In today’s complicated world, specialty professions are becoming more and more of a necessity. Most people are extremely busy with their normal life and do not have the time to deal with the intricacies of putting a claim together and bringing it to fruition. Perhaps the best analogy would be the fact that few people would ever appear in court representing themselves against experts in matters of law; therefore it stands to reason that you would not fare well representing yourself against experts in matters of insurance.
The best time to contact a public adjuster is as soon as the claim happens. We have resources available to us to comply with policy conditions immediately and begin the mitigation and protection process of your property. This eliminates the possibility of failing to comply with policy conditions thereby diminishing a claim. Additionally, with our expertise, we are aware of exactly what needs to be done in order to protect your property, mitigate damages and prevent further damages or another loss from occurring.
Public Adjusters are experts in the field of policy interpretation, coverage application, building estimates, contents inventories, business interruption and additional living expense claims. This expertise allows a policyholder to maintain their normal life and not miss work in order to do inventories, compile data, meet adjusters, meet experts etc. Public Adjusters are often able to review a policy of insurance and find coverages that people do not know exist, thereby recovering losses that a layperson would likely miss on their own
Most insurance companies welcome a public adjuster on the claim. Often times company adjusters are completely inundated with work and are unable to spend the proper time explaining every detail. With a public adjuster handling your claim, it is our job to convey all of the conditions, procedures and steps to you, thereby taking the burden off of the company adjuster. Additionally, company adjusters understand that public adjusters know how to put a claim together and they can expect a proper submission in a timely manner.
A public adjuster represents the interests of a policy holder and will research a policy to maximize your damage recovery. A company adjuster represents the insurance company and has no legal duty to advise you how to maximize your benefits under your policy.
There is no specified time limit to conclude a claim. Most insurance companies desire to move a claim along as quickly as possible and make payment as quickly as possible. This speed, however, comes at a cost as it results in a lack of attention to detail and incomplete claim presentation. These quick and easy settlements are most often beneficial to the insurance company and not you, the insured. While we strive to settle claims as quickly as possible, we do not wish to compromise value for speed. It is best to thoroughly inspect and examine a claim, make the proper presentation and settle the claim properly.
The insurance policy outlines rights of both the Insured and insurance company. Often, insurance companies will write a “reservation of rights” letter to a policy holder or their representative. The intent of this letter is to allow the insurance company to continue their investigation and if they find reason to diminish or deny a claim, they have reserved their right to do so in that correspondence.
When the insurance companies suspect that there would be no coverage for a claim, but need to do an investigation in order to make that determination, they often require the signing of a “non-waiver” agreement. This allows an investigation into the cause and origin of a claim and allows the insurance company to deny a claim if that is their finding. It also allows the Insured to file a lawsuit if they feel they have been wronged.
A “proof of loss” is merely a form that comes in various formats, that outlines the specifics of a claim. There is a requirement in most policies to submit a “proof of loss” within 60 days after the insurance company makes a request for the submission of a “proof of loss”. There are instances where a “proof of loss” form must be submitted within 60 days after the date of the loss or the right to pursue your claim can be forfeited.
A GRC endorsement usually provides for an additional amount of insurance over and above the base limit of liability on the building form. Most policies provide for a specific percentage over and above the base limit as shown on the declaration sheet.
Most homeowner’s policies and some commercial policies have extensions or additional coverages built-in to their form. These can include “ordinance or law” coverage, “guaranteed replacement cost”, “additional debris removal”, “additional trees, shrubs, plants”. Most of these additional coverages are based on a percentage of the amount of the building coverage in a policy. In most cases these additional coverages need to be incurred before they can be collected.
Most insurance policies require the determination of a replacement cost value of the building as well as a replacement cost value of a claim. First, the establishment of the replacement cost value of the building is often required, specifically when there is a replacement cost percentage required in the policy in order to collect replacement cost damages. This is established by use of different methods, taking into consideration the size, type of construction, quality of construction of a building and applying building cost data to establish what it would cost to replace the structure in question with like, kind and quality materials, using today’s construction methodologies. Often times this is confused with “market value”; however the replacement cost value of a building is simply construction and does not take into consideration land values, landscaping, driveways etc.
While most policies today provide for replacement cost coverage for both building and contents, insurance companies are not required to pay the replacement cost value up front, but rather the depreciated or actual cash value. In order to collect withheld depreciation on either building or contents the requirements are that the building be repaired or replaced, contents be repaired or replaced and the replacement cost claim be spent on those repairs or replacement.
We cannot charge a fee greater than 10% of the actual or final settlement of the loss.
The Actual Cash Value (or depreciated value) is normally a negotiated percentage taken off of each item, or each trade applicable to a loss. This percentage is based on the age of an item, its use, occupancy as well as maintenance condition.