Making the Most of Recall Information

Your day in the office is shaping up like most every other day. You have just been assigned as many claims as you can effectively manage! But one of your new claims is a total fire loss, and your policyholders claim the fire started near their new toaster oven that was purchased sometime last year. “Hmmmm,” you wonder…”could there be subrogation potential associated with this fire?”

The philosophy of subrogation has Biblical origins (Exodus 22: 6) and is certainly not new to the experienced insurance adjuster. “So,” you ask yourself, “who else owns this loss?” Unified Investigations & Sciences (UIS) can assist you in answering this question. Our company offers, at no cost to our friends and clients, product recall database information that goes beyond that which is published by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

UIS has information sources, not found through conventional recall searches, that can often supply relevant information that may otherwise be missed. By way of example, we are currently involved with a fire loss in which an air purifier was located within the area of fire origin. A check of the CPSC recall database failed to find a recall for the air purifier. Since air purifiers, however, are considered “medical equipment”, any recall associated with this type of product is made by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A check of the FDA Monthly Enforcement Reports for the preceding years found that the air purifier in question had in fact been recalled because it was causing fires.

In additional to making product recall database queries, UIS disseminates Subrogation Alerts via e-mail to insurance professionals at their request. Recall databases and newsprint articles are searched each day for fire-related product and vehicle recalls, and that information is passed along through our Subrogation Alerts as soon as it becomes available. Sometimes this information is passed on to our recipients well in advance of any public recall issued by the CPSC. Our Subrogation Alert program has become very popular and is well received by those on our distribution list. Should you desire to receive our Subrogation Alerts or need a recall query made for a particular product or vehicle, we will gladly assist you without cost. To request these services, you can contact me at or call our Indianapolis Service Center at 1-800-848-9313.

Article submitted by:

Michael Reynolds, CFI, FCLS
Territorial Manager – Indianapolis, Indiana
Unified Investigations & Sciences