It’s important to know the different kinds of adjusters, vendors, and other individuals involved in the claim process; what their roles are, and what you need to know to protect yourself and not compromise your claim. There are 3 types of insurance adjusters that could be involved in the processing of your insurance claim. Knowing who is who is important when disclosing information and facts about your loss.
(1) Public adjusters are insurance adjusters who do not work for your insurance company. They work for YOU, the insured, to assist in the preparation, presentation, negotiation, and settlement of your claim. You hire them by signing a contract and agree to pay them a fee based on a percentage of the settlement or other method of compensation (Phoenix Public Adjusting only charges a fee in the event of a successful settlement). Public adjusters are required to be licensed in the state(s) they work in to be able represent your interest during a claim. Public adjusters are not attorneys; they do not offer legal services or give legal advice.
You have the right, but are not required, to use the services of a public adjusting firm, such as Phoenix Public Adjusting, in the preparation and handling of your insurance claim. Public adjusters cannot solicit your business while the loss is underway. Your public adjuster contract should clearly indicate the amount of the fee you will be paying to your public adjuster and should be acknowledged by your signature on the contract. The salary, fee, or commission is to be paid by you, the insured, not the insurance company.
(2) Company adjusters are insurance adjusters who are direct employees of your insurance company. They represent your insurance company’s interest and are paid by your insurance company. They will not and cannot charge you a fee and may not be individually licensed or tested by the state. This type of adjuster solely represents your insurance company’s interest.
(3) Independent adjusters are the same as company adjusters, except they are a third party company that the insurance company hires when they are understaffed or don’t have a local employee/company adjuster. Independent adjusters are hired on a contract basis by your insurance company to represent them in the settlement of the claim. They will not and cannot charge you a fee. Independent adjusters are required to be individually licensed by the state and must work for a licensed firm as well. They are paid by your insurance company and solely represent their interest.
(4) Contractors and Restoration Companies are third party vendors that the insurance companies hire to help keep their claim costs down. They are usually vendors that have agreed to do the required repairs for less than the usual market pricing typically using the lowest quality material possible. If you decide not to use their vendors, their estimates will be used to compare to the ones you provide, which in most cases, your estimate from your contractor will be a higher estimate than theirs. Most insurance companies pay out based on their vendor’s numbers, not yours. It’s a negotiation process; this is where our insurance expertise and claims experience ensures you’re getting the maximum compensation. Some insurance vendors will try to fool you into thinking you have to use them for repair services or try to get you to sign a contract to use them for the repairs; make sure you call Phoenix Public Adjusting prior to signing any contracts or paperwork, we will be glad to explain the details to you.
During large catastrophic events, many contractors and restoration companies will solicit insureds and property owners into placing a claim on their own and make them sign a contract to use their restoration company for the repairs. This is not the greatest idea, as the contractors and restoration companies are not knowledgeable about policy coverages and are only concerned with getting you compensated so you can pay them for their work. Oftentimes, many homeowners’ claims are compromised because they aren’t fully compensated with every coverage that applies to their loss simply because the contractor or restoration company are not licensed to actually adjust your claim and aren’t concerned with the other coverages. This could mean a difference of several thousands of dollars in compensation that are never paid because the contracting companies don’t have your interest in mind and aren’t insurance policy experts. They get paid for their work, and you aren’t fully compensated; and your carrier isn’t going to make you aware of that because they just want to minimize the payout. This is why it’s a good idea to have Phoenix Public Adjusters there to ensure you are fully compensated, and educated about the entire claim process. We put the compensation funds in your pocket and give you the control to have several vendors give you their most competitive bid. You will get to choose the best one for the job as opposed to dealing with a vendor that has an arrangement with the carrier to give you the bare minimum in their estimate and repairs in order to minimize the carrier’s payout.
(5) Attorneys are also third party representatives that represent your interest in a similar way that a public adjuster does; however, an attorney is not an insurance coverage expert and doesn’t actually do an inspection on your property or prepare an estimate himself, instead they rely on hired contractors or even your insurance company’s adjuster estimate! Attorneys are law experts, but not insurance experts. you wouldn’t hire a public adjuster to represent you in a court of law, so why would you hire an attorney to represent you on an insurance claim? An attorney cannot adjust your claim or be as familiar with different claims as a public adjuster, who comes into contact with damaged properties and claims on a daily basis. Attorneys usually charge a higher percentage or even by the hour; settlements may be smaller due to unfamiliarity with policy coverages and not being involved in the the scope and estimate process. Leave the claim handling to the experts; Phoenix Public Adjusting will only charge you a fee in the event of a successful settlement; no recovery, no fee. An attorney does not need to get involved unless a lawsuit is filed or until after the initial claim is made and carefully documented by the public adjuster and has been unfairly denied by the insurance company.