A Public Insurance Adjuster is a licensed and bonded insurance professional who assists policyholders with the complicated insurance claim process when they suffer an insured loss. Public Insurance Adjusters who belong to the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and is able to take advantage of the best quality, public adjuster specific, continuing education in the country. Additionally, FAPIA members have a network of resources available to best assist policyholders in the handling of insurance claims.
There are three types of adjusters licensed by the State of Florida:
Insurance Company Adjuster - is employed by an insurance company to represent the insurance company in dealing with your insurance claim. The insurance company adjusters main responsibility if to protect the interests of the insurance company.
Independent Adjuster - is hired by insurance companies to represent them in dealing with you, your loss and damages. The independent adjusters main responsibility is to protect the interests of the insurance company.
Public Adjuster - is the only Adjuster specifically licensed by the State of Florida to represent you, the Insured. The Public Adjusters main responsibility is to protect you and your interests in claims against a loss with the Insurance Company.
If you have just suffered an insured loss resulting from a pipe burst, a fire, hurricane or some other traumatic event, it's probably not the best time to take a crash course on how to properly present an insurance claim. You may be dealing with a multitude of other matters, such as finding housing or an alternate business location, dealing with the emotional trauma of a loss or simply going about your daily responsibilities, like work and family. God forbid you should also be dealing with injuries or the unthinkable in connection with the event. Consider these three points.
It is up to you to prove the extent of your loss to the Insurance Company...
A typical insurance policy is dozens of pages long and contains numerous provisions and stipulations – written in technical and legal terms. Additionally, it contains various forms and endorsements which are constantly changing from year to year and which add or exclude coverage from your policy. Most people have difficulty understanding what can appear to be a lot of legal mumbo jumbo. For example, did you know that in order for the insurance company to compensate you for your loss, there are certain conditions which YOU must satisfy? Did you know that your failure to satisfy these policy requirements could reduce your settlement amount or even cause your claim to be denied? Don't feel bad. Most people don't know these things. A qualified and trained public insurance adjuster whom you trust can help make sure you meet all of the policy conditions, document your loss and get your claim paid.
No matter how organized you and your documentation is, filing and receiving payment on a claim is a time consuming and tedious process.
If you are not sufficiently organized and your loss documented, you may not realize the compensation you have paid premiums for and are entitled to
A licensed, bonded and qualified Public Adjuster has the experience, knowledge and expertise to obtain your maximum entitlements under your policy.
Remember that the insurance company adjuster is representing the insurance company. It is not uncommon for the insurance company to misinterpret their own insurance policy or forget to apply case law or Florida Statutes which supersede their own policy. A public insurance adjuster will know current laws as they affect insurance losses and how to best represent you. A public insurance adjuster has resources to help you through the maze of estimating, documenting, and filing your insurance claims.
A Public Adjuster who belongs to the State Association of Public Insurance Adjusters adheres to a strict Code of Ethics and is able to take advantage of the best quality continuing education training in the country. Additionally, FAPIA members have a network of resources to best assist you in handling your insurance claim.
Yes you can. Be prepared to document all aspects of your loss, try to understand the insurance policy you purchased and follow through with the agent and the company. However, if your loss is significant (more than $10,000) you should consider hiring your own insurance professional, public Insurance adjuster to make sure you are properly represented. Remember, the insurance company has their own insurance professional expert representing them. Shouldn't you have professional representation too?
Author, Jay Feinman who wrote the book "Delay, Deny, Defend - Why insurance companies don't pay claims and what you can do about it", explains:
"Insurance works when the insurance company honors a simple promise: When a policyholder files a claim, the company will pay what it owes, no more but no less, and will do so promptly and fairly. Insurance doesn't work when the company breaks it's promise in order to increase its profits. Insurance doesn't work when companies delay, deny, defend. When they delay payment of claims to wear down claimants and to increase their investment income, flat-out deny some valid claims in whole or in part, and defend against valid claims in litigation to back up the delays and denials, they break their basic promise".
Compound the above assertion with the fact that many people have difficulty understanding the technical language of an insurance policy and the complicated procedures they must follow to comply with the policy’s terms. This problem is magnified when you have suffered a loss and are emotional about the situation. That is a perfect time to have an experienced professional on your side whose sole responsibility in the matter is to serve you, the insured. The insurance company certainly has an experienced professionals working for them.
Public Adjusters charge a percentage of the settlement for their service to you. The Public Adjuster is not paid until you are paid. There are no upfront fees for their services. Percentages vary from adjuster to adjuster, so it is best to shop for the best adjuster for you. The maximum percentage that a public adjuster in Florida can charge for a claim is 20% of the claim paid after you sign the contract with them. In the event of a declared emergency by the Governor's office, that fee is reduced to 10% for any claim made in the first year after the date of loss. After the first year, the maximum amount that can be charged reverts back to 20%.
Your FAPIA Public Adjuster is tested, licensed, bonded and authorizes to practice the profession. By attending bi-annual conferences, FAPIA members continue their professional education to keep up with the ever-changing insurance industry. They subscribed to constant emails bringing them up-to-date on a monthly and weekly basis. Their network of contacts means the best support staff and contacts will be working for you.
No they are not. Their services are available only to the insured public, not the insurance company.
License & Appointment – Make sure their license and appointment are up-to-date with the State of Florida and make sure they are really a licensed Public Adjuster. Some people are misrepresented themselves as Public Adjusters.
Experience – Public Adjusters come from a wide range of backgrounds – Ask about experience and training and it's always a good idea to ask for references. Make sure the person who you are considering has the right mix for you.
Professionalism – Do not sign blank contracts. A professional public insurance adjuster will explain the fee structure up-front so you understand why and what you’re are paying for.
Comfort Level – This intangible may be quite important if your claim is complex or extensive. This person will be helping you through a very traumatic time and resolving the claim could take some time…find someone who fits your needs. Make sure they show you their FAPIA ID Card - A public insurance adjuster who is a member of their state association of public insurance adjusters takes their profession seriously and subscribes to a strict code of ethics. FAPIA public adjuster members care about advocating for policyholders in Florida.
"THIS IS A SOLICITATION FOR BUSINESS. IF YOU HAVE HAD A CLAIM FOR AN INSURED PROPERTY LOSS OR DAMAGE AND YOU ARE SATISFIED WITH THE PAYMENT BY YOUR INSURER, YOU MAY DISREGARD THIS ADVERTISEMENT."