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Last Post 11/07/2007 12:48 AM by  Ray Hall
What I learned from a Public Adjuster
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Leland
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11/02/2007 8:02 PM

    We all know horror stories about public adjusters, and many of us have seen strange and inflated estimates. At the risk of being controversial, what has anyone learned from a PA that helped increase their knowledge? Has a PA ever asked for something that you thought was bizarre and later you realized it was actually fair? I know that on some claims, with some PAs, I have to be on my toes and thinking harder than usual. What is the most creative thing a PA ever asked for, that was ultimately approved?  I have done some claims with one PA that is a former staff adjuster for a big carrier and I always ask him questions to pick his brain. I still deny a lot  of his demands, but he is knowledgable. Also, has anyone ever seen a PA help an insured that would have been otherwise unfairly denied? I know most adjusters think of PAs as a lower form of life, and I have certainly lost respect for them on occasion, but I thought this would be a fun topic.

    BobH
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    11/02/2007 8:47 PM
    Has a PA ever asked for something that you thought was bizarre and later you realized it was actually fair?

    Nope. To me it is a really simple concept, if the Insured needs $10 to be made whole, the PA has to inflate it to $15 so he can make his cut and hopefully there is enough left over to actually fix the house.   If the adjuster overlooks something, or more damage is uncovered during repair, they can simply ask for a re-inspect to correct the scope.

    Your guy sounds like he has some knowledge from his staff adjuster days before he went to "the dark side".

    Bob H
    rbryanhines
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    11/02/2007 9:52 PM
    Bob
    Many think you are on “the dark side". I've read many of your post and found them insightful but your generalization of PAs is way off.
    BobH
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    11/02/2007 10:34 PM

    Thanks, tell us your perspective.  I do acknowledge that there can be shortcomings on both sides. 

    I was working the wind and the flood claim in Slidell, Louisiana for a house along lake Pontchartrain.  The PA said the boat dock was totaled by wind, not water.  I couldn't even find the pilings, and figured it was flood.  No coverage. 

    Then I learned from a call volunteered by the Insured that they never even had a boat dock - that's why it wasn't there.

    There are some good PA's, and some of them post here, such as Mr. Cook. 

    Bob H
    BobH
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    11/04/2007 10:39 AM
    Well it's been a full day, and no comments. I don't want to leave this on a sour note - there have been plenty of threads over the years where the "Adjuster vs PA" topic has been aired out, and Leland's question was a bit unique:
    what has anyone learned from a PA that helped increase their knowledge? Has a PA ever asked for something that you thought was bizarre and later you realized it was actually fair?
    I don't have an exact answer to this because it wasn't a PA, it was a contractor, and eventually I think he was wrong.

    There was a fire about 10 years ago in a 1970's home with one of those tub-shower one-piece fiberglass things that gets nailed to the studs before drywall, then drywall covers all the edges of the tub and surround. It was at the other end of the house from the source of fire, and only slightly damaged - but discolored along the top to the point that it should be replaced.

    The contractor was telling me that the one-piece units do not fit through the door, and they would have to re-frame the opening to get the old one out and the new one in. It really seemed like overkill to me, as the room wasn't hit very hard at all, just the upper 2' of paint were a bit dark and it absorbed into the fiberglass.

    I went along with it, added the framing (and door casings, jamb, etc) to my scope. Later I was at the house for another issue as it was being put back together. I looked in the back bathroom, and they were installing a new fiberglass tub that came as a kit with a 3 piece fiberglass surround, so you wouldn't have to cut the door opening. They got the old one out by cutