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Here comes the Snow. And Ice. And Sleet. And Freezing Wind. Ah, Winter…

Seasoned adjusters are acutely aware that winter storms can be even more disruptive than those during the traditional "storm season" for homeowners. Between strong winds, freezing pipes and snow and ice damage it's not surprising that cold-weather related claims account for a huge amount of property claims each year. Understanding the most common perils of the season, related areas to watch for each claim, and knowing what you can do to be prepared to succeed as an adjuster for the winter storm season is an important difference and can define the line between pro adjusters and novices.

Common Winter Perils

The most common causes of damage an adjuster will investigate during the winter season include:

  • Snow – When there is an excess of snow, it can wreak havoc on a house – it can overload the homeowner’s roof and gutters, destroy decks, tear down trees or even lead to structural problems.  Stay sharp… collapsed roofs  jump out at you but bowed walls due to excess weight may not.
  • Freezing – Water damage from freezing and broken pipes is a major source of home damage. These leaky or exposed pipes can freeze over, break, and when the warmer weather starts to come around again, may start gushing – causing extensive water damages to floors, walls, electrical, cabinets as well as the structure.
  • Ice – Ice blockage may form on roofs – which can in turn cause severe damage to a home. In addition to tearing off gutters and loosening shingles, ice buildup can also prevent the proper drainage of water, causing melting ice and snow to back up through the roof, and potentially into the rest of the house.
  • Wind – Approximately 25% of the U.S. homeowners’ insurance claims are the result of exterior wind damage, and winter storms are no different.  This damage can topple trees, power lines, and damage buildings, fences and roofs.
  • Power – Loss of power during extreme weather can lead to many unexpected claim situations including: freezing pipes, fire damage, content and food losses, and more.
  • Fire – People tend to stay inside during the colder months, and rely on fireplaces, stoves, and space heaters to keep their homes comfortable. This often results in a greater number of fires than usual damaging structures, electrical, contents, etc..
  • Flooding – When a particular storm produces a lot of moisture, or a sudden warm snap occurs during a sever winter, this can potentially lead to water & sewer backups, sump pump failures, and even flash floods.
 

As an adjuster, it is your responsibility to know how to assess, and properly estimate damage from these common causes. If you need guidance on specific instances, please don't hesitate to reach out to your IAS contacts - we're here to help!

PRO TIP:

Offer helpful information to homeowners in your circle about reducing preventable claims during the winter months. Reminding your contacts about cutting away dead tree branches, keeping homes at 55 degrees or higher when away, and performing general maintenance on key household systems can go a long way towards helping them be able to NOT file a claim when the next big storm hits.

Take care of yourself and your gear - Preparing for Winter Claims

Deployments in winter conditions can be especially frustrating as you may have to deal with sub-zero temperatures, slick driving conditions, lack of power, road closures, and other winter-related conditions. Beyond our normal preparations (referenced in THIS post) we suggest the following to ensure a successful winter claims season:

1) Make sure you and your gear are healthy and capable.

You can make sure you prepare yourself and your equipment for the winter weather by:

  • Wearing warm clothing – bring additional layers, regardless of the forecast
  • Add blankets and additional weather gear to your kit
  • Pack non-perishable food and water in case of an emergency
  • Bring extra medication, and cold weather specific treatments (cold, flu and sinus medicene as well as vitamin C and other preventions.
  • Gloves, extra gloves, and hand warmers. ‘Nuff said.
  • Don’t overexpose yourself to the elements. If you’re cold, take a break. The claim will still be there when you’ve warmed up.

2) Make sure your vehicle gets the attention it deserves

Adjusters spend a lot of time on the road. A well-prepared vehicle will ensure you are safe and ready for what’s ahead. If you plan on working winter claims, take the time to:

  • Make sure your tires are up to the task. If possible, get snow, or all-season tires on your vehicle.
  • Additionally, make sure your car battery is dependable – cold weather puts a strain on batteries. There’s not much worse than leaving an inspection site to find you have to sit in the cold and wait for help due to a dead battery.
  • Keep your gas tank at least 1/2 full. Major storms may cause severe shutdowns, and you don’t want to be left stranded due to a lack of foresight.
  • Get a battery-powered weather radio in case cellular service is interrupted, so you can stay up-to-date.
  • As an add-on to the above, its always a good idea to have good old fashioned paper maps, in case you need them.
  • Keep a cold-weather emergency kit in your car.

3) Stay in touch - and stay connected.

Given how dangerous extreme cold weather can be, its more important than normal to stay connected. If you’re traveling alone, always let someone know your schedule, and where you’ll be throughout the day. Check in regularly to let others know your status, so that in case of an emergency, responders will know where to look for you. These basic tips will ensure that if you do encounter a weather-related situation, you’ll be able to come through it without worry.

No deployment is easy, but winter can often make them substantially more complicated. By following the tips above, you'll give yourself a leg up on your fellow adjusters: know the winter claims you'll be seeing, keep yourself and your gear healthy and ready, and stay in touch to ensure your safety, and we're confident you'll have a great winter season!

Want more information? Reach out below & we'll be in touch.

IAS Claims Logo
PRIVACY NOTICE

Last updated June 22, 2020



Thank you for choosing to be part of our community at IAS Claim Services ("Company", "we", "us", "our"). We are committed to protecting your personal information and your right to privacy. If you have any questions or concerns about this privacy notice, or our practices with regards to your personal information, please contact us at sysadmin@iasclaims.com.

When you visit our website https://www.iasclaims.com (the "Website"), and more generally, use any of our services (the "Services", which include the Website), we appreciate that you are trusting us with your personal information. We take your privacy very seriously. In this privacy notice, we seek to explain to you in the clearest way possible what information we collect, how we use it and what rights you have in relation to it. We hope you take some time to read through it carefully, as it is important. If there are any terms in this privacy notice that you do not agree with, please discontinue use of our Services immediately.

This privacy notice applies to all information collected through our Services (which, as described above, includes our Website), as well as, any related services, sales, marketing or events.

Please read this privacy notice carefully as it will help you understand what we do with the information that we collect.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


1. WHAT INFORMATION DO WE COLLECT?

Personal information you disclose to us

In Short:  We collect personal information that you provide to us.

We collect personal information that you voluntarily provide to us when you register on the Website, express an interest in obtaining information about us or our products and Services, when you participate in activities on the Website or otherwise when you contact us.

The personal information that we collect depends on the context of your interactions with us and the Website, the choices you make and the products and features you use. The personal information we collect may include the following:

Personal Information Provided by You. We collect namesphone numbersemail addressesmailing addressesjob titlesusernamespasswordscontact preferencescontact or authentication dataand other similar information.

All personal information that you provide to us must be true, complete and accurate, and you must notify us of any changes to such personal information.

Information automatically collected

In Short:  Some information — such as your Internet Protocol (IP) address and/or browser and device characteristics — is collected automatically when you visit our Website.

We automatically collect certain information when you visit, use or navigate the Website. This information does not reveal your specific identity (like your name or contact information) but may include device and usage information, such as your IP address, browser and device characteristics, operating system, language preferences, referring URLs, device name, country, location, information about how and when you use our Website and other technical information. This information is primarily needed to maintain the security and operation of our Website, and for our internal analytics and reporting purposes.

Like many businesses, we also collect information through cookies and similar technologies.

2. HOW DO WE USE YOUR INFORMATION?

In Short:  We process your information for purposes based on legitimate business interests, the fulfillment of our contract with you, compliance with our legal obligations, and/or your consent.

We use personal information collected via our Website for a variety of business purposes described below. We process your personal information for these purposes in reliance on our legitimate business interests, in order to enter into or perform a contract with you, with your consent, and/or for compliance with our legal obligations. We indicate the specific processing grounds we rely on next to each purpose listed below.

