Are you relying entirely on your insurance company's adjuster to represent your interest? In some cases, it makes more sense to consult with an Insurance Claim Advocate who will file/present a claim that puts your needs ahead of the insurance company's needs.
Insurance Claim Advocates represent the interest of businesses and individuals that have suffered fire or other catastrophic loss (e.g. from hurricanes & tornadoes). States typically require that Insurance Claim Advocates maintain a current license. This is something you can confirm with your state's insurance regulatory agency.
Insurance Claim Advocates typically charge a fee based on a percentage of the gross amount paid by the insurer. This fee is negotiable and varies depending on the size and complexity of the loss. Statutory limitations (e.g. a fee of no more than 10% of the gross amount paid by the insurer) may also apply. This too can be researched through your state's insurance regulatory agency.
The term Insurance Adjuster can be very confusing. An Insurance Claim Advocate can also be referred to as a Public Adjuster. This should not be confused with an Independent Adjuster, a Staff Adjuster or a Field Adjuster since all of these individuals work on behalf of insurers. "Private Adjuster" and "Personal Adjuster" are incorrect terms that are sometimes used to describe an Insurance Claim Advocate.
Effectiveness of Insurance Claim Advocates
It is not uncommon for insurance company representatives to take the position that retaining an Insurance Claim Advocate is unnecessary and will have little bearing on the ultimate insurance settlement. Insurance Claim Advocates, on the other hand, take a very different view and maintain that settlement is strongly influenced by their involvement.
While we cannot know how often Insurance Claim Advocates are involved in insurance settlements, it is clear that such representation, particularly in the case of larger, more complex losses, is fairly common place. In the states of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont alone there are 559 individual licenses for Insurance Claim Advocates/Public Adjusters.
Under certain circumstances a qualified Insurance Claim Advocate's representation can be very valuable, but that's not always the case. Do your homework!
When to Consider an Insurance Claim Advocate
As a rule, when you have a large complex claim with heavily damaged structure(s) and a substantial amount of business/personal property with extensive physical damage the need for an Insurance Claim Advocate is likely to be greater.
If you've made the decision to use an Advocate it certainly makes sense to have him/her involved as early in the process as possible. It wouldn't typically seem to make sense, for example, to meet with the IRS before involving your accountant.
Fire damage victims'
If you are a victim of a fire, please do not hesitate to contact us today!
The Fire Damage Victims' Support Association is committed to providing impartial information from a variety of perspectives that we hope will assist in the decision making of businesses and individuals struggling to cope in the aftermath of a fire.