Adjusters who cut their rates usually make up for it by overbooking clients and in many cases cut back on their client services. Each year our firm receives an astonishing number of policyholder calls complaining that they retained a public adjuster who is not returning their phone calls. This is the first tell that you may have retained the wrong adjuster.
IRREPARABLE DAMAGE TO YOUR CLAIM
Others complain that their public adjuster performed poorly and these policyholders want to know what they can do to save their damaged claim. Approximately 80% of these complaints were policyholders who hired public adjusters offering their services for extremely low settlement fees.
Many low fee adjusters do little to advance policyholder settlement offers, usually frustrating their clients by keeping them in the dark by not returning their calls. Frustrated with little advancement, many unsuspecting policyholders accept their public adjusters’ advice and settle their claims without realizing that the low ball settlement was actually initiated by their carrier’s adjuster with little input from their public adjuster.
BAD PUBLIC ADJUSTERS
As in any other industry, a negligent representative can go undetected for years because they select their targets very carefully and they modify their behavior and performance according to the level of their clients’ suspicions and complaints. Don’t be fooled by bargain basement prices for adjusting services. There are many expenses a public adjuster must cover when preparing and presenting a winning claim, which naturally reduces their financial compensation.
WE SPARE NO COST
Our firm spares no cost in the evaluation of our clients claims to insure that we compile the most comprehensive presentation of their losses and we can afford to do so because we charge you a percentage (usually 10%) after we evaluate your loss during our free inspection of your losses. The larger the loss the more money we will be required to spend to assess your damages, particularly your personal and or business property. Personal and or business property is where most policyholders lose large sums of insurance benefits, because no one wants the daunting task of photo documenting and itemizing every single (contaminated) item in a policyholder loss.
TIME CONSUMING WORK
We spend hundreds of hours documenting client losses and DO NOT farm out the job of going through your most intimate and valuable belongings to (alleged) third party content evaluation specialty firms who in turn may hire low wage employees to sift through your belongings to decide what has little or no value, or may be to tedious and or time consuming to document. There are reputable content specialty firms, however, they are few and far between as well as expensive to retain. For this reason our adjusters and employees conduct the tedious task and doing so gives us the ability to personally recollect your damaged goods when listing and pricing them without having to rely on strangers who have no real interest in your gain.
FEE SPITING CAN REDUCE YOUR SETTLEMENT OUTCOME
Keep in mind that a public adjuster who is recommended by their insurance broker or agent usually splits their fee 50/50 as a referral fee with the broker, leaving that adjuster with less than he would get if he signed your loss on his or her own. You are entitled to know if your broker or insurance agent is profiting from the public adjuster they recommend to you. See our post on “What You Should Know About Insurance Brokers Who Recommend Their Preferred Public Adjuster”. It should be up to you to decide who you want to use to evaluate your losses and if the fee arrangement seems fair and the broker will guaranty the public adjusters performance in writing, then using your brokers recommended public adjuster may be a plus. Large loss claims can cost a public adjuster 2, 3 and even 4% to properly prepare and present, so that, if you are paying your public adjuster a low rate to begin with, or your broker is being compensated by the public adjuster, there may be little left over for that adjuster to profit, and therein lays the danger of a rush job for low fees.
There is usually a high price to pay for substandard compensation, so keep that in
mind when you hire the services of a public adjuster who’s fees seem unbelievable.
FREE SERVICES FOR BUILDER NIGHTMARES
Some public adjusters offer their services for little to nothing if you agree to use their builders, which can jeopardize your reconstruction project if your public adjuster’s settlement falls short of their builder’s financial expectations. There are builders that are also licensed as public adjusters, but they are few and far between and new laws may prohibit and or limit their operations. There are many nightmare scenarios in the public adjuster / restoration contractor industries involving thousands of policyholders. Don’t be fooled by a “something for nothing” sales pitch, because that’s usually all it is. See NYS-DFS OCG Opinion on the revised NYS 2014 law and fee restrictions on public adjusters with ties to construction firms.
GET ALL VERBAL PROMISE IN WRITING BEFORE YOU SIGN!
IF YOU CAN’T FIND AN ADJUSTER WHO WILL, CALL US!
If you found this article helpful, we encourage you to read more of our other educational pieces. An informed policyholder makes a great customer.