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Insurance Law/Contractor trees

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Question
At  a site approved for construction my contractor uprooted a tree thinking it was on my property. It was in fact a border tree that needed to be removed to allow construction however had he realized he would sought the neighbors permission. The neighbor is now threatening to sue for a ridiculously high amount. Does my  construction liability or home owners insurance on that property cover me? And will they step up and take over the suit?

Answer
Shelly,

The contractor themselves should have liability insurance that would cover this type of event. The problem may be in what was originally told to him (by you) regarding the tree in the first place. If you thought it was on your property and he was instructed to remove it as part of the construction you are doing, then you may have liability.

If you have a "builder's risk" policy in lace for the new construction, you should go ahead and file a claim ASAP. They would be required to investigate the claim by the neighbor and go from there.

You might want to go ahead and file on your HO policy as well just to put them on notice so they don't get blind-sided if suit is eventually filed. They would be required to defend the suit up to the point that coverage is determined to be excluded.

Hope this helps.

Kevin Hromas
JD, EGA, RPA, PLCS, HCRI-R/C, CPIU, WINDŽ Umpire
Kevin Hromas & Associates
... A Division of US Insurance Information LLC
www.KevinHromas.com

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Kevin Hromas

Expertise

I am a licensed, executive general adjuster currently holding a Texas resident P&C license (614250), New Mexico non-resident all lines license (248774), Oklahoma non-resident P/F/M license (A299561), Florida non-resident P&C license (E117051) and a National Flood Insurance Program certification (06040100). My areas of expertise involve property and casualty issues in both residential and commercial policies with regards to claims practices and issues. I deal extensively with Lloyd's of London commercial policies and various domestic carriers for residential policies.

Experience

After a 20 year career as a General Contractor, I was employed by Allstate Insurance as an adjuster in Texas, holding various postitions within the property claims department. After leaving Allstate, I specialized in handling losses associated with major catastrophes through-out the country. (Hurricanes Isabel, Charlie, Wilma, Katrina, Ike, etc., hail storms, floods.) I am currently retained as an expert by multiple insurance defense firms in Texas for issues in litigation. I am also a certified Umpire for formal appraisals.

Organizations
Member - Society of Registered Professional Adjusters Fellow - Council on Litigation Management Member - Property and Casualty Association Member - Texas Independent Insurances Adjusters Association Member - National Association of independent Insurance Adjusters Member - Houston Claims Association

Publications
Claims Magazine (www.ClaimsMag.com and then search 'Kevin Hromas' for a full listing of articles and quotes.) www.ClaimsPages.com, www.ProAdjuster.org, www.KevinHromas.com

Education/Credentials
JD - University of Houston Law Center - 1992 BA - Southwest Texas State University - 1980 AA - South Plains College - 1977 PLCS - Personal Lines Coverage Specialist

Past/Present Clients
Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, London, Fulbright & Jaworski (Law Firm), Bracket & Ellis (Law Firm) Thamm & O'Briant (Law Firm) Sheehy, Ware & Pappas (Law Firm) Walker, Wilcox and Matousek (Law Firm) Financial Guarantee Underwriters

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