Kari Patzer: Contents Valuation Specialist and Hoarding Magnet

08 June 2021

Kari Patzer was brought on to ParioQuantify to head up their Content Valuation department. Drawing on her more than 14 years’ experience in the insurance industry, she works expertly with the adjuster, the insured and the assigned contractor to determine the best course of action for listing non-restorable contents on site and to ensure that each and every claim is processed in a fair, efficient and timely manner.

“Every claim is different,” Kari says. “It seems like it would be the same, but it’s different.” When asked how, she laughs. “I’m the hoarding magnet!”

Hoarding is becoming more and more common, so Kari has advanced training in dealing with hoarding through Alberta Fire and Flood, as well as courses in mould, asbestos and dealing with death in a home.  Hoarders are often irrationally attached to their items. Common items to collect include newspapers and flyers, free samples, empty containers, broken items, and collectibles. Hoarders tend to be secretive, but a catastrophic event can bring the situation to light. For example, during the cleanup following the Alberta flood of 2012, Kari discovered that multiple Victorian homes were packed to the rafters with items. Some homes were nearly impossible to enter because they were so packed.

Gaining the trust of the client is a key first step. They feel both anxiety and shame during the process, which could take up to a week and involves reassuring them that items will be properly valued and restored or replaced.

Many hoarders don’t realize the danger to themselves and others that their collecting causes. Stacks of items can be potential trip hazards or collapse onto someone; the weight of newspaper can cause significant strain on floors; clutter can mask damage, such as mould or water damage; and items can attract and house pests such as bugs and rodents.

Client education is an important aspect of the role. Hoarders may not realize that keeping items could potentially harm themselves or others. After a fire, canned items and bath and beauty products must be disposed of because the chemical composition may have changed and become dangerous.

“You really get to know people when you go through their stuff. It helps you relate to them more,” says Kari. She does try to rescue items of sentimental value. If it can be made safe by sealing it in a bag, such as a mildewed diary, she tries to do so.

Kari is based out of Quantify’s Calgary, Alberta office. She frequently consults with adjusters across the country offering advice on challenging files, including the best techniques to accurately scope large contents claims in a variety of loss scenarios.

She can be contacted at 403-462-7118 or Kari.Patzer@parioquantify.ca