Name: John and Pat Burkowski
Project Description: Insurance Loss
We met Jim Campbell after a flood in our basement. The flood occurred after three inches of rain fell in a half hour. I went downstairs to check on everything and I had water coming up from the drain pipe in the basement floor, literally shooting up two to three feet in the air. I am an artist by trade, and this is where my office is located as well as all my storage. I had an upcoming exhibition so there was a scramble to save many items. We had owned this home for twenty five years and never had a drop of water; we now had raw sewage coming up into the basement. It was just awful.
Jim responded immediately. It was a very difficult time for us, and a disaster could not have come at a worse time. Jim helped us immensely; he took a lot of the pressure off of us and stepped in to handle things that I could not physically handle at that time. He was very generous with his time. Jim had a crew at the house the next day; they basically had to gut the basement, down to the brick. One positive that came out of this disaster was that we were able to get all our utilities up to code during the rebuild. Our insurance company did not want to pay for this, and that’s where Jim’s expertise came in handy. He worked as a mediator between our insurance company and the township, not only making sure that the work we had done was compliant with village code, but also that the insurance company would pay for it. Jim balanced all this and made it work; we could not have done it without him. The insurance company had offered us $12,000.00 to cover the loss. Jim scrutinized the policy and said “I think we can do better than that, and you deserve better than that”. Jim was able to get us $50,000.00. And the end results were spectacular!
Name: Jennifer Hennessey / Joan Zwitt
Project Description: Insurance Loss
My daughter called one Sunday, very upset. There had been an explosion of sewage in her house. She had called the insurance company and they said there was nothing they could do. A week later it happened again. I told her to call Jim Campbell, that he has extensive experience in dealing with disasters of this type and more importantly, extensive experience dealing with insurance companies.
Jim was extremely responsive. He was at her house the next day, and he proceeded to do several important things. First, he calmed down my daughter. Next, he inspected the house. Then he took over the
communication with her insurance company. He was able to speak the right language, talk apples to apples with them. He described what happened differently than my daughter did, using the right words, diffusing the situation and putting them all on the same page. This opened the lines of communication and got the insurance company on the path to actually do something for her. Jim knew what questions to ask and he knew how to respond to the questions they asked. He knew what was compensable and that was very important to her and to the end result.
It has gone very well and very professionally. She has enjoyed going with Jim to select the materials, and she is very excited as she watches her already beautiful home become more beautiful, with her own signature. She was able to express her ideas, and she had some strong thoughts on what she wanted. Jim was very accommodating to her wishes, making this a wonderful experience.
My daughter has gone from wondering how this disaster would play out and worrying whether the insurance company would pay, to being involved in the redesign process and watching her ideas come to life.
Name: Dave Hucker
Project Description: Insurance Loss
My family and I were in Peru, visiting family. I received a text from a neighbor to call him; I got a knot in my stomach because I knew if he reached out, something was wrong. The Chicago area had been experiencing a brutal winter, and several pipes had burst in our home. My mind was scrambling, who do I call? What do I do? A good friend put me in touch with Jim Campbell, and he was able to help us out of this desperate situation. There were four broken pipes, water everywhere, ice, a furnace was out. Jim brought a crew in and immediately started water remediation. They patched the pipes to stop the flow, and they removed all water within a week. The next step was putting the house back together again. There was floor damage, wall damage, electrical damage, and of course pipe damage.
Jim was extremely responsive to our needs. He has extensive experience dealing with insurance companies, and he was able to assess the situation and negotiate with our carrier to get us the most value and coverage. If I had to negotiate myself, I am sure I would not have gotten the results that Jim did.
Jim showed us pictures of what the damage looked like before we returned from Peru. Thank goodness most of the job was done before we got back. Due to their efforts, we were able to come home and stay at our house rather than a hotel. Jim and his guys really helped us out and got the job done.
We are extremely satisfied with the end result. I would have to say that the best thing that came out of this experience is the amazing bathroom that Jim designed for us. It’s my wife’s dream bath!
Name: Angela and Phil Warren
Project Description: Basement
We have known Jim for about twenty five years. One day, he was at our house for a party and I overheard a conversation he was having about how many insurance companies will not pay fair value in situations involving disasters such as fire, flood, etc. I later asked him about this conversation, and he proceeded to tell me the names of a few insurance companies that had very good reputations for standing behind their policies. I shared this later with Phil, and we then made a decision to switch our insurance to one of the companies that Jim had mentioned. About three years later, we had a flood in our basement. Thankfully we had switched our insurance policy – the incident was covered by our new carrier.
I worked with Jim many years ago when he was a project manager for a fire restoration company. One thing about Jim, he is always a strong advocate for the customer. Back then, he was just learning about fire and water restoration and some of the things that can happen when certain insurance companies come out to survey damages and estimate the coverage. Jim learned the ropes well; he thoroughly understands the process and the pitfalls of this industry and is a proponent and advocate for the customer.
This knowledge made such a difference in how our situation was handled. Our neighbors also had severe flooding because of the same rainstorm; the neighbor on one side had one of the companies that Jim had warned me about – all they received was $5,000.00. The neighbor on the other side had no insurance at all. In our case, the policy that we had with a company recommended by Jim had a small $50.00 a year addendum attached to it, which covered the sump pump. What caused our damage was, in fact, the sump pump burning out. So because of the foresight of Jim, suggesting that we have our company attach this rider, we were covered.
Jim was the first call we made. He told us that when we called our insurance agent, let him know that our contractor will be handling the claim and representing us. Jim handled all the negotiating with the insurance company; I am certain that this made all the difference in the amount we received for our claim, which ended up being almost $50,000.00. Jim is a master at using all the same software that the insurance company uses. Part of the game that insurance adjusters play is trying to get you to agree to a settlement amount. Jim knows how to deal with them and he won’t let that happen. By the time he was done, he had managed to bump up their estimate by at least $16,000.00.
Name: Joan Zwitt
Project Description: Bathroom Remodel
I am Jim’s next-door neighbor. I approached Jim to handle my bathroom remodel because I knew he did beautiful work. I had four key things I wanted done; I asked if he could do them, he said “yes”, and he delivered on all of them. The first thing I wanted was a pocket door that would open the room up, the second thing was removing the one-piece shower and replacing it with a glass enclosed shower. I also wanted a t.v. mounted on the wall, and I wanted big soaker tub. Jim accomplished all of them.
We went to many places to look at cabinets, tiles, tubs, bathroom fixtures, etc. Jim had a lot of ideas and we spent several Saturdays going around to many stores. I can’t tell you how many tubs I got in and out of! I’d say “I like that tile” and Jim would say “You don’t like that tile because…” My dad was a builder and it reminded me of what my dad would have said to me. My final tile selection was a cream tile with a border tile with dark brown accents. Jim had some great ideas to compliment this – the deck of the tub is dark marble and it matches the vanity top and the sill on the shower. He was able to take the design elements I liked and tie them together, taking the results from ordinary to spectacular.
The end result is beautiful. I smile every time I walk into the room!
Name: David Cotton
Jim and I have work together, we’ve created a system that thoroughly documents a loss. We then go through the steps with the owner and create design documents for both the construction and the insurance company. Jim and I have a system where we document the damage/loss, evidence the loss, and create a fool-proof proposal for the insurance company. This evidence, presented by a licensed architect, becomes undeniable. We then take the client’s ideas, put them into a design, and meet their dreams. Jim is very clear on his communications. I like working with Jim because he lets you know where he stands in the project, he lets you know what he needs in the project, and he lets you know what the client needs in the project. Jim’s communication is very clear as to the design, meeting the client’s need and goals, and creating their dream. Jim’s thorough knowledge of construction makes my life easier, makes the design better, and by the time it’s all done it meets the goals and needs of the client.
Name: Peter (Jim) Tromp
I am the owner of Tromp Architecture. Tromp Architects has been in business for seventeen years; I’ve been working with Jim for eight years on approximately thirty projects; two of those were because of fire / water damage. In one a pipe had burst in an unoccupied house, creating hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage. I went out with Jim and we surveyed the damage, photographed the property; from that I was able to draw up plans for permit to implement repairs.
Jim and I have come up with a system where we survey the property, and this information becomes evidence for the insurance company but also the documentation to draw up plans for permit. I have found working with Jim is very satisfying because he will answer any questions I have and if there are any issues with the design he responds quickly. I find him extremely knowledgeable about this process.
Name: David Weinberg
Title: Independent Insurance Adjuster
I am an independent insurance adjuster; I work with several different insurance companies. As an adjuster I am called upon to know many, many things. Do I know everything there is to know? No, I do not, and therefore I need to call on and consult with others who possess the knowledge, background, and experience that I do not have, so that we can get the insurance company to do what we want them to do and pay the claim. We help them understand the cost involved in reconstructing a home that has been damaged by fire or flood, or a large tree falling on the property. We make the person who owns the home whole again, and help them recover from the disaster that has befallen them.
Jim Campbell is one of the first people I would call when a new loss reaches me. He possesses the knowledge to put together an appraisal and estimate that shows the insurance company, in an itemized way, what it is going to cost and WHY it’s going to cost that amount. A lot of contractors can say “we can do this, and we should do that” and “this is our bottom line price of “x”. You have no idea how they arrived at “x”! When Jim does the job, he produces an estimate that can be used by the insurance company which explains line by line by line, exactly what the work is, why it is needed, and what the cost is. The insurance company never comes back to me and says “what is this?” or “what is this for?”. Jim always provides an itemized, very detailed estimate of the project.
That is how Jim and I have come to work together. We have handled all kinds of claims from a little leak in someone’s kitchen or bathroom, to a $2M building that exploded and needed to be reconstructed. The insurance company has to understand the costs and approve the costs that we are recommending. Jim would be one of the first people I would call, because he speaks their language. We have to be able to explain the
claim and get the insurance company to go along with the claim and understand how we can greatly improve this situation – can we straighten it out? We are the guy on the white horse who rides in and says, “Hey, I can help you! I can make things better for you! I have people who will work on your situation and improve your situation and make it better.” That’s a great thing to be able to do; I enjoy my work and when I have someone like Jim to count on, who doesn’t say “ah, we’ll get to it eventually” but says “No, we’re going to get to it now. We will put it on paper, in writing, so that the insurance company can see exactly what we are talking about, and what it’s going to cost, and why it is going to cost that amount.”
Jim is very, very adept at doing that. It’s a wonderful talent to possess. He is extremely knowledgeable about this process, he knows the steps to take, and he is very valuable to his clients. This is true on small claims and large claims. We had a flood that affected seventeen floors in a high-rise in Chicago. Can you imagine the number of units that were damaged? I turned that claim over to Jim and he was able to manage the claim efficiently and effectively, producing a detailed, itemized document for the insurance companies. Because of the quality of Jim’s work there were no complaints from the insurance adjusters, only compliments.