be contracted to get CAT members to severely impacted areas. It may be critical to
photograph the loss areas from the air. A
pattern of destruction versus no destruction may be apparent from above. Building
construction issues implicating potential
subrogation may exist because of differing
materials and construction techniques used
within those substantially similar buildings
to explain damage versus no damage, and
you may not be able to recognize those conditions from a street-level view. Video of the
loss areas is also highly recommended.
“you must run at least twice as
fast as that!” said the Queen
Management of a CAT loss requires
“running twice as fast,” because of the
lack of resources in the affected areas.
Steps to follow include determining:
J Potential parties
J Area of origin of the loss
J Security issues
J Evidence preservation
J Controls of site access
J Protocols for investigation
J Evidence removal procedures
J Complete documentation for the area
CAT Subrogation Hurdles
E Time is of the essence.
E Preserve the scene.
E Pre-stage safety gear and kits.
E Assume roads, waterways, and airports were
impacted and ensure there are alternative
methods to get to the scene.
E Obtain aerial photos/videos of the loss areas.
E Look for unusual areas of damage to buildings that do not appear in identical buildings
in the same area.
E Seek a building consultant to evaluate concurring causes of the loss.
E Attain subrogation counsel to ensure immediate loss notice to potential defendants occurs
and minimize delay and loss of earnings.
E Do not be penny-wise and pound-foolish
when the potential for subrogation may exist.
J Communication systems are operable
J Agreed-upon destructive testing protocols
Cost-sharing agreements for maintenance, security, cost of equipment rental
and needed demolition.
Out of the Rabbit Hole
Preplanning, pre-staging, and training assists CAT members in evaluating subrogation issues as part of their
claims handling duties. That preparation minimizes delays inherent in
adjusting catastrophic losses. These
suggestions provide claims professionals with a concise outline to manage a
loss site while preserving subrogation
opportunities and avoiding creating a
“looking-glass book” while in the catastrophe zone. K
Peter Lynch is a member of the Subrogation and Recovery Department at Cozen
O’Connor, practicing in the firm’s San
Diego office, and concentrating in subrogation and recovery, with an emphasis in fire losses, contracts, and other
civil matters. Contact Lynch at plynch@
cozen.com and follow him on Twitter @
firesandrain. For information on emerging subrogation and recovery issues,
visit http://subrogationandrecoverylaw-blog.com/ and follow @CozenSubro on
Wayne A. Sowers, CPCU is executive
general adjuster at GAB Robins North
America, Inc., a division of Cunningham
Lindsey. Contact Sowers at wsowers@