Achieving a proper resolution and proper payout for an insurance claim such as a commercial claim, homeowners claim or a condominium claim is very difficult without the services of an expert team like United States Adjusters. There are a list of specific tasks that will need to be performed to see that the loss is resolved in a manner that allows the policyholder to public insurance adjuster rebuild or put themselves back to pre-loss condition and be indemnified. There is no simple claims form for an insured to fill out or a simple list of tasks that will resolve claims. There are different variables depending on the type of loss, the type of structure involved, the type of insurance policy, the loss location, not to mention additional professionals and experts may need to be called in to be sure the insured has the best most effective conclusion.
Filing an insurance claim after a disaster is a stressful process and to avoid having to deal with the hassle of having the claim be underpaid or delayed many commercial business owners and homeowners seek the help of a licensed public insurance adjuster. A public adjuster or insurance claims adjuster is an insurance claims specialist who advocates for behalf of the insured, they assess the damage and how much it will cost to put the homeowner or business owner back to pre-loss condition, by negotiating with the insurance company until the claim is settled. Public adjusters represent the only the interests of policyholder and help ensure they get the money they are entitled to under the policy. They are different from adjusters hired by the insurance companies because their compensation comes out of the settlement, meaning the more money they get you the more money they get paid.
As defined by the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters, a public adjuster is: “Public adjusters are professionals who are employed exclusively by a policyholder who has sustained an insured loss. They handle every detail of the claim, working closely with the insured to provide the most equitable and prompt settlement possible. A public adjuster inspects the loss site immediately, analyzes the damages, assembles claim support data, reviews the insured’s coverage, determines current replacement costs and exclusively serves the client, not the insurance company” United States Adjusters are long time members of National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA).
Most insurance policies contain a certain provision which stipulates that either the insured or the insurance company has the right to demand insurance appraisal if that party disagrees as to the amount of the insured loss. The appraisal process is offered to both parties to the insurance contract or policy as a less expensive and more expedient alternative to going to court in order to reach agreement on the damage amount.
Appraisal has many similarities to binding arbitration but the two processes are not identical. The appraisal panel is made up of three participants: the insured, the insurance company, and the insurance appraisers. Both the insured and the insurance company select insurance appraisers to represent them in the process, then they both select a neutral umpire which has to be agreed upon by both parties to serve as the final decision-maker should the two appraisers have differences that they cannot resolve.
Mediation is another form of alternative dispute resolution that may be utilized instead of taking a matter to the judicial system or Appraisal for settlement. Mediation is a non-binding and confidential forum wherein participants can work to improve their understanding of each other’s position and, with the assistance of a neutral mediator, attempt to work out an equitable settlement.
The mediator does not impose any decision on the parties in disagreement, but rather helps the parties to reach an agreement which is mutually acceptable. United States Adjusters have partaken in mediation a great number of times. Depending on the type of claim and variables involved, mediation may be an option for you. Between mediation and appraisal, mediation is less likely to reach a successful conclusion.
Over the years, United States Adjusters have been on the ground working to assess the value of property owners’ losses following many of the worst natural and man-made disasters this country has seen, from Hurricane Sandy to Hurricane Katrina. United States Adjusters have been called upon to value the destruction of large commercial structures to residential homes, personal property and industrial structures.
Our extensive experience in large commercial losses, including condominium and homeowner association insurance claims, gives us a great advantage than most when it comes to evaluation of damage. Our network of experts and specialists are on standby to assist with the specific circumstances that surround the claim so that documentation and substantiation proceeds quickly.
Defined by the Windstorm Insurance Network, an umpire is a competent, disinterested, impartial individual who is charged with making a decision regarding the value of property or the amount of a property loss. In the property insurance industry an umpire is an appointed professional in an insurance claim dispute who makes a binding decision after the two parties in an appraisal process fail to agree on a loss.
In short, an umpire should be a well-trained dispute resolution expert who may have experience in understanding insurance adjusting and all its facets. The option to appoint an umpire is done in the appraisal process, which can be found in most property insurance policies, although a few insurance companies have actually removed the appraisal clause. This is a process that can help both sides avoid the cost of litigation while reaching a mutually beneficial resolution.
We believe the services of an umpire should be utilized in many appraisals. While umpires may not be used to the fullest extent, an umpire should be appointed at the beginning of the appraisal process so they are available and ready to go in the event the two appraisers cannot agree on the items in dispute.
Representatives of United States Adjusters are frequently sought after to testify on matters pertaining to property insurance claims. Our experts are available to work with the litigation team on the determination of the financial value of the loss including damage to commercial and residential properties, personal property, machinery and industrial equipment, loss of business income, and extra expense.
Complex negotiations and litigation over property insurance claims often requires policy expertise and interpretation that we are well versed in and can provide.