The Professional Public Insurance Adjuster:
Protecting Policyholders and Their Claims
When people’s homes or businesses are lost to fire, hurricane or other incident, the process of navigating insurance claims and recovery can be difficult and emotionally draining. Moreover, without the expertise in filing a claim, consumers often are at an extreme disadvantage.
Why A Public Adjuster?
- For the personalized expert assistance Public Adjusters provide in preparing and adjusting a claim allowing the property owner to receive accurate analysis of their circumstance and policyholder rights as early as possible.
- The primary reason a Public Adjuster is hired is to help the policyholder fully recover from their insurance company, for all covered damages sustained in the event of a loss. Public Adjusters inspect all areas to demonstrate the entire impact of the loss-producing event.
- Public Adjusters will typically be more complete in their damage analysis than their insurance company counterparts or the inexperienced policyholder on his or her own because they are trained for it, provide a personalized service with that concept in mind, and because they do not receive any fees until the policyholders receive their claims reimbursements.
- Public Adjusters share a similar interest with the policyholder in achieving the most accurate comprehensive claim payment possible, and in an expedited manner that results in payments to policyholders.
The Public Adjuster’s Role
- The Public Adjuster measures and documents a policyholder’s loss on behalf of that policyholder, taking care of the claims process and helping to document all losses to the insurance company adjuster.
- The Public Adjuster’s sole responsibility, unlike that of an insurance company adjuster, is to advocate for the policyholder’s position in the claim.
- A Public Adjuster handles only first party property claims, which means they assist the owner of the property in handling a claim with that owner’s insurance company. Generally, a Public Adjuster handles claims for damage to real and personal property, and the related loss of income, which results from such perils as fire, lightning, wind, water, vandalism, theft, collapse, hail, flood, etc.
- The standard compensation of a Public Adjuster is a contingency fee in the range of 10% – 20% of the amount adjusted.
- When a Public Adjuster is working in a contingency fee arrangement, the Public Adjuster is paid by the policyholder after the claim has been paid by the insurance company.
After Disaster Strike: The 48 Hour Window
The Public Adjuster:
- Provides immediate claims handling assistance to the insured.
- Provides immediate direction as to what to do and what happens next.
- Helps the policyholder fulfill all obligations placed upon them by the insurance policy conditions entitled “Duties in the Event of Loss”.
- Provides direction concerning reasonable and necessary mitigation efforts.
- Provides direction to preserve evidence. Photos the scene to capture much of the damage moments after the loss.
- Suggests the preservation of valuables that are in the structure.
- Prevents the wasteful spending of unreasonable mitigation money.
- Provides direction as to new temporary living arrangements.
- Advises against the premature hiring of contractors until damages, job specifications, and cost of the job, are known, agreed to, and paid for by the carrier.
In a Nutshell:
- The Public Adjuster provides professional insurance claim expertise to assist the home or business owner recover from financial loss due to an insured event.
- Analysis of Citizens Property Insurance Corporation claims data found that property owners received higher payments when claimants used public adjusters for claims filed in 2008 and 2009.
- Complaints and regulatory actions against Florida’s public adjusters are relatively low.
- 2010 Oppaga Report: Citizens policyholders who used public adjusters received much higher compensation on claims when represented by public adjusters.