Insurance Claim Problems: Hiring a Public Adjuster Vs. An Attorney
As smart consumers, we can usually sense when we are being given the runaround. Insurance companies are infamous for this, delaying claims, putting you off, denying legitimate claims, or trying to settle a claim for far less than they are worth.
If you are a homeowner or business property owner who has experienced damage or a complete loss and have filed an insurance claim but are having problems getting your insurance company to pay up, you may be at a standstill, wondering what your next move should be. Or you could be in a situation where your insurance provider has completely denied your claim. Another scenario could be that the settlement your insurance company is proposing is far less than you know it should be in relation to the loss you have experienced.
If you find yourself in any of the above-mentioned situations, you may be trying to decide which is best, hiring a public adjuster or hiring an attorney. A public adjuster will most likely be your best move rather than an attorney. Hiring an attorney should be your last line of defense when battling with insurance companies. Lawyers are for litigation, and you are not at that stage of the game yet. For example, according to the Florida Bar, the typical contingency fee cases range from 30% to 40%. Public adjusters, on the other hand, are capped at 2o% in Florida. And just as noteworthy, public adjusters will do all the work attorneys would do but at a lower cost and likely with equal or better results.
"A public adjuster is a professional claims handler/claims adjuster who represents the insured/policyholder in their insurance claim. Depending on the state, licensed public adjusters are required to prove competency in a variety of ways; written examination, experience time frames, and background checks." - Wikipedia
Hiring a public adjuster means you will pay nothing out of pocket unless they help you win money from your insurance company, whereas an attorney charges an hourly rate and you will pay this whether they win your court case or not. Public adjusters decode all the legal jargon involved in dealing with the insurance claim. A public adjuster will research and document all damages incurred (including extra expenses accrued by an interruption to your business). They prepare the entire claim and ensure that it gets pushed through by the insurance company. Public adjusters negotiate settlements and will even re-open cases where that has been some discrepancy.
The only time you need to consider hiring an attorney when you are having problems with an insurance claim for your home or business property is if in the rare case your public adjuster cannot get your insurance company to do what they should do by paying you a fair settlement. Noble Public Adjusting Group, as well as being a licensed public adjuster, offers appraisal services if your case gets that far. However, even this is not considered a court case. If we go to battle with your insurance company as your appraiser and we STILL aren’t satisfied with the results, that is the point at where we will advise you to hire an attorney and take the insurance company to court.
Now that you know hiring a public adjuster to handle a problem with an insurance claim is the best solution, rather than hiring an attorney, check out our full process below. If you have already filed your claim and you want us to take over, the process is basically the same, since we will be starting from scratch, just reopening your claim.
How the Noble Public Adjusting Group Process Works
First, you engage our services. All you need to do is visit our contact page or fill out the form below to speak to one of our licensed public adjusters to assess your damages and review your insurance policy.
Paperwork. Once it’s established that there is adequate damage and a “case” so to speak, a contract is signed. No fine print, no fancy wording, just a contract to say you have given permission for Noble Public Adjusting Group to represent you and speak with the insurance company on your behalf.
Retrieve Data. The next step is to “scope” the property; which includes taking pictures, measurements, and other information about your damages. This can be done the same day of your free inspection, or when you’re ready. We work 6 days a week and have flexible meeting hours, so it should be easy to come to an agreement on an appropriate time.
We file your claim. Next, we notify your Insurance Company, send in the appropriate forms and send them our professional damage estimate. Usually, this is when the Insurance company will send out their staff adjuster or independent adjuster to assess the damages and write up an estimate on their behalf. We meet with the Insurance company’s adjuster for an “inspection” at your property to help him/her see all of the damages.
Also, a side note. Vacation homes and condos are common in Florida, so rest assured that we have extensive experience in settling large condo association claims no matter the location of your insurance claim.
Negotiation phase. The staff adjuster’s estimate is then turned in to the higher-ups for approval and they dictate to him/her what will be paid on your claim. This is when the negotiations begin. We do all of the negotiating for you. Negotiation time can range from a few days to a few months, it really depends on how efficient your insurance company is. During this process, our office staff will contact them almost daily by phone and e-mail to check the status of your claim and to ensure that they are working on it steadily. Notes and status updates are recorded in our library of files, where you can log in and see what’s happening with your claim.
Settlement. Finally, there will be an agreement made for a fair allotment. The insurance company will usually, within days of the settlement, issue a check by mail, to you and your Public Adjuster to cover your damages and costs.
Rarely, when the Insurance Company refuses to concede, the claim will move into a phase called appraisal or eventually litigation. But since more than 95% of Insurance court cases rule in favor of the property owner and not the Insurance Company, they will try to avoid litigation at almost any cost. The appraisal is an avenue more commonly used to come to an agreement when neither party will bend. To learn more about what Insurance Appraisal is, please see our Appraisal page here.
A study performed by The Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) determined that policyholders who use a Public Adjuster receive a 747% higher claim pay-out than those who choose to file their claims alone. That number is astounding. If you want to be counted among those who receive a proper pay-out, contact us today.