Insurance Claims

With over 20 years of experience dealing with insurance claims in Manhattan, West Village General Contracting has become a sought-after expert.   

Time is of the essence when your home has flooded, and there is a sequence to protecting your interests and handling your claim efficiently. We have created a process to restore your home in the shortest amount of time while minimizing headaches and expenses.     

You have one opportunity to get it right.    

Unfortunately, many homeowners often begin this process by attempting to manage it on their own, which leads to frustration. For most homeowners, a flood claim is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence while we deal with these types of insurance claims daily. Our established process saves our clients time, personal expense, and stress. They end up replacing what they had without any compromise (and often an upgrade!).   

An Example of Our Process  

After returning from Hong Kong, a frantic client calls us because their townhouse on Bethune Street in the West Village has flooded in their absence. We inspect the damage immediately and discover four inches of water in the basement and extensive water damage throughout.  

Our job in this early stage is to assemble the team, coordinate, organize and document the process.   

First, we have the client call their broker to notify the insurance carrier. 

Second, we contact our NY-based Public Adjuster, Eastern Public, to represent our client. This is the standard operating procedure for a claim over $250,000. While all Public Adjusters charge a similar fee which is a percentage of the overall settlement, most public adjusters deal with smaller claims nationwide and are not as successful in advocating in Manhattan. Eastern Public only works on high-end claims and has a great deal of experience in the city. This is critical as NYC is expensive and complex to build in.   

Third, take a 3D Matterport photographic scan of the space to provide an exact record of the current finishes and apartment details prior to remediation work beginning.  

Fourth, organize Morgan Manhattan Moving and Storage, our moving and storage partner, to move everything salvageable to a temperature and humidity-controlled storage facility before remediation begins.   

Artwork is delivered to our restoration partner for cleaning, drying, and storage.   

Fifth, we direct our client to Maxon’s Restoration Service, a Licensed remediation company that specializes in high-end residential remediation, to demolish and remove ruined items, dry the space, and remediate any mold.   

Sixth, a team of real estate agents works with our client to find fully furnished, short-term accommodations that fit their needs.    

Finally, Eastern Public and WVGC meet on-site with the insurance company’s adjuster and the construction consultant to mutually understand and establish scope with the insurance carrier. This is an essential step; insurance carriers often minimize scope knowing it’s harder to negotiate from a low initial estimate.  

After 4 weeks of estimating and negotiations, the claim is approved in full.    

6.5 months later, our construction team has restored the apartment to its original condition. Based on the photographic record and Matterport scan, our in-house design team works with the client to select and source furniture and finishes to match. SparkleNYC, our post-construction cleaning partner, prepares the apartment for furniture move-in. Morgan’s Moving and Storage return the client’s belongings to the proper places per the photographic inventory as if nothing ever happened. SparkleNYC performs a post move in touch-up clean prior to the client’s return home.  

Doing things the right way and in the right order ensures that this situation goes from a traumatic and potentially protracted experience to just an inconvenience.   

There are many moving parts to an insurance claim, and having the right construction team managing everything, means that you and your family can carry on with your busy lives with as little interruption as possible.  

Some more details on roles  

All claims start with your insurance carrier. Other insurance carriers may be involved depending on liability, but start by alerting your carrier through your broker to a potential loss.  

An easy way to understand how a claim works and where the friction points exist is to understand how the various stakeholders get paid. These are data points to understand when communicating with different providers.  

  • Insurance Carriers make money by taking premiums, not by paying out claims. They have built an entire industry to help them minimize the size of your claim.  
    • Insurance agents get better premiums from carriers based on low overall loss rates – how little the carrier pays each year to their clients.  
    • Brokers get paid by insurance companies to sell insurance.  
    • Most brokers understand the basics of the claims process and can help you submit the claim. Brokers do not know about construction costs, housing, remediation, mold, or the rules around claims subrogation if other parties are liable for the damage.  
  • Public Adjusters make money by getting paid a percentage of your settlement to represent your interests against your insurance carrier. They are a private company hired by you to represent your interests. A good public adjuster earns their commission and gets you much more than you could get on your own due to their understanding of the following:  
    • Policy limits.  
    • Subrogation process (if another party’s insurance company is liable for a portion of the claim).  
    • Negotiations with the various insurance carriers on your behalf.  
    • Bringing in specialists to provide and substantiate construction costs to all parties and carriers.  
    • Reasonable housing costs.  
    • The likelihood of a successful claim, guiding you accordingly and knowing when to push and when to accept the settlement.  

When do I need a Public Adjuster?  

Most homeowners significantly underestimate the time and cost of rebuilding an apartment in Manhattan. They assume that their carrier will pay a fair market rate for the work to be done and, therefore, delay hiring a team to represent them. Even seemingly small and simple claims can take a great deal of time to navigate.  

We feel that it is always worth speaking to a public adjuster at the time of loss. Our partner is Eastern Public, a family firm specializing in Manhattan high-end residential loss, will quickly assess if your claim needs their expertise or if you can handle it with your broker.  

When do I need a General Contractor?  

General Contractors make money by rebuilding your apartment. The more streamlined the process, the faster the rebuild can be completed. That means the happier you are likely to be and refer us.   

If you are looking for a GC who relies on speed, coordination, and client satisfaction to be profitable, then we are the GC most aligned with your interests. We thoroughly educate our team on how the process works, we get the most efficient professionals in the field on our side to assist with the claim, and then we drive the bus and keep the process moving.   


Most people have had an auto claim and understand that process. You crash, call your carrier, drop off your car at the shop and then pick it up a week or month later, or you get a new car. Home flooding claims are NOT the same.   

A residential insurance claim looks simple but generally proves to be complicated, time-consuming, and stressful.   

You suffer a loss and call your broker. Many people come to the apartment. You then wait for a check, and, in time, a relatively large check does arrive. Then you get pricing from contractors. You soon realize that this will take a great deal of organizing, and it doesn’t look like the check is anywhere near the amount of what is needed to resolve the problems. Meanwhile, your full-time life goes on.   

Where are you going to live? How do you arrange movers? Apparently, you have a mold problem. Shouldn’t your insurance company be helping me with this? By now, about 3 months have passed since the incident.   

After witnessing the stress and chaos and not winning projects because there was never enough money from the insurance company to do the job properly, West Village GC put together the process and team that we currently have.   

We have a long list of delighted clients who are happy to provide references from $50,000 to $3MM claims. One day we may ask the same of you. New clients like the reassurance of talking with real people who have been through the same experience.  

If you would like our team to take care of your claim, please give us a call.  

James Mansfield  


West Village GC