Secrets of a Public Adjuster: What Really Happens After A Major Disaster?

Secrets of a Public Adjuster: What Really Happens After A Major Disaster?

Insurance companies are under tremendous pressure to respond to a claim as soon as possible. However, they have reduced the number of their property adjusters in recent years, and when a major calamity occurs such as  Hurricane Florence, they have to bring in adjusters from out-of-state to write an estimate for the cost of the repairs.

The technical term for these adjusters is “Cat Adjusters,” which is short for “Catastrophe Adjusters.” These Cat Adjusters wait for a widespread disaster to hit, such as hurricanes. They then work very hard for a few months and then move on to the next disaster, wherever it may be.

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How Can A Public Adjuster Get You A Better Settlement?

How Can A Public Adjuster Get You A Better Settlement?

You have just suffered an emotionally upsetting loss to your home or business. You now face the task of preparing and submitting a complicated claim to your insurance company—a task required by your policy. For most, the preparation of a property damage insurance claim is unfamiliar and rough terrain: depreciation, exclusions, replacement cost, actual cash value...At times, the list seems endless, but it is your responsibility to prepare and prove your claim to the insurance company. 

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Underinsured & Out of Time

Underinsured & Out of Time

West Valley Shopping Center on River Street in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, was home to Alexander Academy, a thriving cosmetology and barber school.

On the night of March 4, 2015, a four-alarm fire destroyed the entire shopping center, resulting in a total loss for not only the school’s owner, Phyllis Gertsios, but her mother, who owned the plaza. Gertsios quickly discovered that her insurance policy would only cover a small percentage of the school’s contents, which totaled more than $300,000.

But that’s not all.

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The Hurricane Has Hit. Now What Do You Do?

The Hurricane Has Hit. Now What Do You Do?

By now, we are all well aware of the unprecedented damage that has been caused by Hurricane Harvey in the Houston, Texas area. And, now there is news of another impending disaster. Hurricane Irma is heading for the U.S., and is a very large Category 5 storm with the potential to wipe whole cities off the map. 

With this in mind, I would like to provide some guidance with respect to dealing with damages caused by a disaster of this magnitude. Here is a list of some of the things you should do, along with some advice on how to deal with losses to your property and contents.

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7 Steps You Should Take To Avoid Water Damage Claims

7 Steps You Should Take To Avoid Water Damage Claims

So often we’re brought into insurance claims that could have been avoided if the property owner knew what to look for before the damage occurred. As a licensed Public Adjuster, I see this all the time. In addition to being a Public Adjuster, I am also a certified Water Remediation Specialist. Below, I offer you—the property owner—seven steps to help you avoid a water damage loss to your property and possessions.

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Functional Replacement Coverage: How It Can Affect Your Insurance Claim

Functional Replacement Coverage: How It Can Affect Your Insurance Claim

You’ve had a loss to your property. You want the damage fixed as soon as possible and you expect it to be restored to its original condition, using similar materials. After all, you’ve paid your insurance premiums on time and you have a great relationship with your insurance agent. This should be a no-brainer. Unfortunately, some insurance policy endorsements can make this process more difficult, including an endorsement known as “Functional Replacement.” 

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How Public Adjusters Deal with Difficult Inventory Insurance Claims

How Public Adjusters Deal with Difficult Inventory Insurance Claims

Many insurance companies have changed their procedures regarding Personal Property (contents) claims in homes and condos. The objective, in part, is to save money to offset losses due to the downturn in the economy. Years ago, it was customary for us to prepare a list of damaged items with prices for the adjuster to review. Now, inventory services have come into existence to do the work directly on behalf of the insurance companies. This follows the trend in insurance claim departments to control the claim at the management level instead of trusting and relying on their own field adjusters.

On the surface, this seems like a good idea. After all, why not hire an inventory specialist who will do the dirty work of itemizing personal property? Presumably, this person will save the insurance company money by working at a lower hourly rate than an adjuster. However, the actual results are not beneficial to the policyholder for a number of reasons.

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Never Settle For Less: Ice Dams and Water Damage

Never Settle For Less: Ice Dams and Water Damage

When Brian Lannery was called to his customer’s Newton Center, Massachusetts, home last February, he crossed paths with the homeowners’ insurance adjuster who was there to inspect water damage to the home as a result of an ice dam. Lannery, owner of Bourke Painting, a Newton-based contractor specializing in fine residential house painting, renovation and repair, was shocked at the short amount of time the adjuster spent inspecting the damage.

“He was only there briefly. His inspection was not very thorough,” noted Lannery. A short time later, the insurance company offered the homeowners a settlement for the damage—a ridiculously low figure according to Lannery.

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Hidden Coverages Increase Insurance Payouts in Maine

Hidden Coverages Increase Insurance Payouts in Maine

When was the last time you read your insurance policy? Terms like “stretch coverage,” “actual cash value,” “recoverable depreciation” or “Ordinance and Law” can mean very little to the average person, but can mean a lot in terms of sizable out-of-pocket expenses or money left on the table to an insured facing a building loss. The last thing anyone needs is the added pressure of becoming an expert on insurance terminology when faced with a loss.

Having a Public Adjuster on your side of the table who is as well-versed in the language of insurance policies as the insurance companies (and their adjusters) levels the playing field in any discussion. PLA’s Public Adjusters meticulously document each claim as they review each policy line-by-line to uncover hidden coverages to increase payouts for our clients.

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Why Fire Damage Doesn't Have To Ruin Your Life

Why Fire Damage Doesn't Have To Ruin Your Life

Unfortunately, fire can strike a home or business at almost any time. And, when it does, it can be devastating. Even if no injuries or deaths occur, the loss of one's property and home/business will have a major impact on your life. On top of that, having to deal with the insurance company and advocate for a full and fair settlement can be exhausting.

Here are two instances where Professional Loss Adjusters, a team of public adjusters who work on your behalf—not the insurance company—was called in to help settle a fire insurance claim, and in the end, secured a larger settlement than the home/condo owners could have received on their own.

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Follow The Money: The Bilking of Superstorm Sandy Victims

Follow The Money: The Bilking of Superstorm Sandy Victims

In early March, 60 Minutes, America’s oldest and most-watched television news magazine, filed a report entitled, “The Storm After The Storm.” Correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi investigated allegations that thousands of homeowners were denied flood insurance claims as a result of the damage brought on by Superstorm Sandy in the fall of 2012.

Now, two-and-a-half years later, we are finding out that thousands of claims still have not been resolved. Even worse, many of the homeowners who suffered losses have been completely cheated out of their claims. How? According to 60 Minutes, “There is evidence that many homeowners were victims of what appears to be wide-scale fraud where original damage reports were later changed to make it look like the damage wasn’t as bad.”

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Marina Bounces Back After Fire With PLA's Help

Marina Bounces Back After Fire With PLA's Help

Early in the morning on Friday, July 26, 2013, The Dockside Restaurant, offices and marine repair center at Brunelle’s Marina in South Hadley, Massachusetts were completely destroyed by a fire that drew firefighters from seven surrounding towns.

The popular restaurant, established in 1959, was a total loss—right in the middle of the busy summer season. Fortunately, the marina did not suffer any damage and, with the help of friends and neighbors, the boats in the attached showroom were saved from the flames. The Lady Bea, the Brunelles’ 53-foot river cruise boat, was also spared.

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Speaking To A National Audience About Business Interruption Claims

Speaking To A National Audience About Business Interruption Claims

Leonard Theran, SPPA, principal of Professional Loss Adjusters, Inc. recently presented to a group of insurance industry professionals from across the country at the First Party Claims Conference (FPCC), which was held in Warwick, Rhode Island. The topic was “Major Business Interruption Cases—Made Simple.” Richard Lewis, Esq., an attorney with Reed Smith, LLP, one of the leading experts in Business lnterruption law in the country, was co-presenter. 

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15 Things To Do After A Business Property Loss: A Checklist

15 Things To Do After A Business Property Loss: A Checklist

With the news that Boston officials are allowing business owners to return to their stores and restaurants in the Copley Square crime scene area, the Boston Globe is reporting that many are not sure what they will encounter upon their return. Unaware of the exact nature of the damage, it is certain that many will have suffered a hefty loss to their property and contents as a result of the two bomb blasts on April 15. 

Along with the clean-up and other work required to re-open, business owners are now faced with the task of preparing and submitting a complicated claim to their insurance company, a task required by their insurance policy. What should they do?

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