Today’s blog post covers the field of public adjusting and how it can be of value to building owners or anyone who dealing with a property-related insurance claim.
When a commercial or industrial building has been damaged or destroyed, going through the insurance claim process can be arduous and time-consuming. Proceeding from filing an insurance claim to receiving a claim settlement can take lots of effort, and with larger settlement amounts it can be even more involved.
A public adjuster is one of three kinds of professionals who become involved in the insurance claims process. The other two kinds of claims adjusting professionals are staff adjusters and independent adjusters. Staff adjusters are directly employed by an insurance company, and independent adjusters are hired by an insurance company as independent contractors. They report only to the insurance company employing them and are there to represent the insurance company’s interests.
A public adjuster, on the other hand, exclusively represents the policyholder in an insurance claims process and helps him or her negotiate a settlement. They have no relationship with the insurance company and therefore serve as a third party, non-biased advocate for an insured party. For compensation, they typically charge “contingency fees”, or a percentage of the settlement paid to the insured by the insurance company. In this arrangement, public adjusters are incentivized to get the largest settlement possible.
Public Adjuster Fees
There is no industry standard for a public adjuster’s contingency fees. However, the insurance consumer advocacy group United Policyholders reports it is not unusual for public adjuster contingency fees to range from 5-15% of a total settlement value. Insurance company-employed claim adjusters are sent out by an insurance company for no cost, but they do not necessarily serve the full interests of a policyholder in their capacity.
Should I Use a Public Adjuster?
Since the claims process can be so confusing and involved, a public adjuster’s property loss expertise and experience with claim management can be invaluable. In many cases, public adjusters are able to get a settlement’s amount increased. After all, public adjusters are experts in comprehensively documenting and negotiating a claim. However, as is the case in other professional services, they differ in the expertise and knowledge they will bring to the table.
Thus, there are many things to consider. The Insurance Information Institute recommends checking a public adjuster’s references, and checking up on his or her licensing and reputation by calling the Better Business Bureau or your state department of insurance. It is advisable to refrain from using a public adjuster who uses high-pressure sales tactics or goes door-to-door to solicit new clientele.
Here are a few other things that United Policyholders recommends building owners keep in mind as well:
- Are they licensed? Do they work on an individual basis or as part of a firm?
- What is the volume of the claims they are dealing with? How will that affect the timing of getting your claim settled?
- Is the person you are talking to the actual professional who will be handling your case?
- Are they are a licensed public adjusting professional? Standards for obtaining an adjuster license will differ from state to state.
- What can you expect from them over the long process of handling your claim? How committed will they personally be to your claim process? Will they handling the entire claim process or just a portion of it?
- How many years of experience do they have, and in what areas of property loss management have they dealt with the most? How many years have they practiced in your state?
- What will communication look like between you? What measures will the adjuster take to ensure you are well-represented and remain up-to-date about progress?
- What will the terms of the adjuster’s fees be? How open are they to negotiating these fees? If the business relationship ends before a settlement has been negotiated, what will the payment terms be?
- How many references do they give? What do the references say, and are they tied to the adjuster in any other way besides having used their services?
United Policyholders provides a comprehensive list of information and questions to ask, as well as tips for consideration. There is also an “Ask an Expert” section on United Policyholders’ website, in which building owners can ask for expert advisement for free. Because the volume of inquiries they receive is so heavy, it is important to keep in mind getting an answer can take a little bit of time.
Choice Roof Contractor Group and Strategic Partnerships
In its bid to provide building owners with a comprehensive range of services for their needs, Choice Roof Contractor Group searched extensively nationwide for a national, reputable public adjuster firm. After going through dozens of firms, we found a quality-minded partner in Pride Public Adjusters, a worldwide firm providing insurance loss claims for commercial property, large buildings, business buildings, residential buildings, apartment buildings, and complex insurance losses.
In line with their commitment to consumer education, Pride Adjusters offers an extensive list of what property owners should do after a loss. Should you be interested in having Pride Adjusters’ honed expertise in claims management services for your needs, give us a call at 800-670-5583 so we can connect you to one of their best associates.
Note: This information is intended for consumer information purposes only and is not a replacement for professional advisement. While we are committed to accurate consumer education, we do not guarantee the complete accuracy of the information provided.