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Public adjusters must be able to identify without any difficulty the claims that may be insubstantial or disputable, and make their clients understand the problem they may be up against. It is also very important that the clients understand what common words and phrases such as extent of physical damage, and collapse and partial collapse mean when used for legal or insurance purposes. Regulations on the use of these terms are in a constant state of flux so it is imperative for public adjusters to have a good understanding of the law that includes the separation of legal responsibilities between policyholders and insurance firms.
A public adjuster supports the policyholder in the appraisal and negotiations for the insurance claim. Other than an attorney and a broker of record, public adjusters are the only claims adjusters allowed by the state to represent a client legally in an insurance claim process. The services of a public adjuster will be most beneficial to the policyholder when it is certain that the insurer will pay the claim once the loss is properly identified and valued. Usually, public adjusters charge a certain percentage of the settlement amount. A higher percentage is usually applied for smaller losses or those not exceeding $250,000.
The main duties of a public adjuster include: Evaluating the current insurance policies to determine which one may apply to a particular claim. Research, substantiate, and detail the damages incurred on structures, contents, and whatever additional expenses may have been incurred. Evaluating the monetary losses of the business due to the interruptions and any other expenses the business may claim. Determining the settlement amount that will cover for the damages. Negotiating with the insurance firm for the settlement on the client’s behalf. Reopen a settled claim and negotiate for additional payment if a mistake is discovered after the previous settlement.