- On October 12, 2018
After millions of people were evacuated, and thousands of homes and businesses destroyed after Hurricane Michael made landfall in the U.S., insurance claims are pouring in as policyholders try to restore their lives.
To work all the expected claims, insurance companies will rely on hundreds of small catastrophe companies that hire independent contractors to adjust claims. In some cases, these inexperienced adjusters can do more harm than good. Novice errors like not pulling off drywall to inspect for hidden damage or not being familiar with software used for loss estimates, can reduce or delay insurance payments, adding to hardships residents are already facing.
For property owners, an inspection is often the first step in a long paperwork-heavy process and asking how experienced or knowledgeable the insurance adjuster is the last thing on people’s minds. However, it should be a primary concern. Inexperienced and out of town adjusters can cause claims to be severely unrepaid when damages are missed as was seen with Hurricane Sandy claims back in 2012. After thousands of Sandy victims complained about poor adjusting, FEMA reopened 20,000 claims and found more than $390 million in unpaid damage.
Hurricane Irma is another example. One year later, thousands of Floridians are still waiting on money to fix their homes, and thousands more have sued their insurance companies over disputes caused by inexperienced adjusters.
With so many people affected by Hurricane Michael, it’s critical that policyholders are diligent when dealing with their insurance companies to ensure a fair and accurate settlement is made. If you are dealing with an insurance claim after Hurricane Harvey or Irma here are a few tips:
- When you meet with the insurance adjuster, ask if he or she is an employee of your insurer or an independent adjuster hired by the company. Ask independent adjusters if they are authorized to make claim decisions and payments on behalf of your insurance company, as well as for the name of the in-house company adjuster to whom the independent adjuster will forward your information.
- Many insurance companies will recommend a contractor for repairs, but you aren’t obligated to use them — you have a right to hire your own contractor. But beware of fly-by-night operations, and always ask for references.
- If the settlement is too low or your claim has been wrongfully denied, consider hiring a Public Adjuster who will work on your behalf to ensure you receive a fair and honest settlement.
Have questions or are you unsure as to whether you should accept the offer from your insurance company? Contact C3 Group Public Adjusters today for a free claim review.