It took just one negligent smoker to thoroughly upend a 60-unit Westchester County co-op. But the fire that started when the smoker dozed off in bed was just the beginning of this co-op’s woes.

“Almost always, with respect to a fire, there’s more damage done by the water that puts the fire out than by the fire itself,” says Jason Schiciano, co-president of the brokerage Levitt-Fuirst Insurance. “That’s because it’s poured on the top of the building, and it runs all the way down to the bottom – into every single crack, into every piece of drywall or plaster, and in between the floors.” All the residents of the Westchester co-op were displaced for well over a year.

The co-op board initially asked its lawyer and managing agent to compile an assessment to submit to the insurance carriers. But they were soon overwhelmed. “After several weeks of sort of floundering and not moving forward on an appropriate timeline,”  Schiciano says, “we suggested to them that they might want to consider getting a public adjuster involved.”

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