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Damage Claims Processing Thor Wishart Utility Field Services Manager Gainesville Regional Utilities
GRU General Information • Electric 100K • Gas 40K • Water 60K • Other Services: WW, Telecommunications • GRU is Located in North Central Florida • Annual revenue of 250 M
GRU Insurance • GRU is Self-Insured • Damages less than $1,000 are processed internally. • Damages in excess of $1,000, or when there is questionable liability, are forwarded to a third party adjuster. (Note: processing fee of approximately $400 per claim)
Service Interruptions • Claims are denied due to interruptions of service as set forth in City Ordinance 27-10. • Exceptions: • Delinquent work orders improperly issued. • Billing and payment errors. (i.e. EFT, posting errors) • Crew errors from turning the wrong meter off.
City Ordinance • Sec. 27-10. City not liable for failure of service. • The city will at all times use reasonable diligence to provide continuous service and having used due diligence shall not be liable to the consumer for complete or partial failure or interruption of service, or for fluctuations in voltage or pressure, resulting from causes beyond its control, or through the ordinary negligence of its employees, servants, or agents, nor shall the city be liable for the direct or indirect consequences of interruptions or curtailments made in accordance with the provisions of any of its rate schedules. The city shall not be liable for any act or omission caused directly or indirectly by strikes, labor troubles, accidents, litigation, shutdowns or repairs or adjustments, interference by federal, state, or municipal governments, acts of God, for any damage resulting from the bursting of any main, service pipe or cock, from the shutting off for repairs, extensions or connections, or for the accidental failure of supply from any cause whatsoever. In case of emergency the city shall have the right to restrict the use of utilities in any reasonable manner for the protection of the public, the city and its utilities. • (Ord. No. 3754, § 8, 1-27-92; Ord. No. 990725, § 1, 12-13-99)
Common Claims • Food spoilage • Flooding of homes due to sewer blockage • Damages due to faulty neutral, voltage spikes • Miscellaneous claims: damaged mail boxes, irrigation systems, signs and gates
Damage Claims are Sent to a Variety of Locations • <$1,000 Electric T&D • <$1,000 Field Services • <$1,000 Gas Construction • <$1,000 W/WW Construction • <$1,000 GRUCom • >$1,000 -Third Party Administrator of Claims adjuster (Underwriters Safety & Claims) Note:3yr contract renewal/ Risk Management
Damage Claim Procedures • When a request is received for reimbursement of damages (whether via phone call, in writing or per invoice), such request shall be immediately forwarded to the affected department for investigation. If, after full investigation and documentation of the circumstances of the claim, a finding is made by management that liability rests with Gainesville Regional Utilities (or that settlement is otherwise in the best economic interest of GRU), the following action shall be taken: • Claims exceeding $1,000.00: • A copy of the investigation and supporting documentation along with the appropriate manager’s recommended disposition of the claim should be sent to Legal Services (A-138) for review and evaluation. • Claims of $1,000.00 or less: • A Release and Settlement of Claim (RSC) shall be prepared as required by GRU Administrative Guideline 3.1, Settlement of Small Claims. • The draft RSC with the background information attached shall then be forwarded to Legal Services. • After review, the Utilities Attorney will initial the RSC and return the packet to the department. • A MAP form shall be prepared and forwarded to Accounting along with a copy of the initialed RSC and any other supporting documentation. [NOTE: Use only MAP forms; PO’s, Requisitions or NOI’s are not acceptable.] Special instructions for check delivery should be included on the MAP form. If the check is to be mailed directly to the Claimant by Accounting, please attach extra copies of any documentation to be enclosed with the check. In most cases, the check should be delivered to the Claimant only if the RSC has been fully executed. • If the department desires to have Legal Services forward the packet directly to Accounting, attach the completed MAP form with a note of instruction when transmitting the RSC to Legal Services.
