The Best Secret About Property Insurance Claims That You Need to Know

By Brian Evans, CEO Eastern Public, LLC,

When the little newspaper that could suffered water damage, first from a suddenly leaky sink drain, and then from an abrupt roof failure, they did what millions of New Yorkers have done before them—they turned to their property insurance carrier for help. And just like the millions of others before them, to their surprise, when disaster struck, the insurance carrier was less than helpful.

We are all inundated daily with false messaging by insurance carriers: “We are on your side,” “You’re in good hands,” “Your helpful neighbor.” More recently, we’ve seen the trend switch to convincing policyholders that the value of their insurance is saving money on premiums: “Surprisingly great rates,” “Fifteen minutes can save you 15 percent,” etc. Though we see and hear these messages everywhere, from our phones and radios to billboards and TVs, far too often, policyholders are left with little help in the one area they need it most, getting their claims paid fairly and quickly.

When I was contacted by this newspaper to review their property damage claims, I can’t say I was surprised. The review illustrated avoidable delays, improper denial of claims, and underpayment of those claims that the insurance carrier did accept for coverage. Faced with having to incur tens of thousands of additional dollars for repairs beyond the insurance proceeds to restore their property, this newspaper did what far too many New Yorkers and consumers across the country do not do; they turned to a little-known industry that serves to help consumers resolve property damage claims without litigation.

A professional public adjuster is a property insurance claims expert, bonded and licensed by the state to serve strictly to protect the rights of homeowners and businesses by helping them prepare and resolve their claims when disasters strike. Unlike an “independent” adjuster (a misnomer) or “company” adjuster, a public adjuster represents only you, the insured, and never the insurance carrier. Unlike their alleged counterparts, public adjusters are often highly trained and experienced claims experts who are required to maintain yearly education standards; and, unlike the other types of adjusters, public adjusters only get paid when you get paid.

Ideally, a reputable public adjuster should be your first call following any significant property damage. The experienced public adjuster will provide valuable resources to respond to any emergency to help mitigate the damage, will review your insurance policy to understand its strengths and weaknesses, and will help manage every step of the recovery process in a knowledgeable and thoughtful manner. Perhaps most importantly, a public adjuster will have the experience needed to deal with the insurance carrier’s efforts to delay, deny, and underpay claims when they become necessary.

When disaster strikes, don’t fall prey to the insurance carrier’s endless attempts to convince you that you are “in good hands.” Call a professional public adjuster, get your claim assessed, and avoid the nightmare that so many other sophisticated consumers have not. Or, go it yourself and know that when the time is right, there are professionals out there to help you who won’t require a courtroom. 

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