Whenever individuals suffer a loss to their home or business it is a devastating event. The insurance companies do whatever they can to make it harder on the claimants. It was so disturbing and disgusting to me that I became a public adjuster over twenty years ago to fight the injustices of the insurance companies. This article is written from my experience in the property adjustment field and the inside secrets of how insurance company adjusters actually work.
When a homeowner or business owner files a claim with their insurance company, the company then picks their favorite independent adjustment firm, the one that saves them the most money. From there a file is created and the wheels are set into motion to visit your property loss, take various photos and write an estimate of loss. The insurance adjuster will eventually send you the estimate of loss and you probably won’t understand much of what is on the estimate of loss. The adjuster makes it as difficult as possible for the average insured to understand the breakdown and, more confusing, the way he came up with his final figures to pay your loss.
Then he may make another visit to your property to explain to you that this is the only amount that the insurance company is willing to pay you for your loss and all you need to do is sign this form and they will give you a check for what is reflected on his estimate. STOP! Do not sign this form. You have no idea what you are signing! It’s nothing less than preying on innocent people who have suffered loss of property.
The independent insurance adjustment firms know if they don’t get the lowest possible settlement for the insurance company that hired them, that the insurance company will not give them very much, if any work again. The insurance company depends on the adjuster to low-ball every item you own and what you include in your loss claim form.
For example let’s say you have a dense high-grade carpeted living room and dining room floors that is no longer being manufactured. The living room is only damaged. The job of the insurance company adjuster is to try to get you to accept less by recommending the best carpet available right now, that will most likely cost less than your original carpeting was worth. Obviously if you cannot get the exact carpet, the adjuster will convince you to accept a lesser grade carpet for the living room and, to make matters worse, he will not even pay you for the matching dining room carpet. He will attempt to convince you in every way possible that you will not even notice the difference between the living room and dining room carpet. Believe me, you will notice and be kicking yourself in the behind for being so stupid to believe his lies and sign his settlement forms. By then, it is too late to do anything about it, your claim has been settled and you have been duped. Once you sign the papers agreeing to a settlement from the insurance company, you no longer have any leverage to negotiate with the adjusters.
Like a used car salesman, these insurance company adjusters are charming and very smooth operators. I have been privy to their victory stories of how they convinced people to accept a much lower settlement amount and how they saved the insurance company money. They would talk about how the insurance company would pay them more if they convinced the insured to accept much less. It was an unwritten, unspoken rule “pay less and you will get more.” They would never say “I saved them $10,000.00 so they paid me an extra $1,000.00. Instead they would say something like, “I saved the insurance company $10,000.00 and surprise they added $1,000.00 more to my check.” Of course this brought lots of praise from the owners of the independent adjustment firms. After all the owners would get a percentage of the kickback from the insurance company.
Keep in mind that AAA Public Adjusters is here to help you cut through the red tape. We are the squeaky wheel that gets the oil. They are no longer in control once one of our public adjusters gets involved with your claim.
Remember, the insurance adjuster works for your insurance company and he is by no means your friend. He is not trying to help you, no matter what he says, he is attempting to save the insurance company money period! He will minimize the damage or loss. If you are in need of a Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware or Maryland public adjuster, call AAA Public Adjusters at 1-800-410-5054.