The problem is that Public Adjusters are brought in after a claim has been already filed. If you want a lower chance of your claim being denied…Call a Public Adjuster and have them assess the damage, they will make recomendations as to whether the loss is covered or not.

Posted on July 6, 2012 by Chip Merlin

Public Adjusters Win Free Speech Rights and Ability to Promptly Help Policyholders

Public adjusters that are retained promptly after a loss can often be far more helpful than being retained long thereafter. Policyholders usually need professional and practical assistance as soon as a loss occurs. If public adjusters are going to be retained soon after a loss, they need to be able to freely explain how their services can aid policyholders.

Yesterday, the Florida Supreme Court recognized the important free speech rights of public adjusters in Atwater v. Kortum.1 There, the Court upheld a lower Florida Appellate Court and ruled that the Florida Legislature passed an unconstitutional law that prohibited public adjusters from any form of solicitation within 48 hours after a loss. The conclusion of the Court says it all:

…a public adjuster‘s act of contacting or soliciting a potential customer is necessarily expressive. The purpose and intent of the public adjuster‘s act of contacting the claimant is to inform the potential client of the services offered by public adjusters and to obtain the customer‘s consent to a contract. There is no reason for a public adjuster—in his capacity as a public adjuster—to contact a claimant but to engage in communication about the commercial transaction of public adjusting.

Because section 626.854(6) regulates commercial speech—not merely conduct—the First District was correct in applying the test…to evaluate the constitutionality of the statute. The Department has failed to present any argument showing that the First District erred in concluding that the challenged restriction is more extensive than necessary to serve the State‘s interests.

…   As explained above, the plain language of section 626.854(6), Florida Statutes (2008), prohibits all public adjuster-initiated contact with potential claimants during the forty-eight-hour period following a claim-producing event. Because this statute regulates commercial speech, the First District did not err….   In Public Adjusters Win Appeal Regarding Solicitation Ban, I noted that the insurance industry, including those running Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, was responsible for this unlawful legislation:

A basic problem with the ban was that at the most important time an insured could best use a public adjuster’s service, public adjusters could not solicit for business. Keeping the public adjuster from being engaged at this critical time was the object of this insurance industry sponsored law.   A win for the good guys and a loss for those interested in underpaying claims. Justice prevails this time.

Have a fantastic summer weekend!

 

English: Oral argument before the Florida Supr...

English: Oral argument before the Florida Supreme Court in Pleus v. Crist. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About these ads

Public Adjusters represent the insured in their insurance claims. We are the Insured's Advocates and represent only the insured, not the insurance company A QUEST for PUBLIC ADJUSTERS is looking out for YOUR best interest. There are many people who attempt to handle their claims, only to find frustration. A Public Adjuster works on contingency basis and therefore, if they can't increase your claim, there is no charge. What do you have to lose? Hire a Public Adjuster that will be by your side throughout the process. We also perform Appraisals (for dispute resolution) and have Umpire services. If we can't help you our Attorneys will. Call us today at 800-517-8006

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Featured Properties & Rentals, Home Inspections, Insurance Help, Testimonials
6 comments on “The problem is that Public Adjusters are brought in after a claim has been already filed. If you want a lower chance of your claim being denied…Call a Public Adjuster and have them assess the damage, they will make recomendations as to whether the loss is covered or not.
  1. Public Adjusters work on contigency and do not charge if they cannot recover for the property owner. There is no reason why property owners do not use Public Adjusters more. It could mean the difference between having your claim denied or approved. You pay your fee to be covered by your insurance, why do people feel guilty about using their insurance?

    We have asked many howeowners this exact question and the answer varies from:

    1. I don’t want my rates to go up
    2. I didn’t know it was covered
    3. My deductible is going to be too expensive and I can’t afford to pay it
    4. I don’t want my agent to get upset because I put in a claim
    5. The last time I used it was 20 years ago and they didn’t pay anything, because they said that the deductible was more than what it cost to repair my damage
    6. I called in a claim and they told me it wasn’t covered
    7. I felt really bad when the Adjuster kept asking me questions, he made me feel like I did somehting wrong. He asked who made the marks on the roof.

