Recognizing Low-Ball Insurance Claim Estimates


I recently read an article that included a shocking admission from an independent adjuster who adjusts property damage claims for insurance companies after hurricanes and other catastrophic events.

The adjuster outlined what Public Adjusters have always been aware of, however most policyholders are unaware of the practices that are employed in order to satisfy the companies they work for and to cash in on the high volume of claims assigned to them.

Distorting the Claims Payment Process

To accomplish this, the adjuster’s use what they refer to as churn and burn – consisting of fast inspections and writing estimates as quickly as possible while keeping them below a certain threshold in order to obtain more assignments.

This often requires omitting certain coverages that the homeowner is entitled to keep the cost of repairs to a minimum and is a disaster for policyholders who end up with disputed and denied claims.

Some of the practices employed in this process include adjusting up to a dozen claims per day; writing estimates so they fall below deductible; repairing roofs when a replacement is justified, not replacing doors or windows as needed; painting water damaged ceilings instead of replacing them and keeping drywall replacement to a bare minimum.

If you ever filed a property damage claim with your insurance carrier, you may have had this type of experience.

Tell-tale signs include: the adjuster barely speaking with the insured; adjuster not entering the house to inspect for interior or contents damage; adjuster only at the property for 15-minutes; the insured receiving a minimal payment which often falls below the deductible.

A Disaster for Policyholders

The downside for such practices is significant as a very-high percentage of policyholders accept the first settlement offer. Others will consult with a Public Adjuster or Attorney to help them fight for a fair settlement.

Ironically, when the carriers lobby the Legislature to increase premiums to offset their lost profit’s they blame public adjusters and attorneys for excessive litigation and out of control settlement costs. The comparison looks bad if the regulators are not aware that the initial claims were manipulated and significantly underpaid.

If you filed a property insurance claim within the last three years and feel this may have happened to you, contact Claims Aid Consultants at 1-888-24GET PAID for a Free Claim Review.

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