only wish I had access to something like this when I first started.

Joseph M

I am a first responder (fireman) and I see first hand what happens to people when they have a house fire. These vendors descend upon the families like vultures and try to extract money for services that are not needed. I applaud Jack for putting this book together, it is very sad how people are treated in their times of need.

Joseph M
Adam W

Adam W

Jack interviewed me for this book since I used to work in the fire remediation industry. Specifically, I worked for the content cleaning companies. I can verify that my specific company was every bit as predatory as he has outlined. The big thing we tried was to push clients to have their smoke filled carpets removed, and cleaned in our warehouse instead of simply replacing it. It was very sad to see this done to people. I eventually had to quit.

Subscribe to our newsletter

About Me

A little bit about me

My Family

First and foremost, I am a devoted family man of 14+years. My wife and three kids mean everything to me, and when this happened knowing that their health and safety was at risk was very scary for me. They rose to the occasion and we made many tough decisions as a family and we are grateful to everyone that came to our assistance.

Professional Background

Like a said before, I am not an insider in the insurance industry, nor am I a lawyer. I am a veteran of Northern California's Silicon Valley. I have been a general manager of technology groups, overseeing teams of up to 100 software developers and customer service representatives. I have run budgets of almost $100M a year and with that knowledge I know how businesses work. I know how to keep them accountable, and the insurance industry is no different. I take this training into the world of the insurance industry where many resent this approach.


Legal Disclaimer

The information provided within this eBook is for general informational purposes only and are my opinions only. There is no guarantee you will increase your settlement amount with your insurance company or save money with vendors. You may discover there are other methods and materials to accomplish the same (or better) end result. Any use of this information is at your own risk. No liability is assumed for losses or damages resulting in the use of information from this book. I am not a lawyer or insurance adjuster and to ensure that you are protected by local laws in your country, you should talk to a licensed attorney or certified public adjuster before using any of the following advice. There are no representations or warranties, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the information, products, services, or related graphics contained in this eBook for any purpose.
If you would like to contact us, please email info [at] afterafire.com