If you are dealing with a non-compliant insurance company after filing a hurricane damage claim with your insurer, you are not alone. Insurance companies are in the business of making a profit; therefore, for every single claim filed, the goal is to pay less than the claim is worth, delay payment, or deny payment altogether. Even when your insurance adjuster seems like they care about your settlement and your future, never forget that the adjuster works for the insurance company and cares about its financial bottom line. So, what is a public adjuster, and do you need one? The answer to that question depends on a variety of issues.
It can be frustrating to have your insurance company undervalue your claim, delay your claim, or refuse to pay your claim at all. When this happens, you need a strong advocate in your corner—a legal professional who is not afraid to go toe to toe with a huge insurance company. New Orleans Legal, LLC is that advocate. We help people just like you consistently. We care about our clients—their lives, their families, their futures. That care translates into aggressive representation to ensure you receive a fair settlement for your hurricane damage claim.
What Is a Public Insurance Adjuster?
A public insurance adjuster is a property loss professional who works on behalf of policyholders rather than on behalf of insurance companies. Businesses and individuals may hire a public insurance adjuster when they think they would benefit from having a professional assist them in filing a claim or when the amount their insurance company wants to pay is much less than the claim is worth.
Public insurance adjusters can affect your settlement amount in a much better way than you might because they are specially trained to evaluate damages or even loss of business income. Public insurance adjusters know every single in and out of filing and adjusting a claim. Public adjusters may have prior experience in construction or a similar field and are well-versed in using highly sophisticated software to perform an independent evaluation of property loss.
A public insurance adjuster is a pro at logging and submitting both initial and supplemental claims for policyholders. Your insurance company has a claim adjuster that will essentially look at your claim and tell the insurance company where corners can be cut to reduce the amount of your settlement.
Since a public insurance adjuster is hired and paid for by you (the homeowner) or your attorney, they will work hard to provide a comprehensive review of the damage to your home and the amount it will take to repair or rebuild. Below are some pros and cons to the question of whether you should hire a public insurance adjuster.
Pros of Hiring a Public Insurance Adjuster
There are certainly benefits to hiring a public insurance adjuster to evaluate your claim, including:
- There are strict standards for public insurance adjusters in most states, requiring training and knowledge to obtain a license. Public insurance adjusters must pass a background check, be fingerprinted, and be bonded in the state where they work.
- Public insurance adjusters are well-versed in the ins and outs of insurance claims, both residential and commercial.
- Public adjusters can take some of the stress away from you, as they become your advocate, always acting on your behalf. Public insurance adjusters can skillfully guide you through the claims process.
- A public adjuster can significantly minimize the possibility of a part of your claim being missed. Public adjusters have the experience and determination to ensure nothing is missed in your damage claim.
- Generally speaking, public adjusters will usually garner a larger settlement claim for their clients.
There are also negative aspects to hiring a public insurance adjuster, including:
- The public adjuster fee can be significant and is paid up-front, regardless of how the claim ends up. The public adjuster is paid out of pocket by the policyholder or the policyholder’s attorney. Unlike an attorney that works on a contingency fee where the fee is paid from the final settlement, the public adjuster is paid up-front, and regardless of the final settlement. Of course, if you hire an attorney, the attorney will forward the cost of the cost of the public adjuster, and you will only pay that cost if you make a recovery; thus, in such a case, the risk of hiring a public adjuster is transferred to the attorney.
- Many public insurance adjusters are only willing to work with larger claims, and many public adjusters are too busy during periods following major hurricanes. Hiring attorney to retain a public adjuster is one way to guarantee the availability of a qualified experienced public adjuster.
- Finding the right adjuster, who is qualified, experienced and most of all effective, can be difficult. Not all adjusters are same; there are many excellent public adjusters, but likely many more inexperienced and ineffective adjusters out there. And following a major hurricane, public adjusters will arrive on the scene from out of town, many of whom are inexperienced and ineffective. Hiring an attorney to retain a public adjuster is one way to guarantee your public adjuster will be qualified, experienced and effective.
- Public adjusters have no leverage against the insurance companies. Unfortunately, public adjusters cannot force an insurance company to settle, they can only try to convince them to pay more. Thus public adjusters have no leverage against the insurance companies, because if the insurance company doesn’t agree with the public adjuster, there is nothing the public adjuster can do about it. A qualified experienced attorney, on the other hand, has leverage against the insurance companies because the attorney knows how to file a lawsuit against an insurance company and unilaterally force recovery of the amounts due in a court of law. Typically a lawsuit is not necessary, but the very fact that an attorney might file one – and recover penalties and attorney’s fees from the insurance company – is the leverage needed to recover the maximum dollar amount from the insurance companies.
How New Orleans Legal Can Maximize Your Insurance Recovery in Hurricane Claims
The legal team from New Orleans Legal, LLC, can retain and pay for a qualified, experienced and effective public insurance adjuster to handle your claim immediately. New Orleans Legal, LLC has trusted public adjusters we work with and will assume all the financial risk of hiring a public adjuster while maximizing your recovery. New Orleans Legal, LLC can also help you with many other issues regarding your hurricane damage claim. If your insurance company is balking at paying you at all, we can take the lead and ensure you receive what you are owed. If your insurer is delaying payment for no apparent reason, we can help you get your payment in a timely manner. Life can be difficult following damage to your home from a hurricane. Let us get you through these hard times! Contact New Orleans Legal today for a free consultation.