If your home or business premises have suffered losses as a result of roof leaks, toilet overflow, vandalism, burglary, power surges, riots, and civil commotion or due to forces of nature such as rain, windstorm, lighting, and hurricane, don’t worry. It’s not the end of the world. Your insurance company has got you covered.
I remember telling a colleague of mine about the importance of insuring their property and this is what he said, “This must be the biggest joke I have heard this year. Deal with an insurance company? No way! How in the world will they compensate me if their main concern is making profits? The insurance business is a scam looking forward to leaching our hard earned money.”
Although I did not agree with him on the part where he views insurance firms as leaches, I cannot entirely dismiss his concerns. It is true that insurance companies, like any business, are out there to make profits. At the same time, they have a reputation to protect. What this means is that insurance companies have no option but to deal with their clients in the fairest way possible. Failure to live up to their name or failure to keep their promises leads to loss of clients which means their businesses will shut down their operations.
Why Do I Need A Public Adjuster?
Insured clients are always compensated for their losses. Unfortunately, most of them are never satisfied with what they are offered. Most clients feel that the amount they have been offered is not fair. To some extent, this sentiment makes sense. Insurance companies will compensate you while protecting their interests. They will offer you a lower amount in hopes that you will not come to their doors complaining. Some people express their dissatisfaction, others don’t. It is for this reason that you need a public adjuster.
Think of public adjusters as referees during matches. The same way the referees ensure one team does not benefit from foul play is the same way public adjusters come through when you suffer losses. They make sure that your insurance company fairly compensates you. They ensure that you get every coin entitled to you. Public adjusters are professionals who have mastered the art of negotiation. They know the details of every policy; even the ones you might have overlooked.
No matter how good you think you are at negotiating, public adjusters always negotiate your claims better than you can ever do. Insurance firms have their adjusters-staff adjusters; their duty is to protect the interests of the insurance firm. You also need a public adjuster to look out for your interests. Hiring a public adjuster is better because you bring to the table an experienced professional who is not only trained and educated, but he or she is also licensed by a public authority to practice his or trade. Negotiating is something that they “eat and breath” on a daily basis.
Public adjusters are your best advocates because they are skilled at helping their clients contend with their property losses. They understand the claims process and their goals are to protect your interests. Did you know that you don’t have to pay a public adjuster unless you are compensated? Public adjusters get a 5-10% commission of the money compensated to you by the insurance company. They always broker for big settlements which translates to a bigger paychecks to them. In other words, a public adjuster negotiates as if he or she is the one who has suffered personal losses.
Other than maximizing your claim, public adjusters go a long way to help you avoid unnecessary delays when it comes to recovering your insurance claim settlement. You can seek the services of a public adjuster whenever you want. Whether it’s before or after the payment of your claim. However, our advice is that you should always hire a public adjuster before contacting your insurance company. That way, a public adjuster gets the opportunity to make estimates while the staff adjuster does the same. Below are some of the reasons why public adjusters do a better job at negotiating than you can ever do.
When doing damage analysis, public adjusters are keener than the insurance company or the homeowner. They identify every covered claim to ensure you get rightful compensation. They are reliable because policyholders don’t pay them unless they receive their claims reimbursement.
Experience has taught public adjusters to accurately value the loss incurred by policyholders based on craftsmanship, quality of materials, condition, and inflation. Some policyholders are clueless of the things covered by their policy. Public adjusters add dozens of items that policyholders may overlook when compiling their claim.
Insurance companies’ staff adjusters make use of specialized software to determine your claim. Public adjusters make use of the same software to countercheck every detail to make sure insurance firms don’t take advantage of policyholders and reimburse them with a less amount than they are entitled to.
Public Adjusters Pay Attention to Details.
Unlike a homeowner who may suffer losses once in their lifetime, public adjusters make a living from what they do. They are so used to their job that they hardly leave out any details. They are experts in knowing what you deserve because not every policyholder reads every detail specified in their insurance policy. Public adjusters can handle features like loss-of-use receipts, content spreadsheets, and building estimates. In doing so, they leave you with ample time to concentrate on the rebuilding process.
Public adjusters have the knowledge and tools that help tip the scales in your favor. Keep in mind that staff adjuster-adjusters working for insurance companies- will always want to reduce policyholders’ claims. Experienced public adjusters keep this from happening.
Other than public adjusters representing you during negotiations with insurance companies, you can represent yourself and get your desired outcome. All it takes is confidence and endurance throughout the negotiation process. If you master some of the skills that will be discussed below, you will be able to resolve and close your case in a fast and effective manner.
