WHO IS A PUBLIC ADJUSTER AND
WHY MIGHT I NEED HIM?
A public adjuster is an insurance adjuster who works for you, the insured. The adjuster is very familiar with insurance and can help you place your claim and work to get as much insurance as possible for you from the insurance company.
When you have a claim, the insurance company will send out their own adjuster to look at the facts and figures and determine how much they think the insurance company should pay. Why can you not just accept their results? You must remember that their job is to make sure the insurance company does not pay out any more that it must.
The job of the public adjuster is to make sure you receive all you possibly can from the insurance company. Since they are knowledgeable about insurance and filing claims they can review your insurance policies to make sure claims are filed for all insured loses and they know how to do so in a manner that will be acceptable to the insurance company. You may pay an adjuster by the hour or as a % of the recovery. Typical fees are 10% of collected losses.
For example, an apartment building suffered a loss due to someone falling asleep while smoking. The sprinkler system quickly put out the fire but there was water damage. The owner estimated the damage at $5,000 to $10,000. However, he was astute enough to call in a public adjuster who reviewed his insurance policies and found that there was coverage for extra management fees, lost rent on damaged apartments, and debris removal. The total amount received for this loss was $60,000.
Insurance companies are relying more and more on professional help settle a loss. It would be good for the insured to have their own professionals to help them, however, insurance policies generally do not cover this expense. There is, however, an endorsement that can be added to protect you in this area. Some call it “Claims Adjustment Expenses” or “Cost of Inventory, Appraisal or Adjustment”. Some of these are very restrictive but others are good. A good one reads as follows “In consideration of an additional premium included, coverage under this policy is extended to cover any cost of inventory, appraisement, adjustment and preparation of loss data, not to exceed $xx,xxx in connection with any claim covered under the policy. It is understood and agreed that the insurance granted under this endorsement is intended to cover any and all costs as mentioned above which the insured deems necessary, in the event of loss, and it is further understood and agreed that insurance under this endorsement is not subject to the average clause, if any, contained elsewhere in this policy.”
The important thing to note is that the insurance company wants to limit it’s expense while you, the insured, want to get all the possible coverage you can get, within the limits of your policy. The use of an outside public adjuster and other experts can help you achieve your goal.