It’s a truism; insurers are glad to receive your premium payment, but not happy to pay your claim! The changes I have seen in my greater than 40 years of experience are not an illusion. Decidedly, there has been a gradual shift towards more stringent control of claims’ costs and less personal contact between insurers and their customers who experience difficulties in claims.
Technology will not be, contrary to the expectations of many, the panacea. It will not lead to greater contact between claimants and their insurers. The opposite will occur as technology enables insurers to “adjust” claims remotely and reduce empathy with the plight of the claimant. Today, use of drones, satellite and inspection services (even independent adjusters) all combine to ensure the control of claims and decisions on policy remain vested with a nameless in-house claims handler. The person who attends the property to inspect following a catastrophe is not the person who adjusts the claim.
The consequence of this approach to claims handling is a loss of communication between the policyholder and their insurer. When that happens, the claims experience can become both daunting and disappointing. A letter communication from the insurer arrives confirming someone inspected the damage or has reviewed the claim and sets out the adjustment of the loss. The inexperienced insured is left to decipher what damages are being covered, which are not, how much is offered and, what to do with personal or business property, additional living expenses or business income losses. The assistance that most insureds presumed they would receive, does not materialize.
🤷♂️ 🤷♀️ An insured that throws up their hands because they do not know what to do when dealing with a claim will face disappointment. The fact the insured may be disappointed or embittered by the experience may be as perplexing to the insurer as the insured. The insurer’s process depends on rigor, measurement of performance, average loss amounts, cost containment and policy interpretations that dictate their claims handling. Measuring the satisfaction of the claimant or ensuring the claimant fully understands the process is generally not a factor in the drive to control and close claims by the insurer.
Inevitably, some claimants will be satisfied, but increasingly, surveys find that insureds are disappointed following filing an insurance claim. Here are some common reasons cited over-and-over when we speak to claimants:
It has been 3 months since someone came to see our property, but we have heard nothing;
We received a letter telling us our claim is below deductible, but our contractor says the damages are severe;
Our property continues to suffer more damage each day, but we are told we should not do any work until we agree on damages and costs;
We don’t have the money to do repairs, move our family, or pay our other bills. When will they pay anything;
Our agent has called the insurer but cannot get answers;
The person who inspected our property won’t answer calls or answer any communications, but what they told us is not what is shown on the insurance estimate;
We have sent everything they asked for several times, but they say it is not enough.
The comments above indicate frustrations that are commonplace. Good faith in claims handling practices is assumed by policyholders from their insurers and such aggravations can be disappointing and costly. Not everyone handles their own plumbing issues and there is no reason to assume everyone should be capable of handling their own insurance claim. There is also no reason to assume that in a transaction that can be as costly as an insurance claim to an insurer, that the insurer’s goal is to ensure the claimant’s expectations are met. Here are some things you might do to avoid a disappointing claims experience:
Be skeptical. That is not to say that you must be completely circumspect or anticipate the worst. But if you are skeptical, you will be apt to be less disappointed when everything does not work out as you may have envisioned.
Ask questions. Most people are novices in insurance and claims. It is neither offensive or bothersome to ask those employed by the insurer to assist you, to fully explain your policy and the claims process. You are entitled to be informed as you paid premiums for that privilege.
Get things in writing. Don’t rely simply on verbal communications that can be misconstrued, misunderstood or denied. Always ask for documents, policies and communications in writing in case you need the record.
Be prepared. Before you agree to an adjustment, even before an inspection, if possible, make your own list of the damages or engage a contractor to assist you.
Don’t abrogate responsibility. The damaged property is your investment so don’t allow others to dictate what happens or assume control. There is less likelihood you will be disappointed if you remain in control. The insurer does not own the claim, you do!
Engage experts. At the first sign of disagreement, do not get frustrated. Instead, recognize that disagreements are not uncommon and it within your rights to engage a Public Adjuster or Attorney to assist you. Hiring someone does not suggest failure; it does not suggest you are adversarial. It is a perfectly reasonable thing to do when protecting your rights and ensuring you receive the benefits to which you are entitled.
