I Love Public Insurance Adjusters

I know that’s a somewhat controversial statement, but hang in there with me. Public Insurance Adjusters, PAs for short, perform a valuable service to insured and contractors alike when insurance carriers fall short in honoring the obligations to their insureds. Sure, like everyone else working in the storm restorations space, some PAs are better than others. But a good PA can do what contractors cannot, namely advocate for the insured against the carrier.

What does a Public Adjuster do?

PAs can do what contractors cannot do. PAs can read the insurance policy and argue for coverage. PAs can argue for payment of O&P, pointing out to the carrier that the insured has paid premium for O&P and that the carrier has no legal right to withhold payment of O&P based on myths such as the complexity or 3 trade rule.

Can't Contractors do the same thing?

A really good PA, even a mediocre PA, can argue repair protocols, manufacturer recommendations, source of damage, new v old damage, etc. Contractors can do this too, but contractors who get bogged down in technical arguments are losing time, which is a potential roof not being sold. Better to suggest the insured consider bringing on another professional to help move the claim along.

Appraisal is a good choice for scope or price differences, including recovery of O&P.  If the claim has been denied outright or the carrier is being especially hard-headed maybe referral to an attorney is appropriate.  But in many cases, a PA is the right choice to recommend to your insured.

What are the Downsides to using a Public Adjuster?

Downside? The big one is that the PA’s fee comes “off the top” of the claim. If the carrier pays $50,000, the PA gets 10%, leaving the owner to pay the difference. For business owners, the PA fee is generally tax deductible so not a financial hardship. For a residential client the fee is more problematic. But I liken it to paying a real estate fee when selling a house. A good real estate agent pays for their fee by obtaining a higher sales price.

Ho does a Contractor find a GOOD PA?

How does a contractor find a good PA he or she can feel good about referring? First, the PA must be willing to honor the contractor’s relationship with the insured. Check the PA’s references to ensure the PA won’t be sending your file to another contractor once the claim is finalized.  Not all claims and damage types should be handled the same, so ensure the PA will has the technical expertise to properly evaluate the claim at issue. Also consider the old adage “if your only tool is a hammer, all problems will look like a nail.” Find a PA who is tough and willing to fight, but also well-versed in the art of persuasion and negotiation, and professional in his or her demeanor, regardless of circumstance.

PAs and contractors need to work together for the benefit of the insured.  Find one or two or three you like and refer those insured who you believe would benefit from their services. The insured will thank you and so will your pocketbook.

Karen Ensley 

Ensley Benitez Law, PC 

8140 Walnut Hill Lane, Ste. 835 

Dallas, Texas 75231 

817-538-6894 

karen@eblawtexas.com 

© Karen Ensley and Brian Benitez, Ensley Benitez Law, PC, 2023. All rights reserved. This article is provided for educational reasons exclusively and is not meant to be construed as legal advice. Ensley Benitez Law, PC, will represent you only after being retained and that agreement is made in writing. 

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