If you've ever been in a situation where you've had to file an insurance claim, you may have heard of public adjusters. But are they legitimate? Many people are under the impression that public adjusters somehow defraud insurance companies into paying out large sums of money, leaving the company penniless. But this is far from the truth. In this article, we'll take a look at what public adjusters do, how they work, and why they are a legitimate option for policyholders. First of all, it's important to understand the difference between an insurance company and a local agent.
Insurance companies are multi-billion dollar companies that don't really want your loyalty; they want your business. Local agents simply sell you a policy and charge premiums for the company. Public adjusters, on the other hand, present an argument for the policyholder using state statutes, building codes and insurance information and submit them to the insurance company. The insurance company then tries to refute the case, just like in a trial case. The two go back and forth negotiating until a fair agreement is reached.
Once the agreement is reached, the insurance company issues the payment to the policyholder and the public adjuster. There are no tricks or frauds; the insurance company simply sees the loss as it is and promises to pay what is owed. It's important to note that insurance fraud is a serious crime and not many adjusters get away with it. Most adjusters aren't willing to risk everything for a few extra dollars. Public insurance adjusters are the only property loss professionals who work on behalf of policyholders. Individuals and businesses hire public insurance adjusters when they need help filing a claim or believe that the claim amount offered by an insurance company is incorrect.
Insured persons are at a vulnerable time after a disaster, so unauthorized practice of public adjustment only serves to aggravate the problems they face by overestimating the amount of work that must be done to repair or replace a property, or by leaving a job entirely after collecting the money of the insured. So how can you make sure you're hiring a good public appraiser? If no one you know can make a recommendation, ask the public appraiser in question for the contact information of some of their previous customers. You can also see if they are members of the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters. A landlord may decide to hire a public appraiser if they have a potentially significant claim and are concerned that everything is covered. Claims for damage caused by floods, fires, smoke, wind and hurricanes, as well as other hazards, can be filed and negotiated by public appraisers. Similarly, if you're simply too busy to manage the claims process on your own and need help, a public adjuster may be an option for you. Public adjusters have a different work ethic than most people.
They file ALL claim documentation, investigate and examine the property (which includes tons of measurements, photographs and notes), write a professional, detailed and damage estimate and report, meet with insurance staff more than once in the property to research, discuss and make countless phone calls and emails throughout the process. While insurance companies don't like it when you hire a public adjuster (because they end up paying more), they can't increase your insurance premium for that reason. For example, if the claim is resolved and additional damage is discovered during repairs, you may want to hire a public appraiser to assess the total cost. A public adjuster cannot request or accept an allowance of insurance policy income from a customer. After Hurricane Michael, and as Hurricane Dorian approached Florida, it was reported that Patronis held a private phone call with representatives of Florida insurance companies saying that he would do everything possible to eliminate roadblocks provided by public appraisers and attorneys. For example, an adjuster may know that your company is interested in working on your fire claim, but another company adjuster may have more experience with fire damage and process your claim from then on. Many homeowners choose to hire a public appraiser if the damage is extensive or if it is difficult to determine how much damage has occurred. In conclusion, public adjusters are legitimate professionals who work on behalf of policyholders when filing claims or negotiating with insurance companies.
They provide valuable services such as filing all claim documentation, investigating properties for damages, writing detailed reports and estimates, meeting with insurance staff multiple times throughout the process and making countless phone calls and emails throughout the process.