1Q? WHO ISSUES A PUBLIC ADJUSTER’S CREDENTIALS AND WHY?
A. Public adjusters are licensed and bonded by states via Departments of Insurance to protect the consumer.
2Q? WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PUBLIC ADJUSTER AND AN INSURANCE COMPANY’S ADJUSTER?
A. A public adjuster represents the interests of a policy holder and will research a policy to maximize your damage recovery. A company adjuster represents the insurance company and has no legal duty to advise you how to maximize your benefits under your policy.
3Q? WHAT DOES A PUBLIC ADJUSTER DO?
A. A public adjusters advocates for the policy holder in all matters regarding their claim; PAs communicate with insurance companies to ensure the claimant receives the settlement he or she deserves; PAs assess damage and determine the cost of repair or replacement.
4Q? WHAT IS A PUBLIC ADJUSTER?
A. A public adjuster is a professional in the insurance industry who works exclusively on the side of policyholders. PAs are certified by the Department of Insurance and, in the event of a catastrophe or loss, solely serve the best interests of the policy holder.
5Q? WHY PAY ADJUSTER RATHER THAN JUST LETTING INSURANCE COMPANY DETERMINE SETTLEMENT?
A. Settlement of claims with the assistance of an adjuster are typically more than if filed on your own (all depends on coverage, liability, etc.); a public adjuster can make claims go a little faster, more smoothly.
6Q? WILL I BE CANCELED IF I HIRE A PUBLIC ADJUSTER?
A. No. The public adjusting profession is mandated by the Legislature and regulated by the Department of Insurance. 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.
7Q? SHOULDN’T I WAIT UNTIL THE INSURANCE COMPANY MAKES AN OFFER TO DETERMINE WHETHER I NEED YOUR SERVICES?
A. If you are substantially underinsured and it is quite obvious that you will obtain the limits of your policy, then, of course, you should wait. In situations like that, that is always our advice to you. However, many people make a serious error by delaying the retainment of professional assistance. The earlier we are involved in a claim, the smoother the adjusting process generally proceeds. The insurance company often will not take certain positions when we are involved that they may try to take when we are not. In addition, it takes a great amount of work to determine exactly what is fair, and most people simply do not have the necessary expertise to determine whether or not a company’s offer is fair and accurate. Sadly we see many people who handle their own claims accept what we know are clearly low offers (sometimes less that 50 cents on the dollar), and yet are still quite happy with the settlement. We have also found quite often that the longer a person waits, the more stress and duress he or she is under. Every day many people accept substandard offers just to get the bad experience over with. This is not the best position to be in when you try to negotiate your claim. Bad settlements need not happen.
8Q? IF WE EMPLOY A PUBLIC ADJUSTER, WILL IT CAUSE PROBLEMS OR DELAYS?
A. The vast majority of our claims are conducted and concluded in the spirit of professionalism and mutual respect with the insurance company’s representative(s). However, if the company does not want to be reasonable, we will under no circumstances capitulate to any unreasonable demands or positions they take. If there are any problems or delays in your claim, they are the same problems which would exist whether or not we are involved. We, however, because of our experience would know the best way to minimize certain problems or delays, and often, just by our involvement, many problems are avoided before they develop. While some unethical adjusters may discourage you from employing a Public Adjuster (who is licensed and certified by the Department of Insurance), statistics are quite clear that Public Adjusters, almost without exception, assist in obtaining extremely higher settlements for the Insured, not to mention the time and turmoil the Insured is saved. It is beyond dispute that if any adjuster or agent prefers that you do not hire a Public Adjuster, it cannot possibly be your interest they have in mind.
9Q? WHY CAN’T MY AGENT MAKE SURE I GET A FAIR SETTLEMENT?
A. You probably bought your insurance from your agent or broker because of his friendship and/or salesmanship. While the agent’s expertise is in connection with the marketing of insurance policies, he or she does not have the experience nor the obligation to render adjusting services. In fact, we have seen many times where the insurance company demanded that the agent stay out of the adjustment process. They were told to mind their own business. When everything is said and done, agents cannot do much to help, and they are very wrong if they suggest otherwise. Many people are shocked when they learn that most agents are paid an annual bonus if their claims are kept below a certain percent, known in the industry as the profit/loss ratio bonus. This naturally creates an undisclosed conflict of interest. With the agent having a personal financial interest in your claim, the more he or she helps you, the more he or she hurts himself or herself. However, agents who are aware of our professionalism and expertise, and who have the interest of the Insured at heart, will never discourage them from employing our services. In fact, they often highly recommend us, as they, themselves, have utilized our services many times after being a victim of a loss. Beware of anyone who advises you not to seek assistance from someone with our successful track record who works exclusively for you and your benefit.
10Q? WHO USES THE SERVICES OF PUBLIC ADJUSTERS?
A. Public Adjusters are utilized by individuals and all types of businesses and professions, including banks, accountants, attorneys, and even insurance adjusters and agents on their own losses. Once a person has experienced the benefits of our services, they will rarely attempt to settle a claim without our assistance.
11Q? DO I HAVE TO PAY YOU UP FRONT?
A. No. We are not paid until money is collected from the Insurance Company. In fact, we spend our money and our time helping to document and process your claim before we are paid anything.
12Q? AM I ASSURED A HIGHER SETTLEMENT IF I USE YOUR SERVICES?
A. Almost always. The more thorough and complete your claim, the higher the settlement. We meticulously inspect the loss site and compile the damage. On severe losses where much of the inventory is burned out of sight or blown away, we use a variety of computer checklists to help us recap with you, on a room-by- room basis, what was in the property at the time of the loss. By using our highly refined methodology, reconstruction of a total inventory is surprisingly accurate. Studies have clearly demonstrated that most inventories compiled by the Insured are very incomplete.
13Q? WHY SHOULD I EMPLOY A PUBLIC ADJUSTER TO OBTAIN WHAT IS RIGHTFULLY DUE ME?
A. Repairing an insurance claim can be a complicated and complex task. Substantiating and documenting your loss is your job, not the job of the insurance company’s adjuster. There are just too many details and variables which arise that can be easily overlooked. The decision to use a Public Adjuster has very little to do with whether or not you believe the insurance company will or will not try to be fair. Public Adjusters will almost always obtain much greater settlements than individuals, not only due to their skill in evaluating, estimating, and appraising, but also because of their experience with the “ins and outs” of the insurance industry. As is true in any profession, the more experience and training one has, the better the final results.
14Q? WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PUBLIC ADJUSTER AND THE INSURANCE COMPANY’S ADJUSTER?
A. The Public Adjuster is employed by you, and their fiduciary responsibility and duty must be to you. The insurance company’s adjuster is employed by the insurance company, and their responsibility and duty must be to their employer. It’s not possible for any insurance adjuster, no matter how hard he or she may try, to zealously protect both your interests and the interests of his or her insurance company at the same time. After all, their instructions come from their employer, not from you.