    Many of these examples are used to guilt and shame the insured into not filing claims or to deny claims. Public Adjusters represent the insured and are there to meet the Adjusters and even help call in a claim. We will inspect the property and let you know if it is a covered claim. We will help prevent denials that should be covered and ensure that you are treated fairly. Call today
    915-252-9184

    • Valerie Thurmond says:

      Since public adjusters are paid on a contingency percentage, they have an incentive to make fraudulent claims for AND BY the insured, and thereby drive up insurance rates and leave the insured at risk of a felony charge. For example, you get a knock on the door from a Public Adjuster who will submit a Sworn Proof of Loss signed by the INSURED estimating the replacement cost of a 30 square tile roof at SEVENTY FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS. Most of these claims settle in the $10-$20k range after claim is denied and insured files a suit because it is expensive to defend these frivolous lawsuits.

      • Valerie,
        I don’t know too many PA’s who knock on doors, most PA’s get referrals from roofers, contractors, plumbers and other sources. Also, although PAs are paid on contingency, their incentive is not to make fraudulent claims, but to ensure that the insured are paid appropriately.
        Put yourself in the insured’s shoes for a moment. When the insured pays their premium, they are paying with the expectation that in the event that they suffer a loss, that the loss will be covered. They expect that the coverage for the loss will ease the stress from the property loss, but also prevent further financial loss or burden. Lets face it, if people had the money to replace everything they have, they would not need insurance. Do you agree? What drives up insurance rates, are the pig headed, egotistical Adjusters who make it their pride and joy to deny insured. I mean no disrespect to the Adjusters who actually care, but those unfortunately are few and far between. From experience, even those Adjusters who do try to do right by the insured are later over ruled by a desk Adjuster, who makes up his own rules it seems, and who by the way… does not have to meet the insured face to face. This same desk Adjuster also never sets foot inside of the home or on the roof. If the field Adjuster decides he is denying a claim because he or she is having a bad day, then the insured has no hope. Ohhh and by the way, forget thinking that you can call a Supervisor and they will do what is right. No, they all stick together. Just to make sure everyone is on the same wave length… the Adjuster represents the carrier. Look it up, it is in the Department of Insurance’s description of what and Adjuster is and what he does. It is ludicrous and naive for anyone to believe otherwise. It is all about who pays your paycheck and for the Adjuster show works directly for the carrier or for an Independent company, it is about performance and whether you are going to get assigned another claim in the future. Reality check… PA’s are extremely needed to keep balance. So I have no problem with that, Adjusters represent the carrier’s interest and Public Adjusters represent the Insured’s interest. This is a checks and balances situation. If there was no one looking over the carrier and their staff’s shoulders, imagine how insane it would be. You can’t seriously think that everyone does what is right and is ethical? There are bad apples everywhere, for this reason there should be checks and balances and the need for Public Adjusters is growing.
        As for fraudulent claims, and felony charges, I only wish that our system also punished the insurance carriers and their staff for the fraudulent denials and bad faith practices I see everyday.
        When I first started, I would strive to be as accurate with my estimates as possible, thinking that if I produced a modest estimate which reflected the damage, that it would almost surely be approved. My intentions were to never put anything more or less then I thought would be needed to restore the insured back to pre-loss condition. What I quickly learned was that the less I added, the less the Adjuster paid. Unfortunately it is a game… an unfair game that causes harm to the insured. For example, I have Adjusters who think that removing texture off of a ceiling does not affect walls and that if you mask and tape the walls, that should be all you need. They will remove drywall, texture and refuse to paint the walls, baseboards, trim etc because there was no direct physical loss. Really? So popcorn texture is going to come off and not leave damage to the wall next to and under it? I also love the comment an Adjuster made to my insured once it went like this. “Sir, those dents on your vent caps are from the birds sitting on them”. Really? Most recently, I have Adjusters ignoring code requirements and upgrades to flashing and weatherproofing on roof and wall intersections. Even though a letter from the city building department with copies of the code requirements were presented… the Adjuster still quoted: “There was no damage to the flashing by a covered peril, no coverage exists for the flashing”. Really?
        So you mention that most claims settle for $10-$20k, but what you don’t mention is that those insured are most likely having to reach deep into their pockets to pay for the difference, and as I see everyday, having to shop around for a “cheap” company to do the work for what the insurance Adjuster estimated. What was not said also, is that the insured pays their premiums to be covered in the event of a loss. Their expectation from their insurance company, is that since they paid for their premium, they will not have to suffer a financial loss other then the loss to their property. A loss is stressful enough, the last thing that an insured expects is to have to fight for every penny to be able to pay to restore their property back to pre-loss condition. It is when the insured gets unjustly denied, paid too low and their claim gets delayed, that the insured seeks further restitution. I do not call these frivolous, I call this justice. When there aren’t people with ethics who strive to do what is right by the insured, then the only recourse is to allow the law to take care of the issue. Public Adjusters give the carriers and their employees plenty of opportunities to correct and do right by the Insured, often it this opportunity is wasted.
        Every State has a Department of Insurance, only when the system becomes easier to report to as well as has consistent follow up on complaints, will there be real change. Our system has a long way to go to be perfect and as long as people don’t put themselves in the shoes of the insured, and have never experienced a loss, there will continue to be a need for Public Adjusters, Attorneys and the industry will continue the way it is.

