WHAT IS A PUBLIC ADJUSTER?
A Public Adjuster is licensed, educated and trained in the policy coverage and state regulations and statutes that guide claims handling and the entitlements of the policyholder in first party property damage claims. Public Adjusters work exclusively to facilitate the perfection of the claim and recover the full amounts due to the policyholder. Public Adjusters also known as PA’s, are required to pass stringent certification examinations and attain surety bonds before the Department of Insurance will grant a license. Many states also dictate continuing education requirements be met to maintain licensing. Attorneys and Public Adjusters are the only parties that are allowed by law to represent and pursue another party’s interest on an insurance claim.
WHY IS A PUBLIC ADJUSTER DIFFERENT FROM ADJUSTER SENT FROM THE INSURANCE COMPANY?
A Public Adjuster is employed and paid by the policyholder and their fiduciary responsibility and duty is to the policyholder. Adjusters and other experts employed or retained by the insurance company work in the best interest of the insurance company, accordingly their responsibility and duty must be to their principle.
WHY SHOULD I RETAIN A PUBLIC ADJUSTER TO BE PAID WHAT I AM OWED UNDER MY POLICY?
There are many reasons why you may consider retaining a Public Adjuster to act on your behalf. The preparation and presentation of the facts can be complicated, burdensome and time consuming. You may have other responsibilities and priorities in your life or business that may prevent you from dedicating the resources needed to obtain the full amount you are entitled to. Your claim may come under scrutiny which can become frustrating and overwhelming. You may want to hire a Public Adjuster because your claim is being delayed or you suspect that you will not receive all of the coverage benefits for which you are entitled. You may find yourself in the uncomfortable position representing your interest against a team experts retained by the insurance company. The policy requires that the policyholder substantiate and document their damage. Many policyholders lack the knowledge and the skills for evaluating, estimating, and appraising covered damage. More importantly, they lack the experience of dealing with insurance industry experts. As is true in any profession, the more experience and training one has acquired the better the results.
WHY NOT HANDLE THE LOSS MYSELF?
Unlike a Public Adjuster, most policyholders do not have the time or background to fully assess and prepare an itemized damage an loss report. There may be additional coverages you are entitled to and proper presentation of your claim is critical to full recovery. A Public Adjuster does have the extensive experience to properly analyze and support your claim. In turn, you are relieved of the burden of preparing, coordinating and attending meetings enabling you to continue to concentrate on your day-to-day activities.
WILL I STILL BE INVOLVED?
We work as your in-house claims department. In preparing estimates and inventories, we consult with you to put together a loss package before conferring with the insurance company. We keep you apprised of our progress and significant developments regularly. No final settlement will be made without your approval.
WHEN SHOULD I CALL FOR PROFESSIONAL HELP?
At the earliest possible opportunity. Particularly in view of the fact that what you do or say at the beginning of a claim may turn out to have serious implications for the eventual outcome. At ACI we much prefer to be called in from the outset which is when we can be most effective, although we can add tremendous value to claims already under way.
WHO ARE PROPERTY ADJUSTMENT'S CLIENTS?
Public Adjuster services are used wherever a first party property claim may arise. All types of organizations, businesses and professions, including banks, accountants, attorneys, and even insurance Adjusters and agents consider using a Public Adjuster or recommending them for losses. Once an insured has experienced the benefits of a claims expert’s services, they will rarely attempt to settle a claim without the consulting advantages of a PA.
WHAT MAKES PROPERTY ADJUSTMENT DIFFERENT FROM OTHER PUBLIC ADJUSTERS?
We appreciate how important your claim is to you and provide continuous help, support and guidance from start to finish. Our professionalism and the way we work with the insurance company and their appointed representatives generates mutual respect, which helps us deal more effectively with the insurance company and assists in the efficient settlement of claims. We have worked for insurance companies in varying capacities and we intimately understand the operations and philosophies in the industry. We are strongly devoted to handling even the most difficult, complex or contentious claims and we are not deferred by the excuses insurers may present for reducing or rejecting claims.
WILL I GET A HIGHER SETTLEMENT IF I USE THE SERVICES OF ACI?
With a thorough and complete evaluation by a professional of the applicable coverages that may apply to the individual circumstances of your claim, the results often equal higher settlements. The meticulous attention to the detail and diligent pursuit of your recovery of the loss are where most Public Adjusters are earn their keep. Our thorough analysis of your claim, knowledge of insurance policies and loss recovery methods often result in identifying additional losses and coverage that can increase the insured’s recovery. Having a professional Public Adjuster, whose compensation is directly linked to achieving your best settlement, assures a mutual interest of achieving the full entitlements under the policy.
DO I HAVE TO PAY A RETAINER OR UP FRONT FEES?
Fees are not paid until the payment is collected from the insurance company. The fee structure varies depending on type of loss and particular circumstances surrounding the claim. As a general rule contingency fees charged by an attorney are much greater than the fees charged by a Public Adjuster without all of the litigation expenses. However, don’t be misled, only licensed attorney can provide legal advice and represent you in litigation. Should you elect have an attorney become involved, the information and services provided by the Public Adjuster will always enhance the objectives of the attorney as they work together. However, you must understand that if an attorney does get involved after a Public Adjuster, the Public Adjuster is still entitled to compensation should the attorney achieve settlement or a judgment. These arrangements should be discussed with your Adjuster and legal counsel.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO SETTLE MY CLAIM?
There are no set timescales for claims. Generally, a straightforward, non-contentious claim can take 2-3 months to be settled. More complex and hard fought claims can take longer. Our incentive is based on the fact that we do not get paid until you do, so we can assure you that we will progress your claim as quickly and as forcefully as possible. However, we will not jeopardize recovery efforts to obtain timely settlements, unless directed otherwise by our clients.