Appraisals are necessary when you cannot reach an agreement with your Insurance provider; with or without a Public Adjuster. The appraisal provision in the policy simply states, that if you are at a disagreement about the 'amount of loss', then you can invoke the appraisal process. You have to pay your own appraiser (varies based on the claim size and complexity), and the insurance company must do the same. There is also an 'umpire' involved, potentially. If the two appraisers cannot agree, then the umpire is the 3rd party that makes the final call. His/her fee is paid 1/2 by the insured and 1/2 by the insurance company.
We have several appraisers that can be hired objectively, from contractors to other adjusters. When public adjusting or your own negotiation tactics do not work, then you must begin this process. While there is some up front costs associated with paying your appraiser, and half of the umpire fee, we have yet to see a situation where the insured does not benefit from this process. The insurance company is biased to their points of view and this process takes most of the decision making away from the insurance company. The appraisal 'award' signed by any two of the three parties involved is typically a binding decision and that's what you get paid.
We provide damage and loss assessment services which are often utilized by clients that need another opinion on what the insurance company has offered or to assess whether they should file a claim at all. We also provide professional estimating services to properly assess and estimate the various types of property damage, business and economic losses, and personal property damages. This service includes estimating losses to buildings and structures, personal property, additional living expenses, loss of use, loss of income, business interruption, casualty & liable losses and more.
We offer professional claims management solutions for business owners, property management companies, commercial property owners, homeowner associations and out of town property owners that need onsite day to day management of claims and claim related issues.
We can provide professional negotiation services for the mediation process. Some states, like Florida and several others, have a state run mediation process for those with a disputed insurance claim. We can represent you in preparing for and in the mediation to assist you in resolving your claim. Often, prior to a trial, a court judge will demand a mediation to take place to attempt to settle the loss without burdening the courtroom resources.
We provide litigation support services such as claim file preparation, site inspections, claim evaluation and estimation, and expert testimony to assist you in the legal process. If you or your attorney have question regarding your claim, please contact us.
Some claims have technical issues that require an objective expert to inspect the property for repair-ability. Insurance companies use engineers all the time to determine damage, which means that you may have to do the same if there is a disagreement. While there may be some financial expense in hiring an engineer, this will normally prove to be fruitful if the damage is truly there. Engineers disagree all the time, which shows the true grey-area and subjectivity in viewing a loss. What complicates things—the engineer is typically not present at the exact time of the loss, only AFTER the loss. While some view the damage as 'wear and tear' (typically a policy condition that absolves the carrier from responsibility of paying the claim), others may take the position that the loss was from a COVERED peril, such as wind driven rain, smoke, hail etc. The correct damage determination can result in tens of thousands of dollars extra for your claim value.
If your claim is weather based, you may need to hire a weather expert to tell us what happened on the date of loss. We have qualified network partners that can, on your behalf, check over a dozen different weather reports, that will verify what happened to your home on the date of loss. While this may seem expensive, it could provide necessary evidence in winning your case. We have witnessed that insurance carriers may train their adjusters to trivialize the event and thus trivializing the damages, resulting in a low claim payout. In many cases the insurance carrier or their engineers will not have an accurate depiction of the wind speed or size of the hail that damaged your property. For example, 3/8" hail does much less damage than 1 1/2" hail. If we provide evidence (proof of loss) with your claim, that 1 1/2" hail hit your home, your claim will present a clear picture to the carrier resulting in a better settlement.
Damage like moisture behind walls can't be seen without tearing the whole wall apart. Thermal imaging is the perfect solution for finding damage that is not visible to the naked eye. Thermographers are qualified professionals using very expensive equipment that can reveal damage behind walls. Water will find it's way into places that is often not visible and thermography can help you qualify for higher payouts on your property damage insurance claim.
A plaintiff attorney can help when you have conflicting information, an unreasonably delayed claim payout, a breach of policy contract, or a bad faith case against an insurance company. We know many around the country who also work on a contingency basis i.e.; They don't perform, they don't get paid. This would be the worst case scenario if the claim is presented properly and not paid properly. While public adjusters cannot make this decision for you, if an impasse is reached, then you may have no choice. Please contact us for more information and a referral to an attorney who may be right for your particular claim situation.
Links and Resources
- Colorado Division or Regulatory Agencies (DORA)
- National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA)
- Property Insurance Coverage Law Blog
- Condominium Insurance Coverage Law Blog
- Genesis Weather Solutions
- United Policyholders.org
- Bad Faith Insurance .org
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)