RSS Feed

Financial Fitness Blog

The skinny on public insurance adjusters

(Insurance) Permanent link   All Posts

Steve SchofieldFiling a claim for a large insurance loss can cost you a lot of time and energy, so some people decide to hire a public insurance adjuster to help negotiate with their insurance company on their behalf. On its face, working with a public insurance adjuster sounds like it might be a good idea, but buyer beware. If you find yourself in a situation that you feel may be better handled by a third party, there are a few things you should know before hiring a public insurance adjuster.

What is an insurance adjuster?

An insurance adjuster is the person who evaluates losses and settles policyholder claims. Typically, they are either employed solely by the insurance company or they are independent professionals under contract with one or more insurance companies. Public insurance adjusters are hired by and work only for the consumer or homeowner.

An unregulated risk

Wisconsin is one of only a handful of states that does not require public insurance adjusters to be licensed. This creates a host of problems for uninformed consumers.

People tend to hire a public insurance adjuster after they’ve experienced a large or catastrophic homeowners loss. Sometimes public insurance adjusters troll for claims—they call you out of the blue or come wandering through the neighborhood after a damaging storm. The sales pitch often includes a promise to get you a bigger settlement, they’ll settle your claim faster, take care of all the paperwork, and negotiate with the insurance company and contractors on your behalf.

Things to consider before hiring a public insurance adjuster:

 

  • Carefully read and understand the terms and obligations in the contract—sometimes these contracts can be difficult to cancel without penalty or obligation after you’ve signed.
  • Look out for public insurance adjusters who also work as contractors, or insist on using a specific contractor, this can be a conflict of interest.
  • Pay attention to who will receive the payment from the insurance company. Some public insurance adjusters will include a provision in the contract that requires the insurance check to be made out to them.
  • Know your home insurance policy—what’s covered and what’s not—to avoid any surprises down the road.
  • Do your due diligence to make sure you are working with someone who has your best interest in mind.

Call us

If your insurance is through WEA Trust Member Benefits and you experience a major claim, be sure to call us first before hiring a public insurance adjuster. We will help you sort out the details and handle your claim fairly, accurately, and promptly, or we’ll refund up to $250 of your deductible—it’s our claim service guarantee. Call 1-800-279-4010.

Steve Schofield, Personal Insurance Consultant