It’s likely the last thing you thought of when you woke up today was the need for a public adjuster.
But things didn’t go so well this morning. The Weather Channel said it would be a wet one. You grab your umbrella and dash between the raindrops, hoping not to ruin your new suit, and then you can’t find a parking space. That adds an extra block between you and the office, and the last thing you want is to navigate the morning soaking wet. Finally, you arrive at the building just as the sky opens and Pennsylvania dumps more than wet shoes at your feet.
Don’t panic, you’ve got insurance. You’re covered.
But are you?
History tells us that Johnstown, Pennsylvania, just 60 miles from Pittsburgh, was flooded in 1889 and more than 2,200 lives were lost. The damage was catastrophic, and that doesn’t include the homes that were destroyed.
If ever there were a place that needs insurance, it’s Pennsylvania. Because of its proximity to the Atlantic, it’s the dealer’s choice as to where a natural disaster will strike.
If you rely on your insurance company to restore your home or office to prior conditions, then you are not alone. Many count on their insurance company to do the right thing. It’s called acting in good faith.
But what if they don’t? Who’s going to advocate for you if the need arises? Your neighbor?
This brings us to the role of an advocate.
An advocate is a person who acts on behalf of another person’s interests.
A public adjuster is an advocate who understands the documents of the provider (your insurance company) and is not the least bit intimidated by doubletalk. The advocate guides you through the process until your needs are met. That’s the role of a public adjuster.
As a professional who knows the language, your public adjuster helps you make sense of it all. Just how does your adjuster advocate for you?
As a Translator
Contracts are written in legal terminology. It is up to your Public adjuster to interpret this terminology for you in a clear manner so you know exactly what your benefits are.
Think of it like reading (or not reading) Braille. If you can’t see the words, then how are you supposed to know what they are? If they are in Braille but you don’t read Braille, then how are you supposed to understand them?
As an Investigator
Do you ever watch “Perry Mason”? In every show, Paul Drake, Private Eye, is given his marching orders. He goes out and visits the premises, interviews witnesses, and reports back to Perry.
Ok, so maybe your public adjuster isn’t as dreamy as Paul Drake, but he or she does the same thing. One question leads to another, which leads to another, until finally there is the story, with the details. What caused the damage, the extent of the damage, and what will it take – not only to fix it but restore it.
Your life will be interrupted – there’s no way around it. But how long it stays that way has much to do with how much the insurance company will fork out so you can get your life back.
As an Evaluator
Because your public adjuster has the experience and expertise, he or she can conduct relevant research, assess various kinds of damage, and evaluate what is realistic. They will gather information, analyze the degree of the damage, compare estimates, and submit reports to the insurance company and contractors.
Since the public adjuster is working for you and not the insurance company, the outcome often looks better to you than when the insurance company is driving. You might think of your public adjuster as someone who puts him or herself in your driver’s seat.
If you have to spin your wheels getting estimates on physical property as well as time frames for completion, it’ll be slow going. This is one way your public adjuster can advocate for you. You need this work done promptly, because when someone drags their feet further damages can occur to your property.
Of course, you will reimburse your adjuster in fees, but it may be a fraction of what it costs you in time off from work to secure the details of the restoration. It is to the public adjuster’s benefit as well as yours to get it done.
As a Negotiator
Submitting a claim is one thing, but negotiating one is a whole different game. So you know what your property and items are worth because you kept an inventory and have secured estimates of fair market value.
You get on the phone with the insurance company and they suggest that your damages can be fixed with a coat of paint, or your handyman son-in-law can fix it because he did the same thing last year for the members of your church. Doesn’t instill much confidence, does it?
What happens if you are not satisfied with the settlement offered by the insurance company? Once again, this is where your public adjuster comes in, because it is part of his or her job to challenge the decisions when needed. It’s all part of the homework.
So you’ve got a public adjuster, and you know who is advocating on your behalf. Did you include yourself in that? In a perfect world, you can hire someone to take care of every aspect of your claim. But in reality, you will have to advocate for yourself too.
While your adjuster is collecting and compiling information, you will be speaking up. You have a voice. If you don’t like something, say so. This is the time to be your own best friend. Make sure you get a copy of every written report submitted to your insurance company and be an active participant in your recovery. And when you look for a trusted public adjuster, call, email, or look for us online. We’re ready to advocate for you.