What Is A Public Adjuster?
Define a Public Adjuster:
A Public Adjuster is the only individual that can represent you in a property claim, other than an Attorney. A public adjuster will typically charge significantly less than an attorney. The difference is that a public adjuster will write all estimates, and prepare the claim documents. An attorney will not write estimates or complete total loss inventories or loss site inspections. Even if you hire an attorney, you will still have to hire someone to prepare your estimates and claim documents. Michigan Department of Insurance defines a Public Adjuster in part: “Public insurance adjusters charge fees to help negotiate claim settlements with insurance companies. The public insurance adjuster fee is normally a percentage of the claim settlement and therefore is paid out of settlement monies received from an insurer.”
Generally speaking, a Public Claim Adjuster in Michigan cannot charge more than 10% of the claim settlement. This comes with a “no risk” guarantee: If you don’t get paid, we don’t get paid. For a Public Claim Adjuster in Ohio, the rate is entirely at the discretion of the Public Adjuster. Typical rates are between 10% – 15%.
Although there are some states that do not require licensing, most Public Adjusters are licensed by the State in which they work. All Licensed Public sit for a national exam and must pass before licensure is granted. In Ohio, and other states, a Public Adjuster is required to be bonded prior to licensing. In both Michigan and Ohio, a public adjuster must use a State approved Public Adjuster Contract and background checks are performed to address and ensure ethics.
Involvement in Appraisal:
If a policy holder is unhappy with the settlement offered by the insurance company, most policies offer the policy holder the Right to Appraisal. If appraisal is invoked in Michigan, your public adjuster can serve as your Appraiser. This saves the policyholder money and facilitates the Appraisal Process. In Ohio, your Public Adjuster cannot serve as your appraiser, so the costs of appraisal would be additional to your costs for a Public Adjuster. However, if you need to hire an independent Appraiser in Ohio, the cost of appraisal may be less after the involvement of the Public Adjuster if the research, documentation, market pricing, etc. are provided to the Appraiser by your Public Adjuster. Although the appraiser will still be required to perform due diligence, the Appraiser will have a “head start” and this often reduces the amount of hours spent and effectively billed by the Appraiser. Involvement with Attorneys: Many Attorneys find value in the involvement of a Public
Adjuster in a claim because the Public Adjuster will typically provide all of the damage documentation needed. This is similar to what is found when a Public Adjuster is retained prior to the appraisal process. In many situations the expense(s) of an “Expert Witness” are reduced or completely eliminated and the amount of time involved in the process is shortened. As a consequence the process is very streamlined and the costs of hiring an Attorney can be reduced.
Although a Public Adjuster cannot force the Insurance Company Adjuster to do anything, an experienced Public Adjuster will use well written estimates and supportive documentation to influence the overall settlement while preserving your relationship with the Insurance Company. This is one of the most common reasons public adjusters are hired.
A Public Adjuster, like any other professional, will only stay in business if that individual is making a profit. Since the profitability of a Public Adjuster is directly tied to their effectiveness in handling claims and increasing claim payments to all clients, any Public Adjuster that has been in business for a length of time must demonstrate a significant level of expertise and effectiveness.
Know Your Rights!
Contact Up Front Settlements for more info : 248-841-5674