Insurance Claims – Contact a Public Adjuster!

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To have your claim evaluated by a Public Adjuster, call us!

Public adjusters (PAs) are adjusters who assist insureds after a loss. They prepare and present the insurance claim. A PA provides valuable services to the insured. They consult with them on the options available to them in recovery.

Public adjusters only work on property losses, including those involving homes, businesses, and public buildings. These are “first-party property claims.”

A “third-party property claim” is when you are liable for property damage caused by another party. A vehicle that crashes into a home and causes damage is one example. PAs may accept third-party losses in certain situations. PAs are not allowed to negotiate third party claims. They can advise clients on the value and extent of third-party losses or assist an attorney in presenting the claim.

Bodily Injury (Casualty), such as those caused by an automobile accident, is not something that public adjusters can handle. Consult a personal injury lawyer for assistance with these types of losses.

It’s easy to understand the role of a public adjuster. These functions can be compared to an attorney in a case, or a Certified Public Accountant when you file your tax forms with Internal Revenue Service.

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Let me ask some questions.

Would you be willing to represent yourself in court if someone brought suit against you? Or would you call the plaintiff and tell him that you have a lawyer. Why not just use yours? You don’t have any other choice, so why not use yours?

Would you let the IRS prepare your tax returns for you? Would you allow the IRS to prepare your tax return for you?

Are you able to file your own taxes or hire a professional tax preparer to do it for you?

Are you looking to hire a tax professional?

1. It’s too time-consuming to do it by yourself. The IRS has created a tax code that is too complex for the average person to understand.
3. You usually get a larger refund, or smaller tax liability, when you use a professional…because the professional finds more deductions for you?
4. The amount you pay for the fee is often far lower than what you can save.

Okay, now you have similar reasons to use Public Adjusters.

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1. Your claim will be filed by your own experts.
2. Insurance companies write policies. They are often complicated and difficult to understand. Because they are inherently beneficial to the insurance company author, these policies are called “contracts of adhesion”.
3. Many people don’t want to spend the time to find out about their policies or learn about the claims process.
4. Many people are too busy with their work and families to manage their own claims, especially in the chaos that follows a large claim.
5. When a policyholder files a claim, public adjusters often help them collect hundreds of dollars or even thousands more. They charge a small percentage of the settlement amount.

PAs are typically required to be licensed adjusters and are usually regulated in your state by the Insurance Department. Some states offer special licenses to Public Adjusters. To learn more about the role of Public Adjusters in your state, contact your state’s Insurance Department. The Appendix contains contact information for all US Insurance Commissioners.

Many people working on the insurance company’s side take it personally when a policyholder employs a public adjuster. Many believe the policyholder should trust their adjuster and insurance company to do the right things and not question them.

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Insurance company employees and adjusters sometimes play games when insureds hire a PA. I have heard of claims examiners refusing to talk with insureds by phone and telling them that all communications must go through the PA.

Your policy does not state that. Public Adjusters do not have the same relationship with clients as an insured. Your adjuster or insurer examiner may try to pull this stunt to cause you delays and problems. Contact his supervisor or the Department of Insurance.

Isn’t that amazing? This is how insurance companies work. They make the rules difficult to understand and then get mad at you for hiring someone to submit a claim. It would be similar to the Internal Revenue Service getting mad that you hired an accountant for your tax return preparation.

It still happens, even if it doesn’t make sense.

However, the environment is changing. After the 2005 and 2004 hurricane seasons, there has been a resurgence of respect within the insurance industry for the professionalism and value of a licensed, accredited Public Adjuster.

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Why is it that insurance companies and adjusters don’t like Public Adjusters? One reason is obvious. The dollar amount of a claim with a PA is usually higher than one without one.

The “old timers” who were in the claims adjusting industry told me horrible stories about public adjusters when I was first starting out. They told me about how corrupt they were and how they grossly exaggerated the replacement or repair costs in claims. They shared stories about PAs who were cheats, liars, and completely dishonest.

I have never met a public adjuster I didn’t like. I have dealt with many PAs in claims ranging from homeowners losses to large apartment fires to commercial and business loss. I have never met a public adjuster that was unprofessional. I have never met a public adjuster that didn’t try his best to ensure that his client, the policyholder suffering from a loss, got every dollar owed by the insurance company.