We use the information we collect or receive:
  • To facilitate account creation and logon process. If you choose to link your account with us to a third-party account (such as your Google or Facebook account), we use the information you allowed us to collect from those third parties to facilitate account creation and logon process for the performance of the contract.
  • To post testimonials. We post testimonials on our Website that may contain personal information. Prior to posting a testimonial, we will obtain your consent to use your name and the content of the testimonial. If you wish to update, or delete your testimonial, please contact us at dpo@iasclaims.com and be sure to include your name, testimonial location, and contact information.
  • Request feedback. We may use your information to request feedback and to contact you about your use of our Website.
  • To enable user-to-user communications. We may use your information in order to enable user-to-user communications with each user's consent.
  • To manage user accounts. We may use your information for the purposes of managing our account and keeping it in working order.
  • To send administrative information to you. We may use your personal information to send you product, service and new feature information and/or information about changes to our terms, conditions, and policies.
  • To protect our Services. We may use your information as part of our efforts to keep our Website safe and secure (for example, for fraud monitoring and prevention).
  • To enforce our terms, conditions and policies for business purposes, to comply with legal and regulatory requirements or in connection with our contract.
  • To respond to legal requests and prevent harm. If we receive a subpoena or other legal request, we may need to inspect the data we hold to determine how to respond.

  • To send you marketing and promotional communications. We and/or our third-party marketing partners may use the personal information you send to us for our marketing purposes, if this is in accordance with your marketing preferences. For example, when expressing an interest in obtaining information about us or our Website, subscribing to marketing or otherwise contacting us, we will collect personal information from you. You can opt-out of our marketing emails at any time (see the "WHAT ARE YOUR PRIVACY RIGHTS" below).
  • Deliver targeted advertising to you. We may use your information to develop and display personalized content and advertising (and work with third parties who do so) tailored to your interests and/or location and to measure its effectiveness.

3. WILL YOUR INFORMATION BE SHARED WITH ANYONE?

In Short:  We only share information with your consent, to comply with laws, to provide you with services, to protect your rights, or to fulfill business obligations.

We may process or share your data that we hold based on the following legal basis:
  • Consent: We may process your data if you have given us specific consent to use your personal information for a specific purpose.
  • Legitimate Interests: We may process your data when it is reasonably necessary to achieve our legitimate business interests.
  • Performance of a Contract: Where we have entered into a contract with you, we may process your personal information to fulfill the terms of our contract.
  • Legal Obligations: We may disclose your information where we are legally required to do so in order to comply with applicable law, governmental requests, a judicial proceeding, court order, or legal process, such as in response to a court order or a subpoena (including in response to public authorities to meet national security or law enforcement requirements).
  • Vital Interests: We may disclose your information where we believe it is necessary to investigate, prevent, or take action regarding potential violations of our policies, suspected fraud, situations involving potential threats to the safety of any person and illegal activities, or as evidence in litigation in which we are involved.
More specifically, we may need to process your data or share your personal information in the following situations:
  • Business Transfers. We may share or transfer your information in connection with, or during negotiations of, any merger, sale of company assets, financing, or acquisition of all or a portion of our business to another company.
  • Affiliates. We may share your information with our affiliates, in which case we will require those affiliates to honor this privacy notice. Affiliates include our parent company and any subsidiaries, joint venture partners or other companies that we control or that are under common control with us.
  • Business Partners. We may share your information with our business partners to offer you certain products, services or promotions.

4. DO WE USE COOKIES AND OTHER TRACKING TECHNOLOGIES?

In Short:  We may use cookies and other tracking technologies to collect and store your information.

We may use cookies and similar tracking technologies (like web beacons and pixels) to access or store information. Specific information about how we use such technologies and how you can refuse certain cookies is set out in our Cookie Notice.

