Unsung Heroes- Public Insurance Adjusters
Who’s your first call when you have a burst pipe or fire? A pipe burst in one of your second floor units and the ceiling of the unit below has collapsed covering everything including your residents’ tooth brush in wet dirty insulation and sheet rock. They text you some cell phone pictures and your stomach drops. Who is your first call?
I’m currently working through my 5th major insurance claim, this one was a fire in a townhouse style apartment. Significant damage in apartments happens more than you think. This situation reminded me how opaque and confusing the insurance claim process is. And how few people understand and appreciate the critical role of the Public Insurance Adjuster.
I can honestly say that there is not a role in real estate operations that I appreciate more than the public adjuster. I love these people, and they are valuable to homeowners as well as commercial real estate investors. Anyone with property insurance, and a claim that may cost over $3000 to fix should be on the phone with one as soon as their property is damaged. Call them before you call your insurance company and have them call your insurance company for you, it’s great.
Now I realize that you don’t know what I’m talking about. You’re thinking; my insurance company has adjusters that works for me, why would I want some government appointed “public adjuster” person involved. And I get it. It’s a terrible name and they are poorly marketed because the insurance companies don’t like them, and they tend to be small individual operators that don’t have the marketing power of AllState.
A public insurance adjuster is someone you hire to help you with your insurance claim. They truly work for you and are incentivized to get you the most money for your insurance settlement. They are paid a percentage of the final settlement, usually 7-12%, so their incentives are clear and completely aligned with yours.
Think of it like this: If you were to sue someone in civil court for money they owed you, would you use their lawyer, or would you hire someone to represent your interests? That’s what a public adjuster is, an insurance adjuster that is representing your interests. The insurance industry hates these people and makes it very difficult to even learn that they exist. They want you to think that they are representing your interests, which is just not true. They are representing their corporate and shareholder interests and want to give your as little as they can get away with.
My very first insurance claim as a property owner was a burst pipe in a 4 family unit in East Boston. I can vividly remember standing in the boiler room with hot water pouring out of the ceiling from two floors above with the basement resident standing next to me, asking me what I was going to do. Since I didn’t know, I called my insurance company, and began estimating the damage myself. Not a good idea. I sent them what I thought the damage was, $12,000. They very quickly agreed and wanted to send me a check. In the meantime, my father told me about Public Adjusters. I hired one, he negotiated with the insurance company, and I got a check for $27,000, of which I owed $2,700 to the Public Adjuster.
When I get a call about a burst pipe, or major property damage event, the first person I call is my Public Insurance Adjuster.