At Global Claim Advisors and Case Strategies Group, we understand the frustrations and disappointments felt by insureds who encounter a poor claims experience. Oftentimes, despite the best intentions of parties involved, lack of communication, failure to express or meet expectations and lack of understanding lead to intransigence and a complete breakdown of the process. We strive to restore balance and achieve positive outcomes.
While you may have purchased replacement cost coverage, an insurer is not obligated to provide payment of an agreed replacement cost up front. Settlement will first be paid as actual cash value (“ACV”) at time of loss. ACV is usually defined as replacement cost less depreciation to equate to value at time of loss. It may also be determined as market value for personal property, for instance. However, when expecting the adjustment payment on damage to your property, don’t expect full replacement cost to be paid immediately. The insurer will first pay only the ACV less any applicable deductible.
Time Limits for Replacement Cost
Most property insurance policies contain provisions that limit the time for you to exercise replacement. Policies invariably provide that the insurer will first pay ACV and then, if replacement is completed within 180 days from date of loss (sometimes date of payment of ACV), you are entitled to make claim for the withheld depreciation amount. Be careful to comply with time limits or ask for extensions that are usually granted. And, make sure if costs are greater than the estimated RCV, you advise your insurer or they may resist payment to full replacement cost where it was greater than agreed.
Great controversy exists where building materials are no longer available and replacement cost coverage is provided. Insurers may take the position that the payment owed is only for areas that are directly damaged. Consequently, you may find yourself with different colors of roofing materials on adjacent areas of the roof. Or, you may find the insurer authorizing replacement of one area of siding and painting that area but not all sides to match. You may suffer damages to flooring that is continuous throughout the home and have the insurer take the position that replacement cost does not include replacement of other adjacent areas simply to match finish. Florida, and a number of other states, have dealt with such controversy by adopting legal precedent or changing laws to ensure that matching issues are resolved in favor of the insured. Generally, circumstances where the property involved would suffer loss of value or appearance because of matching issues, insurers are forced to comply with reasonable matching requirements. “Line-of-sight” adjustments are common compromises wherein flooring that is continuous and within line-of-sight will be replaced to match even if undamaged.
Repair vs. Replacement
Insurers are not liable under a policy to replace damaged property if repair will restore the property to pre-loss condition. So, if you suffer damages to a roof but the damages are not enough to warrant total replacement, it may be permissible for the insurer to limit claim to the repair costs. Loss to a kitchen cabinet, for example, may be adjusted on the basis of repair, even where the cost to repair or replace a damaged cabinet may be greater than comparable replacement of a single cabinet and thus avoid replacement of all cabinets. Insurers have the option under the contract to repair or replace, but once they make that election, they become liable for the full costs. Accordingly, where you may disagree with the insurer on this issue, require them to invoke their right to repair in writing and hold them to it. Many policies are now sold with clauses to specifically allow insurers to exercise repair with their own approved contractor. Ensure that these contractors are held to the same standards as you would require of any contractor under the insurance contract. And, be aware of building codes that may prohibit repair where, for example, in a High Velocity Wind Zone, roof coverings must be replaced if damages exceed 25% of a section or roof area.
Most insureds do not have knowledge that allows them to assess the costs to rebuild their property. Values of insurance are often derived based upon past amount or by formula that are average costs based upon area and finish. Insurers require insureds to carry insurance to percents of replacement cost in order to recover replacement cost payment; usually to 80% or 90% of the estimated replacement cost. If an insured fails to purchase adequate limits, they may find themselves underinsured and an unwitting co-insurer. In effect, the insured will suffer a penalty at time of loss if they are underinsured; not to mention that if a total loss is suffered, the insured will end up paying additional amounts over the policy limits for the full replacement. It is important for insureds to have knowledge of their property’s replacement value. Beware, often agents will advise you are only required to purchase certain amounts of coverage. They are aware that the premium will be less if less coverage is purchased but the insured will suffer the consequence if underinsured.
If you have purchased a homeowners or commercial policy of insurance, you very likely have coverage for replacement cost. Replacement cost insurance provides that if your property is damaged by an insured peril, you will receive a settlement based upon “like kind and quality” for the full replacement value of the lost property, up to policy limits. So, if you lose your home or business in a covered hurricane event, for example, you are entitled to the replacement cost of the loss, not to exceed the policy value.