    • Valerie Thurmond says:

      In my view, the only reason why PAs want to be in early on a loss, is so they can get their percentage of coverage not related to structure or contents losses, but things that happen early, such as an emergency advance from the Insurer, or a lease agreement for someplace for the Insured to live. So now you only have $2700 of the $3000 advance to get you functioning again. OR what you thought was a $1000 apartment that was convenient and reasonable, now you only have $900 (after the PA takes her cut) and you had no idea this was part of the contract you signed. OR you spend a month or two doing a list of your contents YOURSELF, because the PA’s inventory specialist listed your $3,000 robotic lawn mower as a “yellow metal object”, then they took their 10% cut of your contents advance, and you have $1000 less to replace your possessions. To add insult to injury, YOU can’t just cash the check from the Insurer, the PA has to endorse it first, and they give you a nice formal request for payment RIGHT NOW, each time you get a check for something. A lot of this happens in the first week, hence the PAs fiscal benefit to being brought in EARLY. The best thing for an insured to do is WAIT until you see the estimate from the insurer, and if it doesn’t look good, ask for some builder’s estimates. The Insurer ALWAYS accepts these. If the claim is denied, call the State Insurance Commission HOTLINE for an emergency review. Just use your head. Don’t lose it by hiring a PA too early. ALWAYS wait and see IF you may have a problem before giving away your indemnity to a PA,

      • Valerie,
        You are clearly upset with your experience. Was this your first claim ever? As an insured myself and having experienced 2 claims without a PA, I can assure you that your insurance company would have given you much less then what you got, minus the PAs fee. The majority of the claims we get are after denial and the insured battling for months with the Adjusters and their Supervisors. They get no where. I can assure you that in the end with a PA, you are made whole. Although you may have gotten $2700 out of the $3000, you later would get more funds for the remainder of your claim. It is rare that people do not end up having sufficient amounts of money to complete their restoration and pay for their additional living expenses. Also, on contents, if the contents are valued appropriately, there should be no issue with the PA getting a fee for service for that portion either. We had a client over a year ago who the insurance carrier awarded a whopping TWELVE thousand dollars to for a 3000 sq foot home. They were not including any furniture, cabinets, and contents that had water damage to them. She ended up with a claim paid out of over $110,000. She is a tax accountant and she saw the benefit. She gladly handed us our fee for service checks.
        You obviously had a bad experience and not sure if the contract was explained properly to you, but in Texas, we are required to include a simple explanation in the contract that explains exactly what you just explained. We personally go over in detail with our clients and make sure they understand how it works. I think the whole claims process is in itself a really stressful and traumatic experience. I can tell you that if your PA got you money in the first week, they did their job well. It is rare that carriers will respond that fast, it is usually a week before they even show up to assess the damages. Also, most PAs will give you a free consultation to review damages and the claim. Our clients now call us when they have a loss, they are more then happy to do so. We relieve them of the majority of stress related to the claims process and also the process to and from the mortgage company. Our clients refer us out and we have developed our business by word of mouth in just a short period of time.

  2. [...] The problem is that Public Adjusters are brought in after a claim has been already filed. If you wan… (questadj.wordpress.com) [...]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 951 other followers

%d bloggers like this: