Not sure if you need a forensic engineer?

It’s not always the size of the loss that determines whether or not you need the services of a forensic engineer.  Forensic engineers bring value to the claims process in a number of ways.  Our engineering services can help you establish coverage, set reserves and settle your client's claim quickly & equitably.  Findings from an investigation can be used to:

  • speed resolution of a claim by validating the source / events leading to the loss
  • prevent repetition of claims by identifying a systemic issue or source of fraud
  • identify which party is responsible for the loss (subrogation), which policy covers the loss and if an exclusion applies
  • improve underwriting for specialized risks 

Even if the claim appears straightforward, an origin and cause investigation is typically easier and generally more successful when initiated as soon after the loss as possible.  Large, complex, multi-party losses should always be considered for formal investigation. 

Not every claim requires a full investigation.  A review of the evidence and a verbal opinion may be all that is needed to provide “peace of mind” and a speedy settlement of the claim. The following scenarios illustrate situations where a forensic engineer’s expertise will be useful.

The claim involves multiple parties

There are often situations where multiple insurers are involved in a claim.  For example; a fire-related loss in a factory.  There could be a number of parties involved including; the insurer of the factory, the insurer of the company that installed or most recently tested the fire suppression system and the insurers of any neighboring businesses whose operations were affected.

You are suspicious about the nature of the incident.

We’d like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but the application of engineering principles and the use of technology by qualified experts are often the best method of determining the cause of a loss.  If a claim is going to be declined, a diligent investigation is owed to the insured and having third-party validation of the reasons will be useful.

The other party has engaged the services of a forensic engineer

It is not uncommon for information gathered during an investigation to be interpreted differently by experts.  While every opinion should be unbiased, it doesn’t mean that every interpretation of the causes of a loss will be the same. 

The claim may end up in court

If a negotiated settlement cannot be reached, you need to consider your position well before you are in court.  Using a qualified forensic engineer may mean the difference between a favorable or unfavorable judgment.

The claim involves the failure of a specific product or piece of machinery

While the claim of your insured might be valid, the loss might have been the result of the improper installation or repair of machinery by a 3rd-party or faulty product manufacturing.  A forensic engineer can help you ascertain whether there is a subrogation opportunity or not.

The claim involves a personal injury

If the claim involves a personal injury resulting from a motor vehicle collision, possible building code violation or product failure, a forensic engineer can provide an expert opinion regarding the relationship of the injury mechanism and the alleged source of liability.  Arcon's Collision Reconstructionists, Civil & Structural Engineers, Fire Investigators, Electrical Engineers and Mechanical / Metallurgical Engineers routinely provide guidance to insurance companies and injured parties in these matters.

There is structural damage

A Civil & Structural Engineer will be able to confirm whether damage to a structure can be repaired or if more substantial work is necssary.  They will be able to assist in determining the extent of damage caused by the damage mechanism (i.e. tree or vehicle impact) and what was pre-existing.  If reconstruction is required, engineering drawings can be provided and building permits applied for.  Often, a structural assessment and drawings are needed simply to estimate scope where an insured is cashing out.  Where safety is an issue such as after a fire, a Civil & Structural Engineer can determine what emergency shoring or demolition needs to be completed before further work can be done at the site.  In situations where a fire has caused structural damage, Arcon has staff with the combined expertise to perform both the structural assessment and origin & cause investigation of the fire.  This saves time and money.

You are self-insured (high per incident deductible)

There are companies where their per-incident deductible can mean that a considerable amount of money is being spent each year on this "self-insurance".  A forensic engineering investigation should be considered if the claim is near your limit of self insurance, the claim is small but there have been a number of similar claims or if you simply want peace of mind to know that you are not paying out for frivolous claims.

 

 

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Civil & Structural Assessments Collision Reconstruction Crash Data Retrieval Electrical Malfunctions Evidence Preservation Fires & Explosions Mechanical Failures Metallurgical (Materials) Analysis Personal Injuries Structural Design & Reconstruction

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Latest Publications

CAFI Chapter 006 Spring Seminar Postponed
Mar 16, 2020

The Canadian Association of Fire Investigators announced today that their annual Spring conference scheduled for May 11th - 13th, 2020, has been postponed.

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COVID-19 Update
Mar 16, 2020

IMPORTANT NOTICE ON MEASURES TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF COVID-19.

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