What is “Like Kind and Quality?
Simply, comparable replacement using available materials. So, if your flooring is discontinued, adjustment is based upon materials that are equivalent in value and quality. Flooring, siding, roofing and many components become discontinued; television and stereo models are evolving constantly. Replacement cost simply means you may get an unexpected upgrade to your television, if damaged. Insurers use the terms “like kind and quality” to limit the replacement to whatever is currently available and comparable.
What is the benefit of Replacement Cost?
The obvious benefit is that you get “new-for-old”. If you lose your home in a hurricane, you get new flooring, not previously used; you get a new roof, even if your roof was 10 years old; you get new appliances. There are caveats, of course. If your appliances were obsolete and not working, you are not entitled to new appliances. And, if you do not want to replace the property or items, you lose the benefit of replacement cost, but sometimes, it makes sense not to replace as well. If you have items you no longer need, or too many, you can always elect just to receive the “value at time of loss” instead of replacement cost. The choice is yours.
What do I need to look out for with Replacement Cost?
There are things to be aware of when your policy provides replacement cost coverage. In our next series of blogs, we will discuss some of the more common things you need to be informed about:
Public adjusters play a significant role in our insurance system. If you’re considering hiring a public adjuster to assist you with a claim, you may well be wondering how much the service is likely to cost.
Read on as we examine public insurance adjuster fees.
If you hire a public insurance adjuster, they will take over many aspects of the claims process. They will see to much of the required documentation, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
Insurance companies provide such an adjuster free of charge. However, because of the obvious benefits of having an adjuster with no connection to the insurance company, many claimants choose to hire a third party adjuster.
Should I Hire a Public Insurance Adjuster?
If you’re making a claim that is complicated or is likely to be contested by the insurance company, a public insurance adjuster might be a wise investment.
insurance companies will do anything they can to deny your claim, or limit its value. Their business model depends on paying out as little in claim money as they can.
Therefore, it is often useful to have someone on your side who knows how to counteract their various tactics. Public insurance adjusters are trained and experienced in this area.
Many claimants feel that the insurance company adjuster does not act with their best interests at heart. In this case, hiring a public insurance adjuster may be the most effective way to secure a fair settlement.
Public Insurance Adjuster Fees: How Much Is the Service Likely to Cost?
Public adjusters often charge commissions rather than fixed fees. This means that, in many cases, public insurance adjusters make no money if your claim isn’t successful.
It also means that the money they make is dependent on the value of their claim. This incentivizes them to get you as good a deal as they possibly can.
They will charge fees in certain circumstances, however. Flat charges may be levied when a claim process is especially long or requires in-depth work.
Fees may also be applicable where the assistance of a third party is required. This will most commonly be a lawyer. Where there is a criminal element to a claim, or a lot of legalistic work to be done in relation to it, the help of an attorney will be required.
The percentage charged as commission is usually between 10-20%.
Making the Most of Your Claim
The benefits of hiring a public insurance adjuster are clear to see. While public insurance adjuster fees might be off-putting initially, it is important to consider the potential cost of not hiring one if your claim becomes difficult.
If you’re thinking about hiring a public insurance adjuster, contact us today for a free consultation.
With tornadoes, floods, storms, and earthquakes causing more residential property damage in American and Puerto Rico than ever before, getting your insurance claim settled in a timely fashion is more important than ever.
Insurers paid out a whopping $1.3 billion in claims last year, a number set to rise in 2020. If you have experienced damage to your home, the last thing you want is to be kept waiting in the dark about when you can expect what is due.
If you’re wondering how long does an insurance company have the settle a claim, read this guide to find out.
How Long Does An Insurance Company Have to Settle a Claim? It Depends on Where You Are.
The first thing worth noting is that the time it takes for an insurance company to settle a claim varies widely from state-to-state. All states have laws that stipulate that every insurance provider must respond to a claim ‘relatively promptly. However, states such as North Carolina do not give a specific time frame.