Public adjusters typically represent clients on a contingency fee basis. This simply means they present the claim documents and receive a portion of the total insurance proceeds. Nationally, the average percentage is 10%. The main incentive for the PA to work hard is helping the insured receive a larger settlement from their insurance company than he could have achieved on his own.

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Your claim will be maximized and the claim adjustment process expedited by your PA. The balance is to ensure that your claim is properly packaged so you can collect as much as you are entitled without creating unnecessary disputes between you and the insurance company. They do not charge you for their services until the claim has been paid to them. This is why they are driven to settle it as soon as possible. The fee they charge is all-inclusive and includes no out-of-pocket costs. The majority of established Public Adjusting firms will be able to show you how their fee was absorbed during the adjustment process.

PAs can negotiate fees. PA firms have offered substantial discounts on their 10% standard fee for large commercial losses. I also regularly see 10% contracts for small commercial and residential losses. Beware! Be aware that the PA may hand you a contract with no fee percentage. Before you sign the contract, negotiate the amount of the fee that you are willing to pay. Your attorney will review the contract before you sign.

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The fees of Public Adjusters and the maximum amount they can charge for them are covered by some state’s Department of Insurance regulations. This is not my concern. The fees charged by independent adjusters to insurance companies are not regulated in most states. Why should PA fees be regulated? I believe the policy holder should be free to decide the fee they agree on.

You should verify this information with the Department of Insurance in your state if you are considering hiring a PA.

Have you ever heard personal injury lawyers being called “ambulance chasers?” Sometimes, PAs need to be “firetruck chasers.” It’s quite common for PAs listen to police and fire scanners and follow fire trucks to the spot of the fire. PAs are allowed to solicit business from people in tornado- or hurricane-damaged areas. This is a normal thing, as it may be the only way for victims to be reached after a hurricane or fire. However, the PA must be professional and respectful of your time as well as your personal situation.

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A professional public adjuster is able to help you prepare your claim or represent you during the presentation. A PA can be a great help in resolving the situation quickly and accelerating the recovery process. A PA can manage overzealous restoration contractors or pushy adjusters. The claim process can be accelerated and smoothened by the PA. They will walk through the loss with adjusters from the insurance company to agree on the extent of the loss. This simple step can help you settle your claim quickly and prevent any disputes later. In your particular case, you may decide it is a good idea to hire a PA within the first 24 hours of your loss.

You should treat a public adjuster as you would a contractor or adjuster if you are considering hiring one. Contact two to three public adjusters. You can meet them and discuss your claim. Then, listen to what they have to say about how to represent you.

Refer satisfied customers to you with their phone numbers so that you can verify and get referrals. Spend some time looking into them. Contact the Better Business Bureau to learn more. Ask about their reputation.

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After you have checked them out, if you wish to keep a PA, hire the person who is most thorough.

Remember the Chapter Six advice, “Should i Get a Lawyer?” Do not sign anything until your attorney has reviewed it. Having said that, there are many issues that require immediate attention such as contents removal, emergency board up, or temporary family accommodations. You should immediately get your PA contract to your attorney!

You should treat a Public Adjuster just like an insurance adjuster if you have hired him. For more information on how to write down everything you talk with him, see Chapter Four, Don’t Be in a Hurry. Keep a detailed record of every conversation, including the date and time and what was said. If possible, record the conversations.

Demand that your PA provide you with copies of all documents he creates for you. You should request copies of any correspondence between the PA, the adjuster, or the insurance company.

Most likely, your PA will ask you to sign an assignment form. In which you agree that the PA’s name be added to the settlement checks.

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Only six states require that the PA be included on a settlement check of an insurance company: Pennsylvania, New York Virginia Wyoming Illinois Kentucky. This means that the insurance company may not cooperate if they don’t want to cooperate and include the PA’s name in the settlement check.

The Public Adjuster will take care of all the details that you need regarding the proper documentation and submissions of your claim.

This is an important point! !

If you follow the steps in my book, you can accomplish all the tasks that a Public Adjuster does for your benefit. This will take a lot of effort on your part. You will be able to collect thousands or hundreds of dollars more if you follow my advice. A Public Adjuster is a way to get more money from your insurance company.

A professional public adjuster can provide a great service to those who don’t want to spend the time and effort required to manage their claim.

For a list of state-accredited public adjusting firms, I recommend you visit the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters. The website contains helpful links, articles, and information about how each public adjuster is licensed and accredited by the organization.

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