Apr 18, 2019

Trend Report: Disaster Recovery: Success Through Collaboration

We pride ourselves on being true strategic partners for our clients, serving as their risk management arm and always on call, 24/7. We understand that when the phone rings with an emergency, it’s too late to react and try to scramble for a response. Our clients know that they have a seasoned team of risk management professionals just a phone call away, ready to lead the charge.

Disaster Preparedness
On July 3, 2018, in the predawn hours, a 48-inch water main broke at the intersection of Sansom and Juniper Streets, releasing more than 15 million gallons of water and bringing a torrent of flooding to a neighborhood densely populated with office buildings, eateries and housing. The damage wasimmediate and catastrophic as the street turned into a sinkhole and power was cut to the surrounding area.

For our client, SSH RealEstate, its building at 123 S. Broad Street was rendered instantly without power as water penetrated two levels of
the subbasement, destroying key mechanicals and frying the electric system. Constructed in 1927, 123 S. Broad is a 29-story iconic Philadelphia landmark, encompassing more than 750,000 sq. ft. and home to an incredible diversity of vibrant businesses.

SSH Real Estate and Graham Company immediately sprang into action. Tenants were notified of the situation and kept in constant communication on the latest developments. Once the core team was established, Graham Company coordinated regular status meetings to provide an efficient way for all parties to collaborate on the resolution. Effective communication with the building’s insurance carrier was essential to make sure work among so many parties was approved, funded and coordinated in a cost-efficient manner.

BELFOR, a leader in disaster recovery and property restoration services, was brought in by SSH Real Estate and got to work immediately to assess the damage and begin remediation activities, while electricians worked around the clock to bring temporary power to the building. Quickly, two generators were hauled in on tractor trailers to restore power to the entire building. This ensured tenants could return to their normal work schedule within days of the water main break. The generators were in operation from July through October – at a five-figure cost for fuel per day until two sources of permanent power were restored to the premises by PECO.

Power of Collaboration
In parallel to overseeing all parties involved with bringing 123 S. Broad back online,Graham Company brought in a forensic accountant to make sure the myriad of losses and disaster-related expenditures were documented in minute detail. Without this level of proactive and intensive focus on the fine print, particularly in a situation dealing with an incredible amount of moving parts, covered expenses are likely to be missed. For example, the building was in the middle of extensive renovations to the lobby and common areas – work that needed to be accounted for, analyzed and included in the overall claim.

Loss totals are approaching $7 million, including the need to advance $6 million in funding to keep remediation and recovery work on schedule and within budget. The totality of damage goes far beyond the bricks and mortar of a building. At Graham, we don’t leave a single stone unturned and never rest until the job is done and done right.

Thanks to the fast action and incredible leadership of the SSH Real Estate team, what could have been a significant and lasting impact to the day-to-day operations of the building’s tenants was reduced to only a few days. In complex loss scenarios with high value, there’s often the risk of the work being slowed due to miscommunication and lack of trust between all parties involved. However, with Graham Company at the helm as the outsourced risk manager, everyone could have the peace of mind that seasoned professionals had their back every step of the way.

Written in collaboration with: Kevin D. Smith, CPCU, ARM, Managing Director and Lisa L. Talley, ARM, Assistant Vice President

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