16 Jan What is a Public Adjuster?
If you’ve ever had to file an insurance claim, you’ve probably dealt with an insurance adjuster. These are the folks that come out to inspect property damage to determine how much an insurance company should pay for a claim.
An insurance adjuster’s job is to gather information, so they’ll take lots of pictures and ask lots of questions. Depending on the nature of the claim, they might interview witnesses, look at police reports, consult with lawyers, engineers and more. Ultimately, once they get all the information they need, they put together a report which is submitted to a claims examiner. At that point, the adjuster negotiates with the policyholder and settles the claim.
It’s important to understand that there are different types of insurance adjusters. Insurance companies use their own company adjusters or contract with independent adjusters who work for a different firm. In both of these cases, the adjuster does not work for the policyholder. They technically represent the insurance company as the insurance company is paying their paycheck.
Public adjusters, however, work for the policy holder and are often hired by claimants who don’t want to rely on the insurance company’s adjuster. The goal of these adjusters is to get the highest possible payment for the claimant since they are paid a percentage of the settled claim.
Who would want to hire a public insurance adjuster? Pretty much anyone who is filing a property insurance claim—especially if the claim is for a high amount—would benefit from hiring an insurance adjuster. Insurance adjusters are extremely skilled, thorough, detail-oriented professionals who excel at calculating all the costs involved in repair and replacement of property involved in insurance claims.
While many Florida public insurance adjusters will evaluate a claim for free, however, they will charge a fee to work with policy holders on a claim–often 20% of the settlement amount. The fees are usually less when working commercial claims. In Florida, fees cannot exceed 20%, and claims resulting from events declared by a state of emergency by Florida’s governor are limited to 10% for the first year.
If you are considering hiring a public insurance adjuster to help you with your claim, do your research. Ask for recommendations, read reviews, check references. You can also check out The Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (FAPIA) online directory.