A public adjuster is an insurance claims adjuster who represents & fights for the rights of the policy holder of a building insurance policy, appraising the value of the loss and negotiating the settlement in a first-party claim.* An adjuster handles all aspects of communicating with the insurance provider, so you do not have to and advises you of what to do and when.
Public adjusters work on a contingency basis, meaning if you do not get paid, they do not get paid and they work for a percentage of the settlement. If the adjuster is fair, as the dollar amount of the claim goes up the percentage normally goes down.
If the public adjuster gets the claim BEFORE the policy holder speaks to their insurance agent, insurance broker or insurance company, this is the time the policy holder will pay the smallest percentage to hire the adjuster. After a client starts the claim and the claim stalls or gets denied and you bring in an adjuster now, you will likely pay more.
Why will I pay more after I start the claim? Doesn’t that make it easier for the adjuster, since I did the starter work? No, it is not easier for the adjuster and in fact, it is likely going to be more difficult for the adjuster to get you a good settlement. The reason for this is simple – the insurance industry is one of those business’s that has its own langauge. Since most insurance companies exist to make a profit, when they pay a claim, they have less money to pay themselves and their stock holders. When talking with the insurance company, if you use the wrong words they will deny the claim as soon as you use the word they are looking for to NOT cover your loss.
Why would an insurance company want to pay a claim? Well, the truth is, most do not want to pay anything. But, they know most people are not going to accept nothing for the claim so they sometimes offer a settlement knowing full well it is nowhere near enough money to properly repair or replace the loss in hopes the policy holder accepts the offered amount and does not pursue more money.
There are three types of insurance adjusters:
Staff adjuster: This is an employee of the insurance company and they represent the interests of their insurance company, not yours!
Independent adjuster: This person is an independent contractor who also works for the insurance company and again, represents the insurance companies interests, not yours!
Public adjuster: This person is hired by you, normally costs you nothing out of your pocket and represents YOUR interests.
*A first-party claimant is the person whose name is on the building insurance policy and whose property is affected by a covered loss.