For the majority of their life, a child’s world revolves around their school. For play, socialization, and most importantly for learning, it is essential that children have access to not only education, but a safe physical environment to make the most of it.
Unfortunately, in many areas of the country, natural disasters can interrupt the education process. In Texas, for instance, hurricanes and tornadoes can lead to severe damage that often leaves a school district’s risk manager and superintendent unsure of how to restore the property to get the students back in the classroom as quickly and safely as possible.
During a typical commercial property insurance claim, it is ultimately up to the business to decide whether they want to remain open or close its doors after a disaster. For an independent school district (ISD), there is no choice: education must continue. Even after a disaster, children need to learn and grow in a safe, comfortable environment to set them up for success.
Implementing a Disaster Plan
When a school building is damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster, implementing a disaster plan is a big responsibility that may be last-minute or unexpected. The district’s risk manager may be familiar with the school’s insurance policy, but it is likely not their expertise when it comes to utilizing the coverage to its fullest extent during recovery. No matter the circumstances, it is impossible for a school district to make informed decisions without an expert on its side.
For these districts, bringing in a public adjuster like our experts at Jansen/Adjusters International can be the best choice to ensure an insurance claim is not only handled correctly but expedited by professionals who understand the importance of getting children back to school as quickly as possible.
Utilizing Your Public Adjuster
Many different professionals are involved in a typical school district claim and without a public adjuster leading the efforts, it can often slow things down. A public adjuster can help organize the third parties, including mitigation, restoration, and reconstruction companies, to make certain that all parties are on the same page and working in unison.
Our expert public adjusters manage the entire process from start to finish, streamlining the claim and establishing proper communication so schools can reopen and remain accessible for the community’s children. Having an expert public adjuster means that the insurance recovery process is not only expedited but that all third parties involved are aligned.
Claim coordination is especially crucial in remote areas, where children cannot be temporarily relocated to nearby districts. It is important to evaluate the school’s land to ensure safety and arrange for funding for temporary, portable classrooms to be installed on-site so education can resume as fast as possible – even sometimes within a month of the disaster.
In the case of the Dallas Independent School District, where three schools were devastated by a tornado in 2019, the relationship that had already been cultivated between the district and Jansen/Adjusters International proved essential to making a rapid recovery within a short period.
Within a week, the schools were fenced for security purposes, major debris was removed and essential contents were transported to other schools so classes could resume. Additionally, sports equipment was cleaned and delivered in time—just five days after the tornado—so that students could resume their respective sports, including a football game that Friday night. With the swift action of the teams involved, the insurance carrier also felt sufficiently confident in the process to advance a substantial payment to cover these expenses.
Professional Experience is Essential
Given Jansen/Adjusters International’s extensive experience with school property damage insurance claims, our public adjusters often serve as trusted advisors to a district’s risk manager and superintendent as they make decisions about how to proceed following a disaster. Although there will likely be many vendors and community members who are eager to help their local schools, it is important to remember that not everyone is an expert and a policyholder advocate when it comes to post-disaster recovery.
As post-disaster experts, public adjusters can best advise schools when it comes to making decisions about what property needs cleaning versus what needs to be replaced. In a school claim, expert mitigation is essential. While schools and community members may be tempted to clean items themselves, only a trained professional knows that smoke-damaged property such as desks, which may have carvings that can hold the dangerous aftereffects of smoke damage, can only be safe if properly cleaned. Even with the availability of safe land and portable classrooms, the contents of a classroom such as desks and supplies are still essential for students to resume learning safely.
Although it is impossible to prevent a natural disaster from occurring, it is essential for ISDs to be prepared as much as possible for its impacts. Before disaster strikes, school districts can take steps to ensure they are properly covered ahead of time by double-checking their insurance policies throughout the year, developing a working relationship with their insurance broker, and putting a service agreement in place with a public adjuster ahead of time.
With the help of an expert public adjuster, school districts can rest assured that following a hurricane, tornado, or other disaster, the children in their communities will have a safe space to continue learning.
Photo Credit: www.modlphotography.com.