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Rebuilding After Your Loss | Settlement of Your Insurance Claim

Rebuilding After Your Loss
Settlement of Your Insurance Claim
Written by Tamara Embry of Smith-Embry Insurance Associates, Inc.

image1Once your loss has been reported to your insurance carrier and an adjuster has assessed the damage, an evaluation of your loss will be sent to the carrier for settlement of your claim. Depending upon the number of losses in your geographical area, it may take some time before the adjuster arrives on your premises and before your claims process begins. Do not hesitate to contact your assigned claims adjuster or insurance agent for help in settling your claim or getting an update on the settlement of your claim.

When your loss has been evaluated, you should receive a letter with a copy of the documentation used in the evaluation of your claim. If the damaged structure is insured for replacement cost, you initially will receive a check for the gross loss, less your deductible and less depreciation. The letter should advise the amount of time you have to repair or rebuild the damaged structure for reimbursement of the held-back depreciation. Should the repair or rebuilding take longer than the amount of time provided, contact your assigned claims adjuster as soon as possible to ask for any extension available.

Once the repairs or replacement of the damaged structure has been completed, you must submit repair receipts, invoices, or any other form of documentation to the insurance company to make claim for the held-back depreciation.

If the damaged structure is a total loss, insured for replacement cost and you do not plan to rebuild back to size and/or scope of the original structure, your claim is settled for the gross loss, less your deductible and deprecation, and the insurance carrier will not reimburse the held-back depreciation.

If the damaged structure is insured for actual cash value, the insurance company will settle your claim for actual cash value less depreciation, and you cannot make claim to the depreciation once repairs or replacement have been completed. Actual cash value is defined as the smallest of 1) the cost to repair or replace the property with materials of like kind and quality to the extent practical or 2) the actual cash value of the property at the time of the loss with the exception of mobile homes insured for actual cash value which also include 3) the difference in the actual cash value just before the loss and the actual cash value just after the loss.

Whether you have structures requiring repair or replacement, or whether they are insured for replacement cost or actual cash value, your claims adjuster should provide you with any information requested and help in settling your claim. Although your insurance agent is not directly involved in the claims settlement process, you should feel free to contact him or her for any assistance you feel is needed.

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Rebuilding After Your Loss | Taking the Necessary Steps

Written by Tamara Embry of Smith-Embry Insurance Associates, Inc.

Any type of property loss can be devastating. The last thing you need to worry about is reporting the claim to your insurance carrier and the next steps to take. Can you even find your insurance carrier’s phone number? Your insurance documents may have been lost in the event causing your loss. If you cannot find a phone number to contact your insurance carrier directly, call your insurance agent to report the claim on your behalf.

It IS extremely important you contact your insurance carrier’s claims department or your insurance agent as quickly as possible. The sooner you report your claim, the sooner the insurance carrier can have an adjuster on your property to assess your loss and begin the claims process. The adjuster is there to help you so be sure to provide them with as much information as possible.

se pic 2The next step, after contacting your insurance carrier or agent, is take necessary steps to prevent further damage to your property. If you have lost a portion of a structure’s roof, you should cover the open area with tarp or some other material to prevent damage to the interior of the structure. You may want to move any property from within the structure to another location to prevent damage from the elements.

You should contact at least two contractors or builders to get estimates for the cost to repair or rebuild the structures that have been damaged or destroyed. If the devastation is widespread in your area, be patient in getting quotes as it could take some time to get a contractor on your property.

Your insurance policy should provide coverage for your temporary stay in a hotel or for an apartment rental if your house is inhabitable. Be sure to keep receipts for the stay in a hotel or apartment, and your meals if staying in a hotel. The “loss of use” on your dwelling coverage should reimburse you for these expenses. se pic

Some policies may provide “loss of use”, “business expense” or “extra expense” on your farm structures. If your policy provides this coverage, you have a commercial operation and must rent stalls at another location for the boarding of horses, owned & non-owned, your insurance carrier should reimburse you for those rental expenses.

Finally, if you need assistance in the handling of your claim, your insurance agent should be able to provide you help. Although your agent is not directly involved in the handling and settlement of your claim, they should still be able to provide assistance in the claims process.

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What is Vesticular Stomatitis?

What is Vesticular Stomatitis?

Vesicular Stomatitis

Vesicular stomatitis is a viral disease that primarily affects cattle, horses, swine and occasionally sheep and goats. Humans can also become infected with vesicular stomatitis when handling affected animals.

Vesicular stomatitis is most likely to occur during warm months in the Southwest, particularly along riverways and in valleys. The Southwestern United States experienced a vesicular stomatitis outbreak from May 1998 through January 1999. It is essential that veterinarians and livestock owners be on the alert for animals displaying clinical signs characteristic of the disease.

In affected livestock, vesicular stomatitis causes blisterlike lesions to form in the mouth and on the dental pad, tongue, lips, nostrils, hooves, and teats. These blisters swell and break, leaving raw tissue that is so painful that infected animals generally refuse to eat or drink and show signs of lameness. Severe weight loss usually follows, and in dairy cows, a severe drop in milk production commonly occurs. Affected dairy cattle can appear to be normal and will continue to eat about half of their feed intake.

