The recent multifamily fire report from ABC KVUE in Austin, is yet another recent example of a catastrophic apartment fire in Texas. Our continued prayers go out to those impacted by this unfortunate event.
Photo Credit: ABC KVUE
Fires have plagued the multifamily community in many Texas markets in 2021, and even as of late in 2022! Recently, we have seen multifamily fires in: Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Lubbock, Waco, Odessa, Abilene, El Paso, as well as several other Texas cities.
Photo Credit: ABC KVUE
These fires almost always result in insurance claims. Some of these claims are handled properly by the insurance companies. However, this is not always the case. We have seen many fire claims as of late being delayed, underpaid, or even denied.
Photo Credit: NBC DFW
The truth of the matter is multifamily apartment fires have always plagued the sector and most like will continue to be an unfortunate factor in future fire statistics.
The Hartford reported that “Multi-unit residential buildings can present unique fire safety concerns. With many neighbors living closely together, potentially confusing evacuation routes out of the building, and management companies pressured to balance tenant safety against a list of competing priorities, many apartment dwellers avoid thinking about fire risks altogether.”
Fire safety is not only a responsibility of the tenants, but also a shared responsibility of the landlords as well.
On the landlord side, management companies can make sure fire alarms and sprinklers are in good working condition, and meet all local city code requirements. Management companies can also make sure all exits are clearly marked and electronic wiring is up to code as well.
It is a good idea for management companies to take fire safety a bit further, by cutting down any dead trees close to the property and cleaning out gutters and downspouts that might contain dead leaves, as they can easily be sparked by lightning.
It is also important for management companies to maintain fire safety in maintenance shed areas as well. These areas can often times can contain gas generators, and other gasoline run maintenance equipment items.
On the tenant side fire safety usually starts in the kitchen. Many apartment fires are started as a result of leaving a stovetop or oven on. Apartment fires have also been caused by space heaters, leaving curling irons or irons on, lit candles, faulty electric wiring, and overloaded surge protectors.
Photo Credit: ABC KVUE
It is a good idea for tenants to review their renters policy on a yearly basis with their insurance agent, to make sure they have adequate coverage. It is also a good idea to take pictures, make a record, and save receipts of belongings.
Also, it is wise to know, and practice fire escape routes out of the building, in case of a fire.
As part of the fire safety plan, it is also a good idea to keep a list of emergency phone numbers handy including: police, fire department, insurance agent, and policyholder professional.
As discussed in earlier VLF blogs. Insurance carriers do handle claims the correct way in many instances. However, sometimes this is does not ring true as claims are delayed, underpaid, or even denied.
We have published several earlier blogs on the insurance process, specifically as it relates to fire damage at www.deniedclaim.com
As reported on in earlier VLF blogs, when there is a catastrophic fire event of magnitude, sometimes insurance companies will try to mitigate their losses by certain time tested tactics.
A good policyholder attorney will hold the carrier’s feet to the fire when claims arise. It is well documented that insurance carriers can sometimes implement various tactics when trying to lessen their financial exposure to claims, including: underpayment, denial, and the delay of claims. This is no surprise, given the record number of increasing weather events, and fires in the last several years (as
documented in earlier VLF blogs).
This is why it is important to consult with a reputable policyholder attorney when filing a claim, and especially if your claim has been denied, delayed, or underpaid.
The Voss Law Firm, P.C. has been protecting policyholder’s rights for the past sixteen years, recovering billions of dollars in settlements for our clients.
Feel free to call, or email today for a free consultation on your file.
We are 100% contingency fee based. No recovery, no fee.
Todd Farr- Director of Client Relations.