A good inventory is the basis of all insurance claims. In order to settle a claim, the inventory has to be utilized by all parties involved. Your best inventory is a “joint” inventory, which is working closely with the Insured. Once the inventory value is established, and agreed by all parties, the rest of the claim process can proceed smoothly.
There are a number of different inventories these days. The standard of the industry has been a complete physical description of the damage stock in question. This includes: name brands, model numbers, descriptions, quantities and values. In some cases, condition and age are noted. This inventory can be any number of formats. Hand written, dictated and transferred to an Excel spreadsheet, point-of-sale listing, bar codes listings, daily “book” inventories rescued from an Insured’s computer and others.
Verification of prepared inventories can also itemize the total claim values. Verifications can be test counts by percentages, by areas, by high dollar totals or a complete 100% check.
A fast and easy inventory typical of a retail store is the dollar and cent inventory. This is a listing of the retail price point and quantity, usually categorized by margins-of-profit percents.
Reconstruction of total loss or “out-of-sight” goods is also possible. Comparisons by volume can be determined utilizing measurements of square feet, piece counts of debris, forensic testing of piece remains, weights of goods and others.
If a business is in the production and/or manufacturing business, the inventory is particularly tricky. They start with a raw material, usually purchased from an outside vendor. Then the work-in-process phase may constitute a bulk of the inventory and can have a multitude of steps or stations. Finally, the finished goods are the final sale product of the Insured.
The determination of insurable value is usually stated in the policy. It can be based on Replacement Cost Value (RCV), Actual Cash Value (ACV), manufactured cost, imported/landed cost, wholesale cost, retail cost, stock market cost, commodities exchange closing price quotes and others. We compute cost analysis by verification of invoices, market research, comparisons to similar products and shopping, either in-person of on the Internet. In some cases, we have “priced” an inventory for an Insured (due to specific factors).
Call on our 40 plus years of experience to inspect the loss and appraise the situation. We will evaluate the damage sustained, and then outline all available options to help you determine the best course of action for your claim.
If an Insured has decided to have a “fire sale,” you can still utilize our services. We can outline the factors involved in a sale, both positive and negative. There are certain factors, which may affect replacement values as well as business interruption coverage. We can also assist in determining a reasonable damage allowance that may be owed.
Separation & Protection
We can literally “dig in” at the loss site to separate undamaged stock from damaged goods. Quick actions can often lower a total claim amount by eliminating any further damage. This may be removing wet goods away from dry goods, unpacking wet crates, setting up drying operations or restoring utilities to freezers/refrigerators. Spraying bare metal can also reduce the corrosion effects of both moisture and smoke residue.
Not all salvage operations involve selling damaged goods. We have recouped packaging containers and eliminated odors and had “fresh stock” to be returned to Insureds for sale.
We can access both the local, national and international network of salvage buyers to maximize your salvage returns. With over a quarter century of sales experience, we have sold just about everything imaginable as well as things never thought of in everyday environments.
Some determining factors before a sale are whether to move a stock, or sell it on site, “As-Is, Where-Is”. The stability of the loss scene will be a factor, as well as expenses to relocate or move a stock. Time may be a very important facet of a claim, which may lend itself to a quick negotiated sale and removal. If time is not a factor, a bid sale may maximize your salvage sale returns. The marketability of the goods will also determine who is the best user of the specific salvage lot. If the salvage lot is in-process goods, is it economically feasible to complete to finished goods to increase the marketability? We will help identify these issues in order to make an informed and intelligent decision together.
When selling merchandise, an Insured’s brand and label may be on the merchandise. We understand the owners concern to protect what may have taken years to establish and develop. It takes a long time to earn brand recognition, which may help a salvage sale, but further injure an Insured. Some brands/labels are part of a product and can’t be removed, while others may simply have a “tag” which can easily be replaced with a generic tag. Along the same lines are concerns for an owner’s “sales region,” or geographic restrictions due to distribution rights. We are well versed in meeting specific obligations of a sale as well as resolving concern express by owners. We try to keep everyone (Insured, insurance company and buyer) happy after a sale.
We document each assignment by keeping a “diary” in our file. We can then issue a full report by category captions if that is what is required. We will also issue emails &/or letters in the form of initial, status and final copies in a timely fashion. These can all be by way of US Mail, email, faxes or verbal as desired.
On occasion we have been called upon to testify at both depositions and court appearances. This is usually years after a loss has occurred and helps establish facts and figures for subrogation and/or restitution settlements. A fully documented file, along with an experienced Salvor, is a valuable tool for this stage of a loss.
Our operations are based in the Pacific Northwest area in Seattle, Washington. Our main office is in Bellevue, Washington. We also have two small warehouses in Kirkland, Washington and several larger facilities available exceeding 50,000 square feet in both dry and cold storage space. Our warehouse and transportation services can remove, store and protect the merchandise to help the Insured clean up quickly and get back in business.