Receiving the Check! • Prior to receiving a settlement check, the recipient must sign a settlement release form. • Two standard forms: • Corporate • Individual
Corporate Settlement Form • RELEASE AND SETTLEMENT OF CLAIM • KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS, that I, (name of person signing), as (title) of (name of corporation) of (address of corporation), for and on behalf of said company, for the sole consideration of (enter amount) ($ ) Dollars paid to (name of corporation) by the CITY OF GAINESVILLE, GAINESVILLE REGIONAL UTILITIES (GRU) the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, does hereby release, acquit and discharge GRU, its elected and appointed officers, employees or agents from all claims and demands, actions and causes of action, damages, cost, loss of service, expenses and compensation on account of, or in any way growing out of bodily injuries and property damage resulting or to result from the accident that occurred on or about the ____ day of __________ , 20__ , at or near (location of incident) by reason of (describe incident), and do hereby for the said company, its successors and assigns, covenant with GRU to indemnify and save harmless GRU, its elected and appointed officers, employees or agents from all claims and demands for damages, costs, loss of service, expenses, or compensation on account of, or in any way growing out of said accident or its results, both to person or property. • It is further agreed that this release expresses a full and complete SETTLEMENT of a liability claimed and denied and, regardless of the adequacy of the compensation, is intended to avoid litigation, and that there is absolutely no agreement on the part of said GRU to make any payment or to do any act or thing other than is herein expressly stated and clearly agreed to. • WITNESS my hand and seal this day of , 20. • Witnesses: • __________________________________ (Name of Corporation) • By: • __________________________________ Name: • Title: • Utilities Attorney
Individual Settlement Form • RELEASE AND SETTLEMENT OF CLAIM • KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS, that I, (NAME) of (ADDRESS), being of full age for the sole consideration of (AMOUNT OF CLAIM) ($ ) Dollars to me paid by the CITY OF GAINESVILLE, GAINESVILLE REGIONAL UTILITIES (GRU) the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, do hereby release, acquit and discharge GRU, its elected and appointed officers, employees or agents from all claims and demands, actions and causes of action, damages, cost, loss of service, expenses and compensation on account of, or in any way growing out of bodily injuries and property damage resulting or to result from accident that occurred on or about the (DAY) day of (MONTH), 20(YR), at or near (LOCATION OF INCIDENT) by reason of (BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF INCIDENT) and do hereby for myself, my heirs, executors and administrators, covenant with GRU to indemnify and save harmless GRU, its elected and appointed officers, employees or agents from all claims and demands for damages, costs, loss of service, expenses, or compensation on account of, or in any way growing out of said accident or its results, both to person or property. • It is further agreed that this release expresses a full and complete SETTLEMENT of a liability claimed and denied and, regardless of the adequacy of the compensation, is intended to avoid litigation, and that there is absolutely no agreement on the part of said GRU to make any payment or to do any act or thing other than is herein expressly stated and clearly agreed to. • WITNESS my hand and seal this day of , 20. • Witnesses: • __________________________________ ____________________________________ • (Claimant) • __________________________________ • __________________________________ ____________________________________ • (Claimant) • __________________________________ • Utilities Attorney
Claims Tracking • Currently each division tracks its own claims • Some credit accounts via billing adjustments • Some pay damages on credit card and post to miscellaneous accounts • Some charge damages to capital project number High level tracking of damages is difficult at best due to “silo storage” of information
Construction on Customer Property • Directional bore sent gas line through customer’s sewer line causing back up and subsequent gas leak when plumber attempted to clear the blockage with cutting tool on end of plumbers snake. • With the current push to place utilities underground there is more opportunity to damage buried infrastructure belonging to the customer.
First Contact is Important! • When a utility representative speaks with a customer, he should not obligate the utility in any way. • Opinions should not be given in order to avoid conflict later should the claim be denied. • Sometimes things are not what they appear at first glance.
Damage to GRU Facilities • Document , photograph, investigate. • “Dig ins”: • Were locates called for? • Are the locates accurate? • Proper burial depth of utility?
GAINESVILLE REGIONAL UTILITIES • FACILITY DAMAGE FORM • Date of Damage: ____________________________________ Approx. Time: _____________________ • Address of Damage: ___________________________________________________________________ • Type of Work Being Performed at Time of Damage: __________________________________________ • ____________________________________________________________________________________ • Company/Person Causing Damage to GRU Property: _________________________________________ • ____________________________________________________________________________________ • Description of Damage: ________________________________________________________________ • ____________________________________________________________________________________ • ____________________________________________________________________________________ • ____________________________________________________________________________________ • Insurance: Policy #/Carrier: _____________________________________________________________ • Did Outage Occur? YES ____ NO ____ • Length of Outage: _____________________________________________________________________ • Repairs to GRU Property Performed By: ___________________________________________________ • Buried Cable Location Provided: (where applicable) __________________________________________ • YES ____ NO ____ • Did Damaging Party Request GRU Assistance: YES ____ NO ____ • Law Enforcement Agency Notified: YES _____ NO ____ • Which Agency was Notified: GPD _____ ASO _____ FHP ____ • Case Report Number: __________________________________________________________________ • Officer Name: _________________________________________________ID # ___________________ • Safety Notified: YES ______ NO ______ Time: _____________ Date: ______________________ • Investigating Safety Officer: _____________________________________________________________
Important Notes: • Investigate, document, photograph • Speed is critical to resolving time sensitive matters such as spoiled food • Negotiating skills are important to resolve claims • Empowerment of claims adjuster to make decisions in the interest of the company
Just say NO! “claims adjuster…”
Thank You For questions or further information, please Contact: Thor Wishart Utility Field Services Manager email@example.com