Adjusters who deny paying for environmental testing despite regulations that require it. Burke Allen asked 11 months ago
Adjusters who deny paying for environmental testing despite regulations that require it.

Hi, our firm performs water damage mitigation and restoration services in the metro Atlanta area. As part of our services we often need to remove flooring and drywall from our customer’s properties. To comply with Federal and State regulations we have the home owner’s obtain relevant environmental test for lead on homes built prior to 1978 and for asbestos on home built regardless of the age. This is to comply with EPA, Georgia EPD and OSHA regulations, the most restrictive, to our knowledge, of which is the GA EPD and OSHA. We generally recommend one or more companies in our area to the property owner to have the test performed by as we are not a licensed asbestos firm in Georgia. and we feel having an unbiased 3rd party serves both us and the property owner the best.

Our customers routinely run into issues with adjusters when it comes time to pay for these tests. especially for asbestos testing when the adjuster feels it is not needed due to the age of the house, and you pick any date from 1990, 1994, 2000, 2004, etc. that you want as different adjusters use different dates to justify denying the need for the test. If you know anything about the asbestos regulations none of them have an “expiry” date on their regulations.

The GA EPD regulations clearly state that any material that could possibly contain asbestos be, “Either treated as though it does, or tested to prove it does not” contain asbestos, OSHA carriers the same stipulations and this is regardless of the age of the materials or the age of the property.

So my question is how do our customers best go about getting their insurance company to pay for the testing? The test is needed to verify the affected materials do not contain asbestos, when demoing and repairing their property due to an approved claim around a covered peril in their policy.

Here is a link to the Georgia EPD flyer that we provide our customers and adjusters, that clearly states the need for this. https://epd.georgia.gov/document/document/asbestos-renovation-and-demolition-requirements-georgia-projects/download

1 Answers
Judith Vickers Judith Vickers Expert answered 11 months ago

Burke,

In the state of Georgia, insurance carriers seem to be more open to asbestos and lead testing in homes built before 1978 than with homes built after. Several of them will not allow their adjusters on the property after a claim until proper testing and, if needed, abatement is performed.

Demonstrating on a case-by-case basis, the need for asbestos and lead testing may be one way to have the carrier consider paying for these environmental tests. It is likely that after testing, if asbestos is detected at a certain threshold, the carrier would pay for the tests after the fact. However, if nothing is detected, they may take the position that the testing was unnecessary, and then the policyholder is responsible for paying for the tests.

The political environment in Georgia is currently not favorable for certain types of testing when the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) is not routinely enforcing the GA EPD regulations. Unfortunately, that seems to be the real issue as it relates to certain insurance carriers not being open to paying for these tests.