Q: What is a Public Adjuster?
Public Adjuster or a Public Insurance Adjuster is an expert on loss adjustment and the recovery process, who is employed by the policyholder, is a highly skilled, professional insurance expert with a vast knowledge of insurance policies, co-insurance, depreciation, building and personal property damage assessments, repair and replacement costs and negotiation. The Public Adjuster assists you, the insured, in preparing, filing and managing the payment of insurance claims regarding property loss. He works on your behalf.
Q: How do Public Adjusters differ from Insurance Adjusters and Independent Adjusters?
Both the insurance and independent adjuster work for the insurance company and their responsibility and accountability rests with the insurer. They are well trained to adjust the claim by offering the policyholder a settlement based on the lowest bid submitted by contractors or their own evaluation. The insurance companies retain adjusters who protect their interests. The insurance company’s adjusters are employed by the insurance company, and their responsibility and accountability rests with the insurer.
A Public Adjuster employed by you, and works on the policyholder’s behalf to represent their best interests and get a fair settlement from the insurance company. The policyholder has the right to choose his own contractor and not be limited to the lowest bid.
Q: Why do I need to hire a Public Adjusters?
Adjuster representing your interest and fighting to make sure that you are paid every dollar that you are entitled to.
To complicate matters, in light of the recent hurricanes that have swept our region, the insurance companies have been short of staff and there are simply not enough trained professional insurance company adjusters to handle the magnitude of claims that have overwhelmed the insurance industry. As a result the insurance industry has begun to hire individuals who have no claims experience whatsoever. Many individuals who have never even read an insurance policy or have had any claims experience have now been put through an insurance companies “cram course” and within weeks have been made insurance adjusters. Do you really feel comfortable having one of these individuals handling your most important financial asset, your home?
There are several reasons why you may want to consider obtaining help with your claim:
Filing a claim requires a written, itemized statement of your losses. You may not realize what the extent of your coverage is, and the insurance company is not obligated to tell you. Insurance companies operate for profit, so the less money they pay on claims the more money they make. Your insurance company is represented by individuals trained to pay as little as possible; you too have the right to be represented professionally to maximize your policy benefits. The Public Adjuster will help you identify everything to which you’re entitled.
Filing a claim is a tedious, time-consuming and aggravating process. The Public Adjuster can take this burden off your shoulders and free you to do what you do best.
The Public Adjuster has experience and knowledge which can help your position. The professionally licensed Public Adjuster is recognized and respected by the insurance companies.
It only makes sense to have a highly trained professional Public Adjuster.
Q: What you can expect while we are handling your claim
Our adjuster will meet with you free of charge to assess your situation. We will review your policy and do a preliminary overview of your damages. We will advise you as to our findings and let you know if we can help you. Once hired we will work with you to prepare a thorough estimate of the property damages.
- We will contact the insurance company and take the hassle out of the claims process by handling the paperwork and phone calls
- Your insurance company’s representative will contact our office within 7 business days to schedule an appointment.
- Inspection takes place with the company’s adjuster and an our adjuster. We will present the adjuster an estimate and walk him through the damages.
- The most time consuming part of this process is awaiting the estimate from your insurance company’s adjuster. This can take up to four weeks from the date of inspection. Please keep in mind that we will be in continuous contact with the insurance adjuster discussing your loss and checking on the progress of your claim. We will call you with updates.
- After receiving an estimate we will review it and discuss any supplemental differences with the insurance adjuster. We will negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company adjuster to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation that you are entitled to receive under your policy. You will be contacted with the figures.
- When you are satisfied with the settlement, we will send the insurance company a proof of loss statement, which releases funds on the amount agreed upon. It takes approximately 3-4 weeks to receive a draft from the insurance company
once the claim is settled. The draft will be issued in your name, Public Adjusters firm and your mortgage company’s, if applicable.
Q: Do I have to accept the claim payment offered to me by my insurer?
No. Most policies include your right to have an appraisal, and if necessary the right to litigation. In any case DO NOT SIGN ANY WAIVER from the insurance company without having us and our attorney reviews it first.
Q: How much does it cost?
The initial consultation is free. Once you hire a Public Adjusters we will charge a very reasonable fee in relation to the increased settlement that the average insured should expect to receive once we have been hired to assist with the claim. There is no out of pocket cost, as our fee is due payable only when the insurance claim has been settled.
Q: Do I have to pay my public adjuster up front?
No. We are not paid until money is collected from the insurance carrier. Our fees are based on a percentage of your settlement. You pay only after a payment is received.
Q: How are we compensated?
We are compensated by a small percentage of the claim, which is offset by the higher settlement we are able to obtain for you.
The standard fee for public adjusting services is a small percentage of the amount recovered from the insurance company. State insurance departments license public adjusters and regulate fees. On very large claims, fees are negotiable. We work off a percentage of your recovery. Therefore, if there is no recovery, there is no fee. We only collect a fee if we are able to get you insurance company to pay for your damages. A Public Adjuster’s compensation is a small percent of your insurer’s claims payments that are made to you. The Public Adjuster’s fees are usually more than covered by a successful claim payment that is obtained for you.
6. Can the Public Adjuster I hire also function as a contractor for the same claim?
No. A Public Adjuster cannot function as a contractor on any claim he manages and vice versa. Many states have severe penalties for individuals acting as a public adjuster while also acting as a contractor. Beware the contractor who offers to “negotiate” your claim. This may actually put the legitimacy of your entire claim in jeopardy.
Q: My claim was denied, am I entitled to a second opinion?
Yes! Many of our clients that were told their claim was denied. We simply reopen the loss, negotiate with your insurance company, and insist they pay for viable damages.
Q: Will I lose my coverage if I hire a Public Adjuster?
Absolutely not. The Public Adjusting Profession is mandated by the Legislature and regulated by the Department of Insurance in any given state. As a policyholder you have the right to hire an expert who will manage your claim on your behalf. Canceling your policy because you hired a Public Adjuster is a violation of State Law in some states. . It would be a serious violation if any Insurance Company would discriminate against you in any way for exercising a right given to you by the State Legislature.
Q: Will my agent or adjuster be angry that I hired a Public Adjuster?
NO! Insurance adjusters know the value of a professionally prepared claim; it makes their job easier.
Q: Why shouldn’t I hire a lawyer rather than a Public Adjuster?
However, most policies specify that you may not bring suit until all provisions of the policy have been complied with. Complying with the terms usually requires the assistance of someone like a public adjuster. Attorneys do not deal with matters of damage assessment or the scope of loss, and will routinely hire a Public Adjuster to perform these services once a case is retained. Public Adjusters and attorneys play separate, yet complementary roles in the resolution of insurance claims. In legal disputes with the insurance company you should definitely hire a lawyer.
Q: In the event of a loss, what steps should I take?
Promptly report the loss to us.