What is a Public Adjuster?

One of the more frustrating experiences that one can work through is that of dealing with a homeowners insurance claim.

The ironic part about this of course is the endless array of commercials that one sees from the various insurance companies touting their wares through creative marketing, celebrity appearances, and a whole lotta superfluous exaggeration as to how well taken care of their clients are.

In what I can only assume is the marketing departments of these said companies unintentionally promoting product benefits that, other than a cost savings which may be realized in choosing one company over another, simply do not exist.

This plays itself out in real world scenarios on a daily basis, particularly in the home improvement industry.

When someone experiences a loss that is covered by their homeowners insurance policy, whether it be due to a broken pipe, a tree falling on the house, etc., many times it is assumed that their insurance company will simply “take care of them”.

Even for those folks that realize there may be some initial ‘hoop jumping’ when filing a claim, there is still often the assumptive approach that the insured has nothing to worry about.

Unfortunately, this utopic mindset seldom truly plays itself out in reality.

The majority of homeowners really do not have experience filing a homeowners insurance claim.

For many, taking the insurance company’s word and following its verbatim guidance could very well leave the insured in a quite compromised position.

In fact, in almost 30 years of working directly with insurance companies, I can say with absolute certainty that the truth of these types of situations is that as the public adjuster assigned by the insurance company works through the claim, 50% of the time they are reasonable to deal and work with.

The other 50%, the public adjuster is out of their mind (please excuse the crass descriptor).

Literally, it is black & white.

50% of the time a reasonable situation (all things considered) & 50% of the time a situation in which the homeowner could really get raked over the coals for the simple reason of just not knowing any better.

Enter the Public Adjuster (the ‘PA’).

A Public Adjuster is an Adjuster that does not work for an individual insurance company and which works entirely on their own.

While they may at times be hired by the insurance companies themselves to adjust claims, many IAs work strictly with insureds as an advocate for them to make sure that anything the insured is entitled to under their homeowners policy, is properly compensated for by their homeowners insurance company.

Many PAs are former Public Adjusters that have been employed in the past by an insurance company, hence the reason why they are often so much better at what they do than the potentially junior adjuster which the insurance company happens to assign to any given case.

It is important that the IA has a copy of your policy (it is wise to keep a physical copy of it in a safe place, as well as an electronic version) as they will utilize the policy to aid in making a case for the amount the insurance company should ultimately be paying out on the claim.

IAs usually get paid 10% of whatever the total value of the claim is.

Considering how far off insurance companies’ initial analyses can often be, this is very much worth it.

If you are in a pinch and are able to connect with a really good IA, after reviewing your particular case, they will be honest with you and let you know whether they will be able to help you out or not.

Although involving an IA can potentially drag a case out much longer than if the insurance company properly ponied up the money related to the claim right from the very beginning, in those instances where I evaluate a situation and recommend an IA become involved, I believe that the wait will be well worth it.

Having to deal with some type of insurance loss at your home can be painful enough, having to deal with an insurance company that is intentionally or unintentionally not working in the best interest of their insureds is additional excruciation that no homeowner should have to experience.

Fortunately, aligning yourself with a professionally competent IA can be as relieving as having Batman arrive on scene when any downtrodden damsel finds themself in distress.

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