Others, such as Florida, California, Texas, Ohio, and Georgia, are more strict. In these places, it is mandated by law that a claim must be responded to within 15 days of it being filed.
After this, the time period ranges from between 10 and 60 days for the company to inform you whether or not they will pay the amount requested and begin the transaction process.
Insurance companies in all states also have a right to extend the deadline if they can provide a good reason to, such as a suspicion that a claim might be fraudulent.
Always check the legislation for the state you are filing the claim from before beginning proceedings.
Factors That Can Affect the Time it Takes to Settle a Claim
There are many factors that can affect the time it takes for an insurance claim to be processed. The complexity of the claim is often the biggest factor. Many insurance claims do not appear clear-cut, meaning that the company will often take extra time to investigate to make sure everything adds up.
This is why it is vital to hire a public adjustment handler who can ensure all of your documentation is in order and that the claims process can be as speedy as possible. In addition, if you disagree with a settlement offer or think it unfair, this will naturally add to the time it takes to settle.
If you think an insurance provider is lowballing you with a compensation offer, you have every right to appeal. Using a proper claims adjuster to help you get the amount you deserve almost always leads to a higher offer in the end, so don’t shy away from confrontation.
In addition, there may be a hold-up on the insurance company’s end. Perhaps there had been a major disaster in your area, leading to a lot of claims that must be handled. This is common and often unavoidable.
In this case, you should be patient, but remember that the insurance company should always be honestly communicating with you about the reason for the delay.
Now that you know the answer to the question “How long does it take for an insurance company to settle a claim?” you can get started. Make sure to get in touch with our expert team of qualified professionals to find out more about how you can get your claim settled as quickly and conveniently as possible.
When something devastating happens to your property, you can rest easy knowing that your insurance has got you covered…as long as you’ve got a good policy.
Getting the value of your things back after substantial damage has occurred doesn’t have to be difficult, but communicating with your claim adjuster can. You need to know which questions matter the most and if you’ve never gone through the process before, why would you?
Fortunately, we’re here to help. In this post, we’re going to tell you the 5 crucial questions you should ask your claim adjuster in order to get things worked out with your insurance company properly.
1. How Long Will This Process Take?
You don’t want to be impatient during this process, because there’s a good chance it’ll take a few weeks or even months to get settled. Just ask your claim adjuster what their professional experience tells them about your situation.
It’s completely understandable to want to get this over with as soon as you possibly can, so you can get your money and move on with your life, but it’s harder than you might think for your adjuster to get it all done quickly.
2. Have I Filled Out the Correct Paperwork?
You’re going to have to fill out a lot of paperwork, which can get a bit overwhelming at times. It’s okay to check-in with your claims adjuster to make sure you’re doing it correctly. Chances are, you’ll need a bit of hand-holding through some of it.
3. Have You Dealt With a Case Like This Before?
When you’re dealing with a new claim adjuster, it never hurts to ask if they’ve ever seen a case like yours in the past. Their answer will tell you how experienced they are and how comfortable they’re going to be in guiding you through the process.
Most claims are fairly cut-and-dry, but you do run into unexpected issues from time to time.
4. How Much Money Can I Expect To Get?
It’s also nice to get an idea of what you’ll be settling for. For instance, if you’re dealing with a wrecked car, it’s good to know how much you’ll be getting back from the insurance company so you can pay the right amount for a new car.
Any experienced claim adjuster should be able to give you a ballpark figure to work off of.
5. Tell Me About My Policy
Insurance can be confusing sometimes, we get that. At Global Claim Advisors, our team of knowledgable advisors will be able to explain every nuance of your policy to you, so you never feel alone in this process.
Every policy is a little bit different, so it takes someone with a lot of experience to understand exactly what’s going on. When disaster strikes, you want to be able to talk to someone that knows how to help you navigate this situation.
Find a Great Claim Adjuster
To discuss your claim and get the important questions answered with a professional claim adjuster, contact us at Global Claim Advisors. We’re available anytime to give you the help you deserve so you can quickly get your claim settled and move on with your life.
