The unauthorized practice of public adjusting (“UPPA”) is alive and well. From those contractors and roofers who straight up tell the policyholder they don’t need the help of a public adjuster to those husband/wife teams where one is the public adjuster and the other is a contractor (who are they kidding). There is a reason these practices are unethical and in some states against the law — it protects the policyholder from someone with an obvious conflict of interest and who is not qualified to give a thorough opinion. UPPA is a vehicle for fraud and takes advantage of the insured when they are most vulnerable. Far worse is when the perpetrator leaves the property owner in worse condition than before the damages occurred, particularly when these insureds are the elderly and/or non-English speaking.
Some public adjusters who began their careers on the insurance side know firsthand about the love insurance companies have for UPPA, and how they even encourage it. Lots of insurance adjusters are instructed by their company to make sure the policyholder’s contractor is present for the inspection. This is because they KNOW that the contractor is not allowed to participate in the negotiation. Why would that make any sense? Well, the insurance companies want the contractor to be present for the inspection and meeting with the insured so that they can then tell the property owner “sure, take that and we can get it done for that.” If the policyholder feels confident they can get the work performed for the amount the insurance company is offering, then good deal, right? No, not good deal. What about other damages that have occurred that the contractor isn’t worried about and neither is the insurance adjuster? Your public adjuster would make sure that ALL damages sustained and covered by the policy are addressed.
There is a reason that one must be licensed to handle public adjusting. These claim professionals are regulated and require proper training and certification to be licensed to negotiate a claim on behalf of the policyholder. They have no affiliation with an insurance company whatsoever and therefore work independently solely for the insured, alleviating the conflict of interest when one tries to negotiate on behalf of both sides, which quite frankly cannot happen. You must pick a side and advocate for that side. In other words, if you are wearing an Allstate shirt then you are advocating for Allstate. A public adjuster is licensed and bonded and requires adequate training and certification. They are your exclusive representative and, with their experience and knowledge, they are more likely to obtain a favorable settlement of your claim.
With so many out there preaching that you don’t need a public adjuster or that a public adjuster may not be your best choice, it leaves one to wonder why do I need a public adjuster after all? The insurance company is like any other business. They are going to attempt to get out as cheaply as they can. The public adjuster is there for you to make sure that the insurance company pays what is owed on the claim based on the coverage you have paid for.
You pay a premium for this coverage and it only makes sense that you be compensated accordingly. It makes sense to consult with or hire a public adjuster to make sure the claim is handled properly. Only a public adjuster or attorney are legally licensed to represent you in the negotiation of your claim with the insurance company.