Epidemiology:

Vesicular stomatitis has been confirmed only in North and South America. It is known to be an endemic disease in the warmer regions of the Western Hemisphere, but outbreaks of the disease occasionally occur in temperate geographic areas.

How vesicular stomatitis spreads is not fully known; insect vectors, mechanical transmission, and movement of animals are probably responsible. One type of vesicular stomatitis virus is known to be spread by phlebotomine sandflies. Once introduced into a herd, the disease apparently moves from animal to animal by contact or exposure to saliva or fluid from ruptured lesions.

Humans can contract vesicular stomatitis when handling affected animals if proper biosecurity methods are not followed. Prevalence of this disease in humans may be underreported because it may often go undetected or be misdiagnosed. In people, vesicular stomatitis causes an acute influenza-like illness with symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, headache, and malaise.

Why is it so important to promptly recognize animals with vesicular stomatitis?

We live in an area where this disease has often been seen in past years, and in fact Fort Collins was the epicenter of the last U.S. outbreak in 1998. Thus, we have an increased risk of seeing cases in Colorado this year as cases have recently been confirmed in horse premises in Texas and

New Mexico. Vesicular stomatitis is recognized internationally as a reportable disease, which means that there are serious economic and regulatory repercussions associated with the diagnosis, and several countries have already taken action to block movement of U.S. horses as a result of the TX and NM cases. If a VS case were diagnosed at the VTH and it appeared that transmission might have occurred within the VTH then we could be quarantined for several months. In 1998, the average duration of quarantine of affected premises was 120 days, and it was generally longer at large operations!

While vesicular stomatitis can cause economic losses to livestock producers, it is a particularly significant disease because its outward signs are similar to (although generally less severe than) those of foot-and-mouth disease, a foreign animal disease of cloven-hoofed animals that was eradicated from the United States in 1929. The clinical signs of vesicular stomatitis are also similar to those of swine vesicular disease, another foreign animal disease. The only way to tell these diseases apart is through laboratory tests.

What are clinical signs of vesicular stomatitis?

In affected livestock, the incubation period for vesicular stomatitis ranges from 2 to 8 days. Often, excessive salivation is the first sign. Body temperature may rise immediately before or at the same time lesions first appear. Initially, close examination of the mouth reveals blanched and raised vesicles. If there are no complications such as secondary infections, then affected animals recover in about 2 weeks. Vesicular stomatitis does not generally cause animals to die.

Clinical signs of vesicular stomatitis and other vesicular diseases include:

Excessive salivation

Blanched raised or broken vesicles of various sizes in the mouth:

Horses: upper surface of the tongue, surface of the lips and around nostrils, corners of the mouth and the gums.

Cattle: tongue, lips, gums, hard palate, and sometimes muzzle and around the nostrils

Pigs: snout.

Lesions involving feet of horses and cattle are not exceptional.

Teat lesions occur in dairy herds.

Foot lesions and lameness are frequent in pigs.

Recovery in around 2 weeks.

Complication: loss of production and mastitis in dairy herds due to secondary infections, lameness in horses. Erosions and exudate in the nares. Cow drooling because of mouth lesions.

Erosions – ruptured vesicles – of the gingiva. Erosions on a teat. Erosions and dried exudate on the coronary band and heal.

Hyperemia and beginning erosions on the coronary bands.

Erosions – ruptured vesicles – on the tongue. Vesicles on the tongue.

The above pictures were obtained from:

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/ep/fad_training/VESVOL7/vesindex.htm

What can we do to protect our animals?

There is no specific treatment or cure for vesicular stomatitis. Owners can protect their animals from this disease by avoiding congregation of animals in the vicinity where vesicular stomatitis has occurred. Mild antiseptic mouthwashes may bring comfort and more rapid recovery to an affected animal. Good sanitation and quarantine practices on affected farms usually contain the infection until it dies out of its own accord.

In order to protect our hospital and our patients, we will include appropriate questions related to vesicular stomatitis when taking all patient histories, and we will purposefully look for characteristic lesions when performing admission examinations for all susceptible patients. We will also ask the owners of susceptible animals to have their animal examined by a referring veterinarian for the presence of characteristic lesions within 48 hours before arriving at the hospital.

When a definite diagnosis of vesicular stomatitis is made on a farm, the following procedures are recommended:

Immediately contact your local veterinarian or State or Federal animal health authorities.

Separate animals with lesions from healthy animals, preferably by stabling. Animals on pastures apparently are affected more frequently with this disease.

As a precautionary measure, do not move animals from premises affected by vesicular stomatitis—unless they are going directly to slaughter—for at least 30 days after the last lesion found has healed.

Implement on-farm insect control programs that include the elimination or reduction of insect breeding areas and the use of insecticide sprays or insecticide treated eartags on animals.

Use protective measures when handling affected animals to avoid human exposure to this disease.

Additional information:

To see more pictures of what these lesions might look like, please visit the following site:

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/ep/fad_training/VESVOL7/page02_7.htm

Additional information can be obtained from the following web pages:

http://www.quarterh.com/health3.htm

http://www.oie.int/eng/maladies/fiches/A_A020.HTM

http://www.vetmed.wisc.edu/pbs/zoonoses/vsv/vsvindex.html

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/ep/fad_training/VESVOL7/vesindex.htm

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