Who Is Handling Your Claim?

Written by: Admin, | 15th April 2014 | Comment(s)

A house fire, flood, or any property damage can be an overwhelming experience and, with the exceptions of catastrophes, happen far and in between. The claims process can be confusing, frustrating, and annoying for policyholders- especially when they don’t understand who or why they are working with certain companies or individuals. Every claim is unique and requires different services and providers based upon the type of damage, assessment, and policy type. For policyholders, there is no wrong way to choose your adjuster or companies. We encourage that you research and make a decision based on your individual needs.

Here is a brief description of the types of adjusters and other companies that can be involved in a property claim. As a temporary housing company, CRS encourages the policyholder to reach out to their adjuster with questions and concerns regarding their claim.

Adjusters

Company Adjusters

  • Work directly for insurance companies on their behalf
  • Responsible for performing a good faith claims investigation, preparing an estimate using software and writing a report
  • Generally considered to be licensed in their state by their insurance company as long as their employer provides training

Independent Adjusters

  • Independent contractors who work for insurance companies, usually through third party companies known as independent adjusting firms
  • Utilized on a claim by claim or contract basis
  • Own their own equipment such as laptops and digital cameras
  • Pay their own travel and lodging expenses
  • Responsible for getting their own insurance adjuster licenses

Public Adjusters

  • Hired by some policyholders to work on their behalf in an effort to reach a fair settlement with their insurance company
  • Licensed by the state
  • Responsible for writing an estimate, communicating with the policyholder, and negotiating the best possible settlement with the policyholder’s insurance carrier
  • Paid on a percentage based on the settlement they get for the policyholder
  • Normally provide their own equipment, like a laptop and a digital camera

*When using a public adjuster make sure they are licensed. Unlicensed public adjusters also serve as contractors and promise to handle the entirety of the claim. They will promise to estimate the damage, handle repairs, and the settlement with the carrier. Unlicensed public adjusters “double-dip” in the insurance proceeds, claiming both a commission on the insurance proceeds and a fee for the work delivered, but there is no guarantee the work will be completed. 

“Unlicensed public adjusters undergo no training, examination, certification, or review by state regulatory authorities. They have no fiduciary duty to the policyholder, and are bound by no professional regulations” Wolf, Jason “Erasing the Abuse of Unlicensed Public Adjusters” Claims Journal Winter 2014: 34. Print

Companies Involved in the Claims Process

Board Up Services

Secure homes against additional damage. For example, window boarding, roof covering and temporary fencing all protect homes from vandalism.

Specialty Cleaning Services

Restore all types of clothing fabrics, shoes, belts, purses and drapes from smoke odors and water damage. Some big names in the industry are: CRDN, Evans Garment Restoration and FRSTeam.

Reconstruction Services: Residential and Commercial

Companies like Servpro, Puroclean, BMS and American Technologies handle fire restoration, mold remediation and disaster clean-up. They also remodel and renovate after any kind of damage.        

Crime Scene/Biohazard Clean Up

A term applied to specific situations involving blood and other potentially infectious materials. Such incidents may include: self-harm, suicides and homicides.

Environmental Services

Companies like Envirocheck test for asbestos, lead, mold and other environmental hazards.

Forensic/ Engineering

This represents companies like Scientific Expert Analysis (S.E.A.) who perform forensic engineering and fire investigation which includes failure analysis, research, investigation and testing.

Electronics Services

Companies that handle data recovery and repair of computers, microwaves, ovens, televisions, fitness equipment, home security systems and appliances.

Temporary Housing

Housing is provided in the form hotels or temporary rental properties when the insured dwelling is uninhabitable.