Here are some tips for hiring a public adjuster from my perspective as a lawyer who has been representing Florida homeowners for 20+ years (my representation of the homeowner typically doesn't begin until after the claim has been processed by a public adjuster so I have witnessed first hand good and bad public adjuster work).
First, let me say that if your home suffered property damage as a result of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Matthew you will surely benefit from being represented by an experienced and licensed public adjuster who will help you present your claim to your insurance company.
Here are some tips for hiring the right public adjuster:
1. The public adjuster speaks and writes English. Duh!! Sounds pretty basic, huh? I have seen public adjusters that need an interpreter for a deposition. No bueno! Maybe the non-English speaking public adjuster is supremely competent. But it just doesn't play well.
2. The public adjuster is actually licensed. Ask for proof of licensure. Google him.
3. The public adjuster actually makes his living as a public adjuster. If he gives you a business card for his copier repair business and he hand writes his cell phone number on the back of the card with the initials "PA" he probably doesn't do this full time. Don't you want someone who specializes in your problem? Someone with significant experience? I would. If he introduces himself as a "loss consultant" rather than a public adjuster, run. This is not a professional, licensed public adjuster. Anybody can call themselves a "loss consultant". This title means nothing. Again, Google him.
4. The public adjuster is a Floridian. Did he come here from New Jersey chasing a storm? Are you going to be able to find him a year from now if you need him? Or is here here for some easy money? Ask. Google him.
5. If the "loss consultant" or public adjuster is asking you to sign a contract with a lawyer, from the get go, instead of signing a contract directly with the public adjuster, run faster. This is illegal.
6. If the public adjuster is asking you to sign a contract where his fee exceeds 10%, DON'T DO IT. This is illegal under hurricane/emergency conditions.
You can reach Miami Property Insurance Claims Attorney J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email J.P. directly at [email protected].