When Hurricane Wilma damaged an apartment complex in Lauderdale Lakes in 2005, the insurer initially paid $200,000. But after engaging a public adjuster to review the actual losses and handle the claims process, the insurer eventually paid out $4.285 million.
In Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Naples and throughout Florida, the story is the same: hiring a licensed public adjuster results in a substantially larger claim payment. In fact, a 2009 survey by the State of Florida found that there was a 747 percent increase when an adjuster was hired at the start of the claims process.
Why is there such a large difference? The answer is simple: a public adjuster represents business owners, condominium associations and homeowners – not the insurer. It’s like hiring a tax lawyer or accountant who can advise you on the best course of action and act as your professional advocate, rather than asking the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to do you a favor and audit your return!
Most owners are as unfamiliar with the intricacies of a typical insurance policy as they are with the Internal Revenue Code. It’s important to understand that a public adjuster can help you at a time when you are most vulnerable – in the hours and days after a loss to your business or property. And since public adjusters are compensated on a contingency basis, there is no upfront cost for their services.
Once you engage a public adjuster, you can expect to receive expert advice about what you are entitled to under Florida law and your policy. The public adjuster can also help you with the business planning process by advising on the likely size of a settlement and when that money is likely to arrive. A public adjuster can also bring in a contractor, engineer or other building professional to help determine the accurate damage to your property ensuring a fair compensation.
Ultimately, a public adjuster’s goal is to achieve a final settlement that is accurate and fair. It may take several months to accomplish that goal, but compared with the insurer’s initial offer, the end result is likely to be substantially higher.
Daniel Odess, President of East Coast Public Adjusters, Inc. will be on site at the Fort Lauderdale Home Design & Remodeling Show to further explain how a public adjuster can help make sense of your insurance policy before you need it. The event will take place on Saturday, December 4, 2010 at 1:00pm at the Broward County Convention Center located at 1950 Eisenhower Boulevard Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316. For more information, please contact Vine Communications, Inc. at (305) 447-8678 or visit http://www.eastcoastadjusters.com.