What is a Public Adjuster?
A Public Adjuster or PA is a licensed insurance claim adjuster who works solely for the policy holder and not the insurance carrier. Public Adjusters typically work with property owners or insured who have property insurance, business interruption insurance or some form of extra expense insurance.
A Public Adjuster is an expert on the loss adjustment and recovery process of these first party claims. A PA assists you in preparing, filing and managing the payment of your claim.
Why do you need a Public Adjuster?
Insurance claims are complex. The people handling your claim for the carrier have years of experience. If you adjust claims for a living, you probably do not need a Public Adjuster. Most others can benefit from our training and experience. Some clients hire us after they receive their first check from the carrier. Others will hire a public adjuster immediately after the loss to manage the entire claims process.
The public adjuster’s job is to make sure the policy, along with any applicable Statutes governing adjustment of claims are followed. Filing a claim requires a written, itemized statement of your losses. You may not realize what the extent of your coverage is and the insurance company is not obligated to tell you.
The public adjuster will evaluate the amount of damages in detail. Such evaluation may include qualified expert reports which help determine the scope of damage. Frequently it will also include actual contractors’ estimates or inventories. The true value of a professional public adjuster is to ensure that all damages caused by the loss are included in the claim and all applicable coverages that apply to the loss are documented. This information is then packaged, presented, and negotiated with the insurance company using the proper manner and methodology.
Filing a claim is tedious, time-consuming and is an aggravating process. Public Adjusters can take this burden off your shoulders and free you to get back to your day-to-day life.
Why shouldn’t I hire a lawyer rather than a Public Adjuster?
Adjusters and attorneys play separate, yet complementary, roles in the resolution of insurance claims.
In legal disputes with the insurance company you should definitely hire a lawyer. However, most policies specify that you may not bring suit until all provisions of the policy have been complied with. Complying with the terms usually requires the assistance of someone like a Public Adjuster.
Attorneys do not deal with matters of damage assessment or the scope of loss and routinely hire a Public Adjuster to perform these services once a case is retained. Public Adjusters and attorneys play separate, yet complementary, roles in the resolution of insurance claims.
What are “alternative dispute resolution” methods?
Most insurance policies contain a Mediation and Appraisal clause. A licensed Public Adjuster can represent you through both of these processes. Mediation and Appraisal are alternatives to litigation and may be required before a suit can be filed.
More information is available on our What We Are page.
I received a check from my insurance company, but it is not enough to repair the damages. What do we do?
DO NOT sign a Release until you have discussed your situation with a professional. In Florida, it is common to receive a check for what is referred to as the “undisputed damages”.
After the final settlement, with the assistance of a Public Adjuster, Appraiser or Attorney, another check is issued for the final settlement amount minus any previous payments and the deductible (if applicable).
If you have signed a release, you still have options. Contact us for more information.
I have already settled with the insurance company on my own. Is it too late to reopen my file?
Probably not, depending on the time limits of your individual state to file supplemental payments. Contact us for a free consultation and see how we can help you.
Can my insurance agent handle the claim for me?
Your agent is trained in determining your insurance needs, not negotiating insurance claims. Additionally, on most occasions, your agent’s hands are tied because of their agency relationship with the insurance company. Public Adjusters know the claims side of the insurance business and are familiar with policy documents, claim filing procedures and the various insurance related regulations that govern the claims settlement.
Your insurance agent’s expertise is selling insurance, not interpreting policies, evaluating damages and negotiating claims.
Can my building contractor negotiate with the insurance company to settle my claim?
NO! While your contractor can certainly write an estimate for you to submit to your insurance company, the contractor is forbidden from meeting with the adjuster and negotiating the claim. This includes negotiating at a Mediation Hearing. To do so is the unlicensed practice of public adjusting and is a third-degree felony.
How is a Public Adjuster compensated?
Public Adjusters are compensation on a contingency fee basis. It is a percentage of your insurer’s claim payments that are made to you. In most cases, there are no out-of-pocket expenses and no up-front fees. We do not get paid unless you get paid.
In Florida, when the Governor invokes the state of emergency rule, all PA fees are capped at 10%. This limits the maximum charges. Some cases are less, and some are compensated by the hour.