5. HOW LONG DO WE KEEP YOUR INFORMATION?

In Short:  We keep your information for as long as necessary to fulfill the purposes outlined in this privacy notice unless otherwise required by law.

We will only keep your personal information for as long as it is necessary for the purposes set out in this privacy notice, unless a longer retention period is required or permitted by law (such as tax, accounting or other legal requirements). No purpose in this notice will require us keeping your personal information for longer than three (3) months past the termination of the user's account.

When we have no ongoing legitimate business need to process your personal information, we will either delete or anonymize such information, or, if this is not possible (for example, because your personal information has been stored in backup archives), then we will securely store your personal information and isolate it from any further processing until deletion is possible.

6. HOW DO WE KEEP YOUR INFORMATION SAFE?

In Short:  We aim to protect your personal information through a system of organizational and technical security measures.

We have implemented appropriate technical and organizational security measures designed to protect the security of any personal information we process. However, despite our safeguards and efforts to secure your information, no electronic transmission over the Internet or information storage technology can be guaranteed to be 100% secure, so we cannot promise or guarantee that hackers, cybercriminals, or other unauthorized third parties will not be able to defeat our security, and improperly collect, access, steal, or modify your information. Although we will do our best to protect your personal information, transmission of personal information to and from our Website is at your own risk. You should only access the Website within a secure environment.

7. DO WE COLLECT INFORMATION FROM MINORS?

In Short:  We do not knowingly collect data from or market to children under 18 years of age.

We do not knowingly solicit data from or market to children under 18 years of age. By using the Website, you represent that you are at least 18 or that you are the parent or guardian of such a minor and consent to such minor dependent’s use of the Website. If we learn that personal information from users less than 18 years of age has been collected, we will deactivate the account and take reasonable measures to promptly delete such data from our records. If you become aware of any data we may have collected from children under age 18, please contact us at dpo@iasclaims.com.

8. WHAT ARE YOUR PRIVACY RIGHTS?

In Short:  You may review, change, or terminate your account at any time.
 
If you are a resident in the European Economic Area and you believe we are unlawfully processing your personal information, you also have the right to complain to your local data protection supervisory authority. You can find their contact details here: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/bodies/authorities/index_en.htm.

If you are a resident in Switzerland, the contact details for the data protection authorities are available here: https://www.edoeb.admin.ch/edoeb/en/home.html.

If you have questions or comments about your privacy rights, you may email us at privacy@iasclaims.com.

Account Information

If you would at any time like to review or change the information in your account or terminate your account, you can:
  • Log in to your account settings and update your user account.
  • Contact us using the contact information provided.
Upon your request to terminate your account, we will deactivate or delete your account and information from our active databases. However, we may retain some information in our files to prevent fraud, troubleshoot problems, assist with any investigations, enforce our Terms of Use and/or comply with applicable legal requirements.

Cookies and similar technologies: Most Web browsers are set to accept cookies by default. If you prefer, you can usually choose to set your browser to remove cookies and to reject cookies. If you choose to remove cookies or reject cookies, this could affect certain features or services of our Website. To opt-out of interest-based advertising by advertisers on our Website visit http://www.aboutads.info/choices/.

Opting out of email marketing: You can unsubscribe from our marketing email list at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the emails that we send or by contacting us using the details provided below. You will then be removed from the marketing email list — however, we may still communicate with you, for example to send you service-related emails that are necessary for the administration and use of your account, to respond to service requests, or for other non-marketing purposes. To otherwise opt-out, you may:
  • Access your account settings and update your preferences.
  • Contact us using the contact information provided.

9. CONTROLS FOR DO-NOT-TRACK FEATURES

Most web browsers and some mobile operating systems and mobile applications include a Do-Not-Track ("DNT") feature or setting you can activate to signal your privacy preference not to have data about your online browsing activities monitored and collected. At this stage no uniform technology standard for recognizing and implementing DNT signals has been finalized. As such, we do not currently respond to DNT browser signals or any other mechanism that automatically communicates your choice not to be tracked online. If a standard for online tracking is adopted that we must follow in the future, we will inform you about that practice in a revised version of this privacy notice. 

10. DO CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS HAVE SPECIFIC PRIVACY RIGHTS?

In Short:  Yes, if you are a resident of California, you are granted specific rights regarding access to your personal information.

California Civil Code Section 1798.83, also known as the "Shine The Light" law, permits our users who are California residents to request and obtain from us, once a year and free of charge, information about categories of personal information (if any) we disclosed to third parties for direct marketing purposes and the names and addresses of all third parties with which we shared personal information in the immediately preceding calendar year. If you are a California resident and would like to make such a request, please submit your request in writing to us using the contact information provided below.

If you are under 18 years of age, reside in California, and have a registered account with the Website, you have the right to request removal of unwanted data that you publicly post on the Website. To request removal of such data, please contact us using the contact information provided below, and include the email address associated with your account and a statement that you reside in California. We will make sure the data is not publicly displayed on the Website, but please be aware that the data may not be completely or comprehensively removed from all our systems (e.g. backups, etc.).

CCPA Privacy Notice

The California Code of Regulations defines a "resident" as:

(1) every individual who is in the State of California for other than a temporary or transitory purpose and
(2) every individual who is domiciled in the State of California who is outside the State of California for a temporary or transitory purpose

All other individuals are defined as "non-residents."

If this definition of "resident" applies to you, we must adhere to certain rights and obligations regarding your personal information.

What categories of personal information do we collect?

We have collected the following categories of personal information in the past twelve (12) months:


Category


Examples


Collected

A. Identifiers
Contact details, such as real name, alias, postal address, telephone or mobile contact number, unique personal identifier, online identifier, Internet Protocol address, email address and account name

YES

B. Personal information categories listed in the California Customer Records statute
Name, contact information, education, employment, employment history and financial information

YES

C. Protected classification characteristics under California or federal law
Gender and date of birth

NO

D. Commercial information
Transaction information, purchase history, financial details and payment information

NO

E. Biometric information
Fingerprints and voiceprints

NO

F. Internet or other similar network activity
Browsing history, search history, online behavior, interest data, and interactions with our and other websites, applications, systems and advertisements

NO

G. Geolocation data
Device location

NO

H. Audio, electronic, visual, thermal, olfactory, or similar information
Images and audio, video or call recordings created in connection with our business activities

NO
I. Professional or employment-related information
Business contact details in order to provide you our services at a business level, job title as well as work history and professional qualifications if you apply for a job with us

YES
J. Education Information
Student records and directory information

NO
K. Inferences drawn from other personal information
Inferences drawn from any of the collected personal information listed above to create a profile or summary about, for example, an individual’s preferences and characteristics

NO

We may also collect other personal information outside of these categories instances where you interact with us in-person, online, or by phone or mail in the context of:
  • Receiving help through our customer support channels;
  • Participation in customer surveys or contests; and
  • Facilitation in the delivery of our Services and to respond to your inquiries.
How do we use and share your personal information?

More information about our data collection and sharing practices can be found in this privacy notice.

You may contact us by email at privacy@iasclaims.com, or by referring to the contact details at the bottom of this document.

If you are using an authorized agent to exercise your right to opt-out we may deny a request if the authorized agent does not submit proof that they have been validly authorized to act on your behalf.

Will your information be shared with anyone else?

We may disclose your personal information with our service providers pursuant to a written contract between us and each service provider. Each service provider is a for-profit entity that processes the information on our behalf.

We may use your personal information for our own business purposes, such as for undertaking internal research for technological development and demonstration. This is not considered to be "selling" of your personal data.

IAS Claim Services has not disclosed or sold any personal information to third parties for a business or commercial purpose in the preceding 12 months. IAS Claim Services will not sell personal information in the future belonging to website visitors, users and other consumers.

Your rights with respect to your personal data

Right to request deletion of the data - Request to delete

You can ask for the deletion of your personal information. If you ask us to delete your personal information, we will respect your request and delete your personal information, subject to certain exceptions provided by law, such as (but not limited to) the exercise by another consumer of his or her right to free speech, our compliance requirements resulting from a legal obligation or any processing that may be required to protect against illegal activities.

Right to be informed - Request to know

Depending on the circumstances, you have a right to know:
  • whether we collect and use your personal information;
  • the categories of personal information that we collect;
  • the purposes for which the collected personal information is used;
  • whether we sell your personal information to third parties;
  • the categories of personal information that we sold or disclosed for a business purpose;
  • the categories of third parties to whom the personal information was sold or disclosed for a business purpose; and
  • the business or commercial purpose for collecting or selling personal information.
In accordance with applicable law, we are not obligated to provide or delete consumer information that is de-identified in response to a consumer request or to re-identify individual data to verify a consumer request.

Right to Non-Discrimination for the Exercise of a Consumer’s Privacy Rights

We will not discriminate against you if you exercise your privacy rights.

Verification process

Upon receiving your request, we will need to verify your identity to determine you are the same person about whom we have the information in our system. These verification efforts require us to ask you to provide information so that we can match it with information you have previously provided us. For instance, depending on the type of request you submit, we may ask you to provide certain information so that we can match the information you provide with the information we already have on file, or we may contact you through a communication method (e.g. phone or email) that you have previously provided to us. We may also use other verification methods as the circumstances dictate.

We will only use personal information provided in your request to verify your identity or authority to make the request. To the extent possible, we will avoid requesting additional information from you for the purposes of verification. If, however, if we cannot verify your identity from the information already maintained by us, we may request that you provide additional information for the purposes of verifying your identity, and for security or fraud-prevention purposes. We will delete such additionally provided information as soon as we finish verifying you.

Other privacy rights
  • you may object to the processing of your personal data
  • you may request correction of your personal data if it is incorrect or no longer relevant, or ask to restrict the processing of the data
  • you can designate an authorized agent to make a request under the CCPA on your behalf. We may deny a request from an authorized agent that does not submit proof that they have been validly authorized to act on your behalf in accordance with the CCPA.
  • you may request to opt-out from future selling of your personal information to third parties. Upon receiving a request to opt-out, we will act upon the request as soon as feasibly possible, but no later than 15 days from the date of the request submission.
To exercise these rights, you can contact us by email at privacy@iasclaims.com, or by referring to the contact details at the bottom of this document. If you have a complaint about how we handle your data, we would like to hear from you.

11. DO WE MAKE UPDATES TO THIS NOTICE?     

In Short:  Yes, we will update this notice as necessary to stay compliant with relevant laws.

We may update this privacy notice from time to time. The updated version will be indicated by an updated "Revised" date and the updated version will be effective as soon as it is accessible. If we make material changes to this privacy notice, we may notify you either by prominently posting a notice of such changes or by directly sending you a notification. We encourage you to review this privacy notice frequently to be informed of how we are protecting your information.

12. HOW CAN YOU CONTACT US ABOUT THIS NOTICE?     

If you have questions or comments about this notice, you may contact our Data Protection Officer (DPO), Data Protection Officer, by email at dpo@iasclaims.com, by phone at 210-360-1340, or by post to:

IAS Claim Services
Data Protection Officer
1020 NE Loop 410
Ste805
San Antonio, TX 78209
United States

13. HOW CAN YOU REVIEW, UPDATE, OR DELETE THE DATA WE COLLECT FROM YOU?     

Based on the applicable laws of your country, you may have the right to request access to the personal information we collect from you, change that information, or delete it in some circumstances. To request to review, update, or delete your personal information, please submit a request form by clicking here. We will respond to your request within 30 days.