Although much of the island of Puerto Rico was spared a direct hit from recent earthquakes, the impact from the 6.6 magnitude, was felt almost everywhere. As a result, the entire Island lost electricity and many are still without. The southern area of the Island has experienced significant damage to their homes and properties. One person lost their life and hundreds are sleeping outside. As everyone is bracing for replica earthquakes, the recovery must begin across the southern part of the Island. Homeowners, business and commercial property owners will be submitting insurance claims to cover damages from the earthquakes. The exact period of damage or technical incidents when it involves a series of storms or earthquakes, can be purposefully made to be confusing and overwhelming by the Insurance companies. Don’t let this cost you or delay your recovery.
Follow these tips for filing an effective earthquake damage insurance claim to help get the insurance settlement you deserve for the damage to your home or business.
First, we understand the trauma associated with devastating storms and earthquakes. If you feel anxious, and need help filing your claim, or if you’re having trouble dealing with the insurance company, the Public Adjusting Team of Global Claim Advisors can help! We have decades of experience negotiating with insurance companies and helping our clients obtain the compensation they deserve for their claims.
Call Global Claim Advisors, Toll Free at 800-316-0841
5 Steps to Take After a Hurricane
Once it is safe to return to your home, you should begin gathering the information necessary to support your insurance claim.
Take Note of Damaged Property
Inventory your home, making note of the personal property that was damaged as well as damages to the home.
Take photos and video of the damage to support your claim. You should have also taken photos of your property during your preparations before the storm. These will be important to show the extent of the damage compared to before the storm.
If you have receipts of high-value items, include copies with your claim to accurately assign a value to the item.
Contact Your Insurance Company as Soon as Possible
File your claim as soon as possible. Insurers typically begin to process claims as they are received – with the massive volume of claims expected after a hurricane, you could be waiting quite a while for your claim to be processed if you wait to submit it.
Contact your insurer and follow its procedures for filing a damage claim. Inform your insurer that you have compiled a list of damages and let them know if you were forced to relocate. An adjuster will be assigned to assess your property for damages to determine the amount of your settlement.
At this time, you should also take a moment to review the details of your insurance policy to ensure you know what is an is not covered. Most flooding damage is not covered by a traditional homeowner’s insurance policies, while damage from wind or fallen trees should be.
It is also important that you review the “Duties After Loss” portion of your policy. If you fail to properly follow these instructions, you may ruin your chances of recovering compensation.
Limit Cleaning and Repairs
While you may want to get to work restoring your property right away, do not make changes until an insurance adjuster has assessed your home.
If temporary repairs are necessary, photograph the area thoroughly before making the repair. Make temporary fixes rather than extensive repairs. You also should not dispose of any damaged materials until cleared to do so by your insurance adjuster.
This is important because if you clean up messes left by hurricane damage and make repairs, the adjuster will not see firsthand the damage caused by the storm – this could lower the insurer’s settlement offer.
Contact area contractors to obtain quotes to repair the damage to your home or property. Following a hurricane, contractors are in high demand – waiting to call can add months to your wait before your home can be repaired.
You should obtain estimates before your insurance adjuster assesses your home to give yourself a better idea of the costs associated with repairs. You will want to know the full cost of repairing your home before accepting any offers from the insurance company.
Keep a record of all communication with your insurer. Record when you made phone calls, what responses you received, as well as all email and mail communication.
Insurers must complete specific tasks within a designated timeframe after receiving a hurricane damage claim – know what their process is and when you should expect answers or further communication and be diligent about following up with the insurance company.
Contact Our Public Adjusters in Puerto Rico and the Florida Panhandle, Right Away
Get the compensation you deserve for earthquake damages to your home. GCA Public Adjusters are highly qualified and experienced to negotiate a fair settlement from your insurer. If necessary, we are prepared to work with an attorney to take your case to trial and to help secure maximized compensation.
After experiencing property damage or loss, you might be left feeling anxious and worried. You’ve lost something of yours and now you’re not sure how you’re going to repair or replace it. After the damage occurs, your insurance company will send an adjuster out to assess the damage.
