Communication is Key – Howard White!

One of the worst fires I ever saw happened in 2000 in the East 70s in Manhattan. I got a call from the property manager at Brown Harris Stevens who said there was a devastating fire on the 7th floor. She said: “the fire trucks are still here with hook and ladder on the building but please assemble your team and get up here right away.” This building was ranked in the Top 10 places to live in NYC, right up there with The Dakota and The River House.  I knew this was no ordinary apartment building and luckily, we worked there before and I was friendly with the Resident Manager.

The homeowners had not seen the loss yet and we all arrived at the same time. Riding up the elevator with this well-heeled and terrified couple, I watched the doors open to what looked like a set from the movie Backdraft, only with millions of dollars of stuff inside. The wife immediately burst into tears and the husband was frantically roaming through each damaged room asking what I could save for them. We assessed each area and I gave them very explicit information on what we could do and how we could do it. Calming them down and setting their expectations took a lot of energy and convincing. We left together for a meeting with the Board President and  the Resident Manager. After careful explanation to these key players, they agreed to recommend me to all the other homeowners that sustained damage. My cards were hand-distributed to each resident who needed service.

Seeing that there was so much damage to many super-high-end apartments, I called the claims manager from Chubb. I told him that this loss was severe and they have many policyholders in the building that needed help. Chubb promptly sent me a list of every homeowner with their phone numbers and said reach out to them immediately. Having the endorsement from building management and the carrier allowed us to help 22 out of 25 damaged units.

~Howard White, Executive Vice President Business Development


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