Strategic negotiators know and value the importance of beginning the negotiating process as early as possible. To influence your desired outcome, your primary responsibility during the claim handling process is to get it over with as swift as you can. You must put on the full armor of determination to instill the spirit of negotiating in you. Laying out a strategy and sticking to it is the only way you won’t give in to the stress and pressure that come with negotiating with staff adjusters. So, what is the golden strategy that ensures your success during negotiations? Let’s discuss them below.
11 Tips for Successful Negotiations with Insurance Firms.
1) Prepare for Settlement Negotiations.
The quest for fair settlements without solid plans is a fool’s errand. When it comes to negotiating, you must be prepared for the entire process. Know the nitty-gritty of your claim to avoid setbacks at the negotiating table. Learn about all the steps of negotiating settlements. Gather all the information and evidence relating to the damage of your property. Early preparations help you stay calm and collected during the entire settlement negotiation process.
2) Practice the Art of Patience.
Patience is a fundamental virtue. If you are an avid wildlife enthusiast, you might have noticed how carnivores lay still while patiently waiting to go after their prey. The same case applies when negotiating with insurance companies. If you are patient enough, you will get a fair settlement. If you rush the process and accept their offer without thinking through the details of the claim, your loss; you will get a joke of a paycheck for a settlement. Never jump for the initial settlement option.
3) Be Persistent.
Successful negotiators stick to their guns. They never give in to staff adjuster’s pressure. Staff adjusters will try to convince you that the amount you are claiming is too high. Well, their offer is also too low. A basic rule of thumb is to always ask for more than the amount you want. This way, when the insurance firm’s adjuster quote their suggested amount, you have the upper hand to negotiate more so that you can successfully approach a middle ground. Remember, you aim to look for the best or highest-value settlement.
4) Gather All Your Evidence.
To get the best settlement from insurance companies, you have to prove your case. It is essential to have a detailed list of:
a) Every equipment you need during the rebuilding process.
b) Policy for damaged properties.
c) Bills and reports of destroyed items.
Homeowners should keep in mind that the above list is what determines the value of their settlement. Present the figures you are content with to the insurance firm accompanied by supporting documents.
5) Write a Demand Letter.
Ever heard of ‘a dull pencil is better than a sharper mind?’ Writing down facts and circumstances that led to your losses is crucial during the negotiation process. It not only makes things clearer, but it also looks professional. Set out a strong case by attaching your list of evidence.
6) Request Explanations.
As mentioned earlier, staff adjusters will always offer a low settlement. They do this to see if you are willing to take the offer. If you do, it’s a win for them since they are saving the insurance companies’ money. Request for explanations of their offer. State why you believe the amount of your settlement should be larger. Make sure you have done some background research on multiple repair estimates to have an accurate or specific number in mind.
7) Have Specific Settlement Amount in Mind.
A good negotiator always has a specific settlement amount in mind. If you go to the negotiating table without knowing what you are after, you might end up accepting the insurance company’s first offer, which is usually way less than you expected. Consider how much you will part away with during the repair process to come to a specific amount. Failure to do so may have you use your money for the repairs.
8) Don’t Accept Settlements Below Your Bottom Line.
By now you are aware of the importance of approaching an insurance firm with a specific amount in mind. The said amount should always be higher or on the upper side. However, according to your calculations and research, you have an idea of the minimum amount you should expect from the insurance company. No matter how convincing staff adjusters may be, never go below your bottom line. If you do so, you will end up in a situation where you have to foot the bill for repair expenses.
9) Never Take the First Offer.
In as much as you may want to highball your offer, the insurance company’s strategy is to do the opposite. Insurance firms are in the habit of baiting policyholders with a lower payout than they deserve, naïve clients take the bait. However, as an enlightened policyholder, you should never fall into their trap. Use the oldest or the best negotiation trick and refuse their initial offer. Always keep in mind that insurance firms can still raise their settlement price.
10) Don’t Take Unexplainable Offers.
At this point, you are fully aware that the staff adjuster works in the interest of the insurance firm. He or she will try to convince you to take low or unexplainable offers. If the offers do not make sense to you. Ask them to explain it. Ask them to put themselves in your shoes and if the amount they are offering you can cater for repair costs. Challenging staff adjusters is the first step to negotiating high-value settlements.
11) Document the Negotiating Process.
This is the last and probably the most crucial step during negotiation. Negotiating with insurance firms needs proper documentation of the process. After agreeing on a suitable settlement, it is vital to put everything in writing. Verbal agreements may be null and void. Formal written contracts protect policyholders in case insurance firms change their mind about the offer. Written contracts act as evidence during lawsuits in case of disagreements between policyholders and the insurance firm.