Christopher B. Hess is a partner in the Pittsburgh office of RWH Myers, specializing in the preparation and settlement of large and complex property and business interruption insurance claims for companies in the chemical, mining, manufacturing, communications, financial services, health care, hospitality and retail industries. He has led project teams on three continents in the resolution of more than $1 billion in claimed losses. Hess also performs business interruption exposure studies, forensic accounting and white-collar crime investigations, and provides litigation support services to attorneys, including expert witness testimony.
Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical – Hess was the on-site project leader following the destruction of Kaiser’s (now Century’s) alumina refinery in Gramercy, LA. As part of this assignment, he devised an interim claim filing strategy that facilitated monthly advance payments over the two-year rebuilding project, including property and business interruption losses. He also worked with Kaiser’s Jamaican bauxite subsidiary to identify and quantify BI interdependency losses. Following the settlement of insurance claims, Hess provided litigation support services and damages analysis in subrogation actions involving various third parties. Kaiser recovered in excess of $325 million on this matter.
Air Products – Hess led a team of professionals in the preparation and resolution of property and business interruption losses arising from damage to Air Product’s Michaud, LA, plant because of Hurricane Katrina. Hess was instrumental in deploying an interim claim filing strategy that facilitated and expedited review of claimed losses by adjusters and accounting and engineering experts, resulting in final settlement of all claims approximately one year after the date of loss. The final settlement approached $100 million.
Mississippi Phosphates – Hess and his team of professionals prepared and helped resolve inventory, property damage and business interruption losses arising from catastrophic damage to the Pascagoula, MS, fertilizer plant. The work product that Hess produced allowed for regular interim payments that were critical for this fledgling company. Hess facilitated communication with all levels of management and the adjusters, accounting and engineering experts throughout the 18-month process that led to a successful settlement of claims in excess of $60 million.
Flo-Sun/Central Romana/Casa de Campo Resort – Hess supervised the project team responsible for the preparation and settlement of property and business interruption claims arising from hurricane damage to the facilities and properties of the largest privately held sugar plantation and refinery in the world, which also includes a four-star resort. He organized procedures to ensure an effective system for data collection and management and was personally responsible for the timely submission of all property damage repair cost information and inventory losses. He also participated in the preparation of interim property and business interruption claims, which facilitated a final settlement in excess of $100 million, within 18 months of the date of loss.
Allegheny Energy – Hess prepared all property repair cost claims arising from a turbine generator failure at the company’s station in Hatfield, PA. Hess spearheaded the responses to adjuster inquiries throughout the two-year project. Hess, as a trusted member of the claims team, facilitated final negotiations and settlement between Allegheny and five carriers. Total recovery exceeded $60 million.
American Eagle Outfitters – Hess was brought in to prepare multiple claims related to losses incurred at clothing retail locations across the southeastern U.S. as a result of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Hess worked closely with the insurer’s auditors to agree on a mutually acceptable approach to this group of losses. Subsequently, Hess was asked to help finalize the numbers on an existing fire loss to the flagship retail location in the SOHO area of lower Manhattan. Total settlement for these matters exceeded $5 million.
Hertz Investment Group – Hess calculated and documented losses arising from damage to Gateway Center office buildings and parking garages caused by a City of Pittsburgh water main break. The work product Hess produced helped secure advance payments while various disputed items were resolved. Final settlement of property damage and time element losses exceeded $10 million.
MONY Group – Hess prepared and resolved business interruption and property damage claims incurred by this financial services company arising from the terrorist events of Sept. 11th in lower Manhattan. His efforts resulted in a recovery of $5 million.
Hess is a 1994 graduate of the University of Richmond and holds a bachelor of science degree in accounting. He is a certified public accountant licensed in Georgia and Pennsylvania, a certified fraud examiner and a member of the AICPA.
February 2008 – Present
What is your insurance company telling you about your business interruption values? In preparing annual business interruption values and exposure analysis for clients, we have noticed several red flags that indicate something may be wrong with how these values are being reported to the insurance company. It’s not so much what the insurance company is […]
Once disaster strikes, the first priorities are always safety and preservation of property, but there are priorities to consider ahead of a loss to avoid unexpected surprises. Disaster mitigation and restoration is a critical service after property damage, and how you manage it may affect the outcome of your claim. Though there are many capable […]
I am not sure why policy language has to be so confusing. Truly, there are some complicated risks that insurance covers, but even the simple ones seem to be made complicated by the language used. One example is extra expense. The words themselves seem pretty self-explanatory; a policyholder spends extra money due to an occurrence […]
Remember the classic ’80s film “War Games,” where the computer system (named War Operation Plan Response, or WOPR for short) asks Mathew Broderick in a See’n Say computer voice, “Shall we play a game?” The movie was a tense thriller that was topical for my Cold War childhood, but it showed, among others things, that […]
More often than not, a large property and business interruption insurance claim turns into an “us vs. them” scenario, creating a rough process for all involved. Not unlike a football game, someone is always trying to win and is willing to do so at any cost. As a forensic accountant for more than 20 years specializing in quantifying […]
As a professional loss accountant with more than 20 years of experience with business interruption (BI) valuation, I can understand why policyholders struggle with finding a repeatable, efficient system that produces an accurate measurement of their BI exposure. Over the years, some of my clients recognized the issues with the traditional BI values approach, and […]
It’s okay to get help! Recently, we hired a business development professional. In learning our business model and marketing strategy, he asked, “Who is your biggest competitor?” We said: our customers — the “do-it-yourselfers.” This struck him as odd, but it is the absolute truth. We are in the business of preparing property claims that usually […]
The world is getting smaller. Companies of every size do business around the globe. This poses business interruption risks both direct and indirectly. Recent examples include the devastating flooding in Thailand and the Tohuku earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan. Property claims can be hard enough when they are at home; adding distance and language […]
This article might seem out of place coming from a policyholder advocate who is often at odds with property adjusters. However, I feel for them. Their job is not easy and is further complicated by the system that has evolved. Having prepared property claims for more than 20 years, I have seen the process change […]
When a property claim occurs, with or without business interruption, it is very common to assume that it will be straightforward. Just submit your invoices, and your insurer sends you a check. You may think, “We can do it ourselves,” or, “We have it under control.” If this has been your approach, you need to […]
Business interruption (BI) losses are among the most confusing types of claims in the insurance industry. As claim specialists, we are often asked for a “checklist” filled with action items for when a loss occurs. A “checklist” isn’t practical because there are too many variables and “if/then” scenarios to map out. When you have a […]
Property insurance claims require significant time, effort and attention from risk management, finance and operations personnel. From the moment the loss is reported, insurers will have what seems like endless requests for information, and they’ll scrutinize every figure presented. Then the insured has to put the claim together and present it to the property insurers. […]
If you are like most companies, the annual ritual of filling out the business interruption worksheet is a nuisance administrative task. The worksheet is generally required by the insurance company to track changes in the business and may be used as the basis to price your program. Along with general industry knowledge, this worksheet may […]
No one wants to deal with a property claim. Unfortunately, claims do happen, and that is why you buy insurance. There are right ways and wrong ways to manage a claim — here are three common mistakes and how to avoid making them: Too many cooks… One of the first things you should do after […]