However, your insurance company’s adjuster is looking out for your insurance company. This is why you need to consider hiring a public insurance adjuster. Once hiring a public insurance adjuster, you’ll have someone out on the scene who works for you and has you in his or her best interest.
Not sure if hiring a public adjuster is the right decision for you? Continue reading below for everything you need to know about the benefits of hiring a public adjuster.
A public adjuster has the experience and expertise needed to understand the claims process. It’s not difficult to misinterpret something on your insurance policy. Without having an adjuster on your side, insurance companies have the upper hand.
Their experience is going to be what gets you the best results possible. They’ll be able to guide you throughout the entire process ensuring that every step you take is the correct one.
2. Time Savings
Not everyone has the option of putting their life on hold to deal with filing a claim, speaking with insurance companies, collecting all proper documentation, and so on. Hiring a public adjuster will save you time.
An adjuster will manage your claim for you and only contact you when you’re needed. And because your public adjuster knows about the claims process, he or she will ensure that the claim is filed and settled as quickly as possible.
3. Maximized Settlement
Not only will a public adjuster make the process go by much faster, but he or she will be able to maximize your settlement as well. One study showed that public adjusters are able to negotiate with insurance companies. This ultimately increases the settlement amount for you.
Without a public adjuster, your insurance company would only pay out what they decide to. An adjuster on your side will be able to negotiate a larger settlement with them, which can only benefit you.
4. Knowledge of Rights
Aside from knowing how to negotiate with your insurance company, a public insurance adjuster will also know your rights. This is a major benefit when dealing with a denied claim. The adjuster acts as a witness to the scene and damages and can also guide you along the way if more aggressive action is required to get the settlement you deserve.
Do You Need a Public Insurance Adjuster?
After reading through this guide, we hope you now know how important it is to hire a public insurance adjuster.
Have you experienced property loss or damages? If so, be sure to contact us today to see how we can help you!
When you’re in an accident or have property damaged by a fire or other natural disaster, it can seem like an eternity for your insurance claim to complete. You’ve been through a trauma and your car or home can be severely damaged. The insurance claims process can be swift, but many people don’t understand how it works.
Once you make that initial call, the gears begin turning to process your claim. It may feel like forever, but your agent is diligently working to get everything concluded as fast as they can. There are times when the process is easy and other times when it takes longer.
Learn how the insurance claims process works and be prepared.
The Claims Process Begins by Contacting Your Insurance Provider
When the accident happens, contact police and ambulance services, if there are any injuries. Once you know everyone is safe, contact your insurance provider. They’ll have instructions for you to follow.
They’ll want you to take pictures of the damage of both cars and get a copy of the police report when ready. It’s the same for property damage or personal property damage like artwork. Take plenty of pictures.
You may not need all the pictures, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you make any repairs to the vehicle to get it working and don’t take pictures, then you may be denied or underpaid without pictures.
The Insurance Adjuster Gets Involved
The insurance provider contacts an insurance adjuster to conduct an investigation into the incident. The goal of the adjuster’s investigation is to understand if your policy covers the damage and how much of the cost is will cover.
The insurance adjuster visits the damaged home or views the damaged car to see how much damage occurred and why. When the investigation is completed, the adjuster goes over what is covered and any deductibles, etc. that you may have.
Adjuster Gets Accurate Damage Analysis
The adjuster needs to know how much the damage will cost to repair. The adjuster may bring in experts such as carpenters, mechanics, etc., to provide a proper estimate of the damage.
Once he understands the costs for the damage, he’ll provide you with a list of contractors preferred by the insurance company. This is a courtesy and you don’t have to use those contractors, but they’ve already been vetted by the insurance company.
Payment is Arranged
The adjuster monitors the progress of repairs on the home, car, etc., and once complete will contact you to arrange payment. Your claim is settled, and payment occurs a short time later. The complexity of the situation determines the payment time.
The entire process can be short, or it could be longer depending on the complexity of the investigation and the severity of the damage.
Insurance Claims are Common
Insurance companies get many claims and they want them concluded as soon as possible. Don’t be frustrated by the claims process because it’s there to protect both you and the insurance company.
If you want to learn more about claims adjusters and the insurance claim process, then please explore our site.