You can read all of our articles on our website. Having trouble getting our emails?  Change your spam controls and whitelist 

Service people not leaving damaged equipment behind when insurance claim is made

May 14, 2024
Service people not leaving damaged equipment behind when insurance claim is involved from article on April 27, 2024  
      I do freelance work as a Forensic Electrical Inspector.
      I go out on insurance claims and verify for numerous insurance carriers a claim for water or surge damaged equipment is actually damaged. 
      I have been running into installers who replace a surge damaged alarm system and then take the damaged equipment with them and trashing it.  When I get on-site to do the examination and the equipment was taken and disposed of this will result many times in the Insured to not have the claim paid by their insurance carrier and this can put the installing company at risk of having to pay the customer’s claim.  Without the equipment on site and disposed also leaves the installing company at risk of being charged with fraud because there is now no proof the item taken was bad and one such Electrical Contractor was charged because he was claiming items were bad when they were not. Because many times I find items are not truly damaged which obviously save insurance companies in long run .      That's why they hire us in first place. 
         Would you please remind alarm company to leave behind and do not dispose of equipment until it has been properly released.
Nick M
            Nick’s comment is in response to my suggestion that after a loss you make an effort to secure whatever information may be available to you, such as panel history or system components, telephone records and central station activity reports.  I did not suggest removing equipment or otherwise interfering with the preservation of equipment.  Preserving evidence is something a claimant who is in possession of the equipment needs to do. 
            Others commented that often First Responders will cordon off a loss site, whether it’s a fire or other casualty or crime site, so alarm companies, who are not First Responders, will not have access.  Obviously if the alarm tech beats the fire department or police to a loss site removing evidence, which means anything to do with the incident, would not only hurt a potential claimant from pursuing a claim, but may be interfering with police or fire department investigation.  Most likely every state has a law similar to New York:
            Penal Law: Tampering with physical evidence
§ 215.40 Tampering with physical evidence.
    A person is guilty of tampering with physical evidence when:
1. With intent that it be used or introduced in an official proceeding
or a prospective official proceeding, he (a) knowingly makes, devises or
prepares false physical evidence, or (b) produces or offers such
evidence at such a proceeding knowing it to be false; or
2. Believing that certain physical evidence is about to be produced or
used in an official proceeding or a prospective official proceeding, and
intending to prevent such production or use, he suppresses it by any act
of concealment, alteration or destruction, or by employing force,
intimidation or deception against any person.
   Tampering with physical evidence is a class E felony.

            What happens if there is a loss and your subscriber requests repairs or that you investigate the cause?  What happens if First Responders have left the scene but insurance inspector has not been to the site?  Maybe the subscriber hasn’t even called the carrier yet.  A carrier needs to have a reasonable amount of time to investigate the loss.  What’s reasonable depends on the loss.  Some messes can be left for longer periods than other losses; some losses need to be cleaned up immediately, such a water in a building.  The best idea is to put the carrier on notice by whatever communication can be made letting the carry know of the time schedule anticipated.  Typically, the carrier will want damages contained and remediation begun as quickly as possible; the carrier will rely on the people brought in for the emergency repairs to provide information.  Letting the carrier know about inspection for causation or remediation, in advance, will usually be sufficient to preserve the obligation of an insured to provide prompt notice of a claim and cooperate with the carrier. 
            If you do remove a panel or a component be sure to preserve it for later inspection and testing by others.

STANDARD FORMS  Alarm /  Security / Fire and related Agreements
 click here:

CONCIERGE LAWYER SERVICE PROGRAM FOR THE ALARM INDUSTRY You can check out the program and sign up here: or contact our Program Coordinator Stacy Spector, Esq at 516 747 6700 x 304.
ALARM ARTICLES:  You can always read our Articles on our website at  updated daily             
THE ALARM EXCHANGE - the alarm industries leading classified and business exchange - updated daily
Wondering how much your alarm company is worth?  
Click here:
Getting on our Email List / Email Articles archived: 
    Many of you are forwarding these emails to friends or asking that others be added to the list.  Sign up for our daily newsletter here: Sign Up.  You can read articles and order alarm contracts on our web site

Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301