What Florida Homeowners Should Know About Public Insurance Adjusters

If you are frustrated with your insurance company because it appears to be significantly undervaluing the loss you suffered to your home from fire, hurricane, plumbing problems or other perils, a public adjuster can sometimes be a valuable asset in settling your claim.  However, there are a fair number of situations where the cost of a public adjuster might not be justified, such as a situation where the loss might only exceed your deductible by a relatively small amount.  Sometimes we speak to an insured who assumes that an “independent” adjuster sent by the insurance company is the same as a public adjuster.  In reality, a so-called “independent adjuster” sent by your insurance company might be just as inclined to reach biased conclusions about the cause of the damage and the amount of your loss as an adjuster who is an employee of the insurance company.  Because J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo recognizes that many policyholders have questions about public adjusters, he has provided some answers to frequently asked questions.

Why do I need a public adjuster if the insurance company says they are sending an independent adjuster?

Although insurance companies often use adjusters that do not work for the insurance company, this does not mean that these adjusters are objective in their appraisal.  Adjusters that do substantial amounts of work for insurance carriers have a financial incentive to produce a report that benefits the insurance company.  If an adjuster’s appraisals generally benefit the insured, the adjuster might soon find that he or she is no longer being used by insurance companies because the adjuster is exercising too much independence.  A public adjuster, by contrast, is your advocate in the process, so the adjuster is not beholden to your insurance company.

How do I locate a qualified public insurance adjuster?

Because insurance adjusters are subject to state regulation and licensing requirements in most jurisdiction, most public adjusters are competent and trustworthy.  However, you can always contact the state insurance department to obtain information about a public adjuster.  There are also organizations like the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters that can provide names of qualified public adjusters.

Are there certain types of claims that my public insurance adjuster can help me resolve?

If you are pursuing a claim for damage caused by perils like vandalism, burst pipes, hurricanes, fire or similar hazards, licensed public adjusters generally will have assisted policyholders with many types of claims involving similar damage and perils.

Should I hire a public adjuster immediately or wait until I determine I need assistance dealing with my insurance company?

While the maximum rate of a public insurance adjuster typically is set by the insurance department in each state, the industry standard is about 10-20 percent.  This substantial cost means that you might want to take a wait and see approach.  However, the cost might be higher if the adjuster is not retained before you file a claim because the insurance company may already be committed to a position if you postpone hiring a public insurance adjuster until you run into trouble.

What services will I receive if I decide to incur the expense of a public adjuster?

The public adjuster will be your advocate in dealing with your insurance company to settle your claim.  The adjuster can evaluate the damage, prepare an estimate of the cost of repairs, file your claim and negotiate with your insurance company to settle the claim.

If you have other questions about public insurance adjusters, Miami property damage lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo welcomes the opportunity to answer your questions and discuss your situation.  Mr. Gonzalez-Sirgo handles insurance disputes against insurance carriers in Miami and throughout Florida.  The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free consultations and case evaluations.  No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees.  Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM.

1 Comments
I think this was a good and fair evaluation of what a public adjuster does. It was fair and balanced, nice job J.P.
by Manny Fortun September 5, 2014 at 09:27 PM
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