Letters

A discussion about Baxter's FM opinions

I always have found Dick Baxter's (president of CRS Inc., Monroe, N.C.) articles interesting and amusing. I write this letter not to criticize but to add to the discussion about FM Global [regarding "My observations of FM Global," December 2004 issue, page 23]. I see Baxter as a roofing contractor, but I think he wears many hats that cause him to become confused. Baxter is a prominent roofing expert and knows the ins and outs of the roofing industry. Insurance may be outside his experience. I am not an expert, either. I am a roof consultant. I suspect Baxter serves as a roof consultant also even if not by name.

Baxter does not say how he was connected to "the owner of a large office-warehouse complex who recently had a relatively large claim against its FM Global insurance policy." Was he the original contractor who installed/designed/inspected the roofs? I suspect he was involved with the roofs as the original contractor. To the best of my knowledge, FM Global is not an insurance company though roofing contractors see it as such because of its loss-prevention engineering and research services activities for insurance companies.

I don't think it is worth talking about the details of the loss claim based on Baxter's comments, but it is worth mentioning some overall comments. Property owners who suffer loss from perils that are covered by a casualty insurance policy and, subsequently, file a claim will learn the following:

  • They will deal with insurance claims adjusters—not FM Global loss-prevention engineers.

  • A loss-prevention engineer can be requested by the insurance company to determine the facts if the adjuster needs assistance.

  • FM Global provides a service to the insurance company for which it is paid.

  • A property owner can hire an FM Global loss-prevention engineer or outside expert/consultant/engineer just as an insurance company does.

  • It is the property owner's responsibility to purchase good roof systems that meet codes and insurance standards, not the insurance company's.

  • The legal system is used when there is a dispute that cannot be otherwise settled. A roofing contractor who didn't conform to an owner's specifications or executes incompetently during construction is subject to legal action by an owner. The owner then finds his insurance claim is not fully honored by his insurance company because of inferior construction.

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