Let’s say you have comprehensive coverage for your home or business and happen to suffer a loss from damage that is covered by your insurance policy. You are safe, right? That is what most people believe. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. When policyholders feel resistance from their insurance company they should consider speaking with a Public Claims Adjuster.
What is a Public Adjuster
Many will ask, “What is a public adjuster?” A public adjuster or claims adjuster ‘s main service involves working for you to obtain the best possible pay-out that the insurance company should pay for your damages. No more, no less. The insurance company has an adjuster looking out for their interests, so, you should also have one looking out for yours. An adjuster that actually works for you, the policyholder. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind before hiring a Public Claims Adjuster.
Wikipedia’s definition of a Public Insurance Adjuster is;
A public adjuster is a professional claims handler who advocates for the policyholder in appraising and negotiating a claimant’s insurance claim. Aside from attorneys and the broker of record, public adjusters licensed by state departments of insurance are the only type of claims adjuster that can legally represent the rights of an insured during an insurance claim process. A public adjuster will be most beneficial when it is clear that the insurer will pay the claim and the only issue is the proper identification and valuation of the loss. Most public adjusters charge a percentage of the settlement. Primarily they appraise the damage, prepare an estimate and other claim documentation, read the policy of insurance to determine coverages, and negotiate with the insurance company’s claims handler.
A public adjuster is a representative of the policyholder who advises, manages, and submits a claim to the policyholders insurance company.
Public Insurance Adjuster vs Independent Adjuster
At first, an independent claims adjuster may sound like what you, the policyholder, needs. However, independent adjusters actually work for the insurance companies. They are Independent Sub-Contractors. The independent adjusters, loyalty stands with the insurance company hiring them. Their bottom line is to represent their employer—the insurance company. They legally represent only the rights of an insurance company.
- There are three classes of insurance claims adjusters:
Staff Adjusters: Employed by an insurance company or self-insured entity.
- Independent Adjusters: Independent contractors hired by the insurance company.
- Public Adjusters: Employed by the policyholder.
“Company” or “independent” adjusters can only legally represent the rights of an insurance company.
Public Adjuster’s Calculation of Damage
A public claims adjuster should help you with the calculation of your loss from the associated damages and how much you are owed. A good public adjuster will never let the insurer do this on their own, as insurance providers are always looking to submit the lowest payout possible. The insurance company claims adjuster is not properly trained by the insurance company to find and be accountable for all items needed to repair or replace damaged property.
Your Public Claims Adjuster Will Speak With Your Company Claims Adjuster Directly
Your adjuster will make sure that they know exactly who is doing the adjusting for the insurance company. They never leave it to the person on the phone. They will speak to the person making the decisions and speak with that individual directly. Good claims adjusters will definitely make room for this communication on both sides.
The Public Claims Adjuster ‘s Experience
Like all things that involve negotiation, especially with hawk-like insurance companies, experience, is the key. You want to get the best possible person on the case with plenty of experience handling cases like yours. To be sure, you should ask for your adjuster ‘s case files over the last few months or and read through how they handled themselves. Ask for references of people with the same type of claim damage you have suffered.
Public Adjuster Communication
Communicate your concerns and get comfortable with talking to your adjusters. That is the only way to get frank with them and fully grasp the entire process and what you can expect from the case.
Be Realistic About What Your Public Adjuster can Do
There is only so much a Public Claims Adjuster can do with your case. Get to know what that is and keep your expectation within reasonable bounds. There is no point in thinking you will get a massive settlement just because you have a claims adjuster on your side. Adjusters always work to get you what is due from your damages, nothing more and certainly nothing less.
The most important thing to remember is that you need to allow and give your claims adjuster their space to work. Never rush or get impatient with them. When it all settles down, your adjuster would have played a major role in the claim settlement and the final amount you end up with.