How do you know that you are getting the right Public Adjuster to represent your interests? Much like any professional industry, it truly pays to properly evaluate your representative. Here are a few things you should know before you hire a Public Adjuster.
1. Check their License.
Be sure to verify that the entity and the person handling your claim are properly licensed by your state. Every state that licenses adjusters has a department of insurance.Sample (Arizona Department of Insurance) Check the department of insurance’s website to verify that your potential adjuster is licensed. It is also important that their license is in good standing. Most of these website also provide information on the length of time they have been licensed. In addition, many states require that the company’s sales staff is also licensed to solicit you after a loss. Be sure to check your local department of insurance’s website for information on Public Adjuster licensing and solicitation rules.
2. Do they have insurance?
Loss sites are inherently dangerous and policy coverages can be confusing. You need to protect yourself by seeing that your Public Adjuster carries the proper insurance to cover you in case of an accident. It is also important they have insurance to cover you in case they mishandle your insurance claim. We suggest you verify that your Public Adjuster carries errors and omissions insurance. It is also recommended they have workman’s compensation and liability insurance.
3. Education and Experience
Be sure that your Public Adjuster has the experience and education to understand your claim and the applicable policy coverages. Ask for a copy of his resume and check that your Public Adjuster has credentials from reputable insurance educators, such as the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters (theinstitutes.org) and the American Educational Institute. Many of these schools provide courses in claims handling, coverage analysis and policy interpretation. Look for credentials such as the Associates in Claims (AIC), Senior Professional Public Adjuster (SPPA), Property Claims Law Specialist (PCLS) and Society of Claims Law Associate (SCLA).
4. Professional Affiliations
Insurance policy coverages and their interpretation under the applicable state laws are always changing. It is important that your Public Adjuster is abreast of the current and ever changing insurance trends by way of staying involved with other industry professionals. Check that your Public Adjuster holds an active role in professional associations such as the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (napia.com), the Rocky Mountain Association of Public Adjusters (rmapia.org), the Texas Association of Public Insurance Adjusters, and many insurance professionals associations.
5. Know the Firm
You don’t have to be a huge company to be an effective Public Adjuster. However, it is important that you know who will be handling your claim and how it will be handled. Is the Public Adjusting firm a one-man shop working out of the trunk of his car or does he have a staffed office? Does your Public Adjuster have supporting personnel such as forensic accountants, engineers, building consultants, and content specialists? Is the person you are meeting with the one who is going to handle your claim or is he just a salesman?
These are some of the important questions to ask as you will be working closely with your adjuster for the next few months. Choosing a Public Adjuster is a highly personal experience and it is good to know ahead of time what you are getting into. If you have a problem with your claim it is helpful to know if the firm has an office and a staff to help address your concerns.
Every Public Adjuster should be able to provide a list of past satisfied clients for which you can speak with about their experience. Ask for references in your industry or type of claim. If you experienced a fire in your home ask for residential fire references. However, if you own an apartment complex that experienced large windstorm ask for similar type references. Be sure to call the references you receive and make notes.
7. Sample of Work
Not every Public Adjuster is qualified to handle your type of claim. Be sure they have worked on claims with the type of damage and policy you have. Business policies vary greatly in comparison to residential policies. An adjuster who primarily handles residential claims may be overwhelmed when faced with a commercial claim. Unfortunately, sometimes Public Adjusters engage in claims that they are not truly proficient in because of the lure of a large fee. Ask to see a recent claim submission so that you can see the quality of their work.
8. What is the Fee?
Discuss the fees that will be charged ahead of time. But, keep in mind that the lowest fee does not always result in more money in your pocket. A highly qualified professional may charge a higher fee, but if they greatly increase the total amount of your recovery, this could result in a much larger client recovery. Beware of the solicitors who attempt to sell you their services by telling you they will beat everyone’s lowest fee to get your business. Here is a sample of our fee structure which should be typical. Fee Sample These types of adjusting firms generally do not add value to your claim, but exist by taking their fees on what the insurance company would pay anyway and they often do very little work to increase your loss recovery.