Public Adjusters and Attorneys are an integral part of protecting Florida homeowners. Public Insurance Adjusters and Property Damage Lawyers will often work together to help maximize the client’s insurance claim recovery. Both the Public Adjuster and the Attorney have separate but crucial roles to play in the insurance claim process.
A recent study found that public adjusters significantly increased the amount of money a policyholder received from their claim. This report found a 747% increase in insurance payouts from Citizens Property Insurance when a public adjuster was involved. The average storm claim without a public adjuster resulted in a payment of $2,029 versus a $17,187 payment when a public adjuster was involved. Not limiting the findings to just storm claims, data from 2004 found a 19% increase in claim payments for daily losses as well.
HOW CAN AN ATTORNEY HELP A PUBLIC ADJUSTER?
Sometimes, though, public adjusters need help to fully collect the maximum insurance proceeds from insurance companies. Lawyers can help in, at least, two important ways:
- Civil Remedy Notices of Insurer Violation; and
- Filing a lawsuit on behalf of the policyholder.
The first way lawyers can help public adjusters and insureds is by filing Civil Remedy Notices of Insurer Violation (or CRNs). A CRN is a critical tool that should be used more often to maximize the benefits under the insurance policy.
Civil Remedy Notice is the first step in the road to an extra-contractual or “bad faith” suit against an insurance company for not acting in the best interests of its insureds. Most Civil Remedy Notices claim that an insurance company commits “bad faith” when it does not attempt “in good faith to settle claims when, under all the circumstances, it could and should have done so, had it acted fairly and honestly toward its insured and with due regard for her or his interests.”
The second way a lawyer can help a public adjuster- filing a lawsuit – comes as no surprise. Lawsuits are what litigation lawyers do – day in and day out.
LAWYERS THAT WORK WITH PUBLIC ADJUSTERS
This brings us to the critical way in which lawyers can help public adjusters and insureds. Lets take a typical scenario in which an insured has a water loss claim and engages a public adjuster to help navigate the claim for them. As they will often do, the insurance company drags its heels, attempts to pay the claim slowly, and/or doesn’t pay all that is owed.
The lawyer can then assist the public adjuster by filing a Civil Remedy Notice against the insurance company and thereby give the insurance company a chance to fix its bad conduct. Hopefully, the insurance company will then do the right thing and pay the full value of the claim. In this scenario, the insured is made whole quickly, the public adjuster has maximized the claim for his client, and everyone moves on. If the insurance company still refuses to cure its wrongful treatment of the claim, it may then be time to have a lawyer file a lawsuit to enforce the policyholder’s rights.
FILING CIVIL REMEDY NOTICES FOR PUBLIC ADJUSTERS
In many scenarios, our firm will file a Civil Remedy Notice on behalf of a public adjuster’s client at no cost. We provide this service as a professional courtesy to our colleagues in the public adjusting world, as we are all on the same team.
From the public adjuster’s perspective, it’s a no-cost way to increase the pressure on the insurance company to pay what is owed. From our perspective, the failure of the insurance company to pay the claim after receiving a Civil Remedy Notice only makes the claim – and ultimately, the lawsuit – even stronger. It’s a win-win for everyone – except the insurance company!