Victor’s Insider Scoop on What You Can Do If Your Property Insurance Company Won’t Pay or Low-Balls Your Claim
December 3rd, 2013 | top of page
If you own a multi-family property you’ve got it insured, right? And if you’ve owned your apartment for a while, or have several properties, the odds are pretty good you’ve already had or will soon have a large insurance claim.
Your insurance agent probably sold you a policy to cover you against weather-related incidents like hurricanes, tornados, rainstorms, hail, for damage due to fire, smoke and water, and liability issues like slip and fall. In short, you’re pretty confident your policy has you covered.
But what happens if you make a claim and your insurance company either denies your claim or, more likely, tries to pay an amount that does not fully cover the damage you’ve sustained? (and I’m not talking about your deductible here). Insurance companies will often try to deny coverage or, more commonly, low-ball estimates to try to pay out as little as possible in claims. After all, they’re in business to make money and paying less in claims is the easiest way for them to do so. Although this is understandable, I think you’ll agree it’s not acceptable.
Enter the Professional Claims Managers also sometimes referred to as a public adjuster. They work with policy holders who are in the process of filing a large claim with their insurance company. Claims Managers stand on the side of the policy holder to make sure the insurance company is paying them everything they deserve based on the policy they were sold.
When you hire Claims Manager they take over the entire claim process on your behalf and handle everything. They’ll
1. Fully document the loss and prepare a Scope of Repair or estimate of the total damages, including inventorying and appraising the contents.
2. Determine all loss of use coverage such as loss of business income, loss of rental income, and additional living expenses.
3. Handle all communication and correspondence with the insurance carrier.
4. Negotiate with the insurance company to make sure the claim is paid fairly, and they may even litigate if necessary. (However this is a rare occurrence)
There are lots of public adjusters out there so what qualifications should you look for before hiring one?
First, look for an adjuster who’s both a Property Claims Law Specialist (PCLS) and Associates in Claims (AIC) certified. You want someone who’s thorough and tough when dealing with insurance companies and has a reputation in the industry as someone who cannot be pushed around.
Secondly, the adjuster should have a staff of policy experts, licensed adjusters, content specialists, construction engineers, and forensic accountants who’ll work together to ensure that every detail is uncovered.
Thirdly, you want an experienced adjuster who’s handled thousands of claims worth hundreds of millions of dollars who’s savvy of the tricks to be aware of, and knows how to prepare your case in advance to be ready for anything the insurance carrier may throw at them.
One adjuster I’m aware of averages over a 340% increase in claim settlements. This is over and above what the insurance carriers were initially trying to settle for. This experienced adjuster can offer you:
1. Higher claim settlements
2. A faster payout (they typically settle claims in less than half the time you would working alone)
3. Less headaches (they handle everything, so you can focus on what you do best)
4. Peace of mind (knowing you have an experienced expert on your side)
They’re paid a small percentage of the claim proceeds, and their fee is on a contingency basis. They make more when their clients receive more, so it’s in their best interest to work as hard as possible on your claim. They always bring in more for their clients than their fee, in fact, they guarantee they’ll cover their fee with a higher settlement or they’ll work for free.
Sounds like a no-brainer, right? You get someone to take all that work off your plate, and you’re guaranteed to receive more money in the end. So why doesn’t everyone use a third party adjuster? Unless they’ve filed a large claim before many people may not even know Claims Managers exist. If they did, it’d be an easy decision for them.
To solve this problem, they offer a free, no obligation comprehensive claim analysis and will provide you with advice on your best course of action. Whether or not you decide to hire them, you’ll leave the meeting with a better understanding of the claims process and your duties and options moving forward.
And here’s some additional food for thought. If you’re thinking about acquiring a new multi-family complex, why not have a Claims Manager take a look at the property during your due diligence period? They may find a damage claim that the current owner does not even know exists so that claim can be filed under the existing owner’s policy vs. your policy after you own the property.
If you’d like to speak to a Claims Manager contact Matthew Kolling of Skipton & Associates at 602 318.0328 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit www.skiptoninc.com.
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PS – If you are ready to begin to thrive again by getting off the sidelines and putting your money to work give me a call at 602-320-6200. I see lots of deals and may have just what you are looking for.