Now with Claims Adjusters in OH, KY, IL & MI

On-Scene Truck Accident Investigation, Huntinton, IN 12.28.16

For over 17 years, Ouellette & Associates has been handling long haul trucking and cargo claims in Indiana. Our owner managed an IA firm that specialized in trucking claims 14 years prior to that. Our CEO, Joe Ouellette, has been handling these types of claims for over 57 years and is still an active Adjuster for us. Along with Joe, our other Team Ouellette Adjusters have a combined total of 150 years’ experience.

We have handled claims for a nationally-known and well-recognized worldwide Trucking and Air Cargo Transportation Company for roughly 31 years. Recently, we were approached by this company to not only handle claims for the entire state of Indiana but to also handle claims in our surrounding states of Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois and Michigan.

O&A Service Area

Ouellette and Associates – Service Area

Once this new and exciting opportunity arose and we decided that this was a great step forward for O&A, we went into action. We interviewed NAIIA member firms and put together a team of qualified Adjusters in Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois and Michigan to help us handle claims for this Trucking Company.

We now proudly not only have a strong presence in the state of Indiana, which we have held for over 17 years, but also in our bordering states in order to handle claims for this company with the quality and care that Ouellette & Associates is known for!

All claims, regardless of which state it is in, will be called into the Indianapolis our office at 317-915-9136 or email directly to Matt Ouellette . We will then dispatch the appropriate Adjusters in any of these states to handle the field work and reporting. All reports will continue to be reviewed for quality and accuracy by Matt Ouellette before being sent onto our client.

With the above in mind, we are now able to handle all lines of claim assignments in all 5 of these states. So, should you have a Trucking, Property, Casualty, or GL claim – please give Team Ouellette & Associates the opportunity to handle these claims in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois and Michigan.

The Role of an Independent Adjuster in Property Damage Claims

Property damage can be expensive to repair, which is why most people have adequate insurance to cover the expenses. They pay premiums on insurance for commercial and residential properties and fully expect to get financial compensation if their property is damaged due to a covered peril. However, before they can claim the compensation, the property damage must be assessed. This is done by the insurance adjuster.

Who is an Insurance Adjuster?

The insurance adjuster is a professional who will inspect your property damage thoroughly and provide the report to your Insurance Company, with recommendations of payment. It is the adjuster’s duty to be thorough and inspect every area that has been effected by the covered peril, preparing an estimate and reaching an agreed scope and estimate with the contractor of your choice.

How to Handle the Claims Process

• Call the insurance company as soon as you can and report the damage. You should know that the insurance company will listen to everything you say carefully, so be honest and provide as many details as you can. You should also tell them if you’re uncertain about the full extent of the damage.

• Ask the insurance company to send a property damage adjuster immediately or hire third party independent adjuster to provide unbiased and straightforward advice.

• Once they’re in your property, point out the area where the damage is most visible and let them know if you don’t understand the full extent of it. As an insured person, you should make sure that the adjuster doesn’t limit their inspection to areas with visible damage. Not all damage caused by storms, floods, accidents, etc, are immediately apparent. You need to inspect the property closely to determine the full extent of the damage.

What Role Does the Insurance Adjuster Play?

An insurance adjuster is a very important part of the claims process. They help you and the insurance company agree on the acceptable compensation amount. Without the insurance adjuster, the insurance company would offer a possible compensation amount while you would try to get the highest possible one. Here is how an insurance adjuster can help you:

• They’re well-trained and have experience in assessing property damage. They’re familiar with different types of damage caused by natural disasters and accidents, so they’ll know where to check and how deeply they should investigate the matter.

• Adjusters are also familiar with the latest industry prices, so they will provide a fairly accurate estimate of the repair cost. An unbiased adjuster will ensure the compensation amount covers good quality materials and labor.

• An independent adjuster will meet with the insurance company representative and explain the extent of the damage and recommend steps which would restore the property to the pre-loss state.

• The adjuster’s goal is to ensure the company and the insured individuals come to an agreement regarding the compensation amount.

As you can see, the insurance adjuster plays an important role in the claims process and the right adjuster can ensure all parties involved are satisfied.

Ouellette & Associates, Inc. is an independent insurance claims firm covering the entire state of Indiana and the adjacent counties of Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio. Click here to assign a claim.

Our New South Bend Branch Manager/GA – Mike Gaseor

We are pleased to announce that Mike Gaseor has accepted a position as our new South Bend Branch Manager and General Adjuster!

Michael Gaseor, South Bend Insurance AdjusterMike has over 39 years’ experience as an Independent Adjuster and is a true Multi-Line Adjuster. Mike came highly recommended to us and references referred to him as “very professional” and “very knowledgeable from small claims to Multi-Million Dollar Claims”. He has an extensive background in the handling of many different claims from Personal Home Owner claims to large Commercial Property claims and is proficient in Xactimate 28 software.

Mike has been with a National IA firm since 1992. He has been responsible to be on call 24/7/365 to handle on-scene trucking accidents all over the Northern portion of Indiana, as well as the Southern Counties of Michigan. Mike is quite understanding of the complexities of the trucking business and the exposure these claims present. Therefore, he understands the importance of getting on scene promptly to properly investigate all aspects of a Truck Loss, as well as the handling of Cargo Claims.

Mike also has experience in handling many Municipality & Governmental Entity Accounts. Many references have applauded him for his knowledge to properly investigate all aspects of these types of claims.

Given Mike’s extensive IA experience, his ability to properly handle all claims that are assigned to him, and knowing the importance of reporting to our clients in a timely manner, we feel that Mike will be quite an asset to Ouellette & Associates.

Mike can be contacted via email or by phone – (offc) 574-237-0442 or (cell) 574-298-1544 and is ready to begin the handling of claims in our South Bend territory. He is also more than willing to travel to any of our other 4 Indiana office territories, as needed, to assist and provide his expertise.

Welcome, Mike Gaseor!

Immediate On-Scene Truck Investigations

Truck accidents with a potential for fuel spill or chemical spill are handled as a “rush assignment.” When a semi is carrying a load of potential hazardous materials and is involved in an accident, we at Ouellette & Associates are on the scene immediately after the call comes in to us.

We are not only there to investigate the facts surrounding the accident, but we are also confirming the load being transported – documenting the type of Hazardous Materials for determination of spill recovery needs that meet IDOT standards; and to coordinate any spill clean-up to mitigate any potential environmental claims that may present themselves at a later date.

The images attached are from a recent said on-scene truck investigation. The accident occurred 12.28.2016 at 2pm. We were called at 2:45pm and were on the scene at 3:20pm. At SR 9 and CR 200 North, Huntington, IN, a client unit was traveling north on SR9 when another semi passing cut in front of them causing the driver to veer off to the right in order to avoid a collision. However, the steer wheel went into the gravel, causing the driver to lose control and roll the unit over into the grassy area on the right of the roadway.


The materials shown in the images are the cargo on board, which were nonhazardous cleaning solutions. When we were dispatched, the terminal was not sure what was being transported and concerned of HAZMAT materials. We confirmed not. They were also concerned about potential fuel leak, and again, we confirmed not. We did dispatch a HAZMAT team to confirm our findings and make appropriate report to INDOT (Indiana Department of Transportation).

Ouellette and Associates is available 24/7/365 for all claim assignments. Call 317-915-9136 or click here to file a claim.

Common Fire Hazards at Home

Ouellette & Associates is a true multi-line Independent Adjustment firm which handles claims from on-scene truck accidents to large commercial fire losses.

As we are in the prime time for fires in homes and businesses, there are some key areas that we’d like to address that can cause these fires. In our experience, we see many accidents that can be easily avoided with proper care and maintenance.

Clothes Dryer Fires

Inside clothes dryer after being on fireThe image below are reflective of a clothes dryer fire caused by vents not being cleaned regularly. This causes a backup of heat into the dryer, and any lint on the lint filter can catch fire very easily. In turn, this causes extreme smoke and can cause extensive fire damage to the structure if not caught promptly. A good sign that there is lint build-up in your vent is if your clothes are taking longer than normal to dry. Regular cleanings and maintenance can help keep you safe and your dryer working more efficiently.

 

Space Heater Safety

Space Heater with Auto-Shut offAnother source of wintertime fires is the ‘space heater.’ As many try to save money on their heating bills, space heaters are often used. If used improperly, or not properly maintained, space heaters allow for a grave fire hazards and have caused several fires in Indiana this year – some resulting in death, as they spread so quickly.

For your safety, there are some basic guidelines to choosing an appropriate space heater. Be sure to choose the size of heater
that corresponds with the space you wish to heat. Also, make sure that it can’t be easily tipped over — and if so, that the space heater has an auto-shut off in case of tipping or of excessive heat. For space heaters, and any other electrical / extension cords, do not run the cords under carpeting – and make sure each plug fits snug in the outlets.Space Heater Safety Instructions

Electrical compromises in a structure are arched by the cold when the heat is turned up, and any compromise from the thermostat to the igniter of the furnace can cause electrical fires, again causing a lot of smoke and potential structure damage. A good reference site for these hazardous issues is http://www.interfire.org/res_file/92114-10.asp

Fireplace Safety

Creosote buildup in a fireplace is also very dangerous. Most homeowners who rarely use their fire places do not think about having the chimney cleaned. Chimney cleaning should be done periodically, regardless of limited usage, to reduce or minimize creosote buildup, which is highly flammable, causing many of these said house fires.Electric Fireplace

Please use caution when using clothes dryers, space heaters, extension cords and fire places. Follow their usage and maintenance instructions. Keep dryers clear of lint and fireplaces clear of creosote and all electrical appliances far enough away from other items which could catch fire.

Wishing you a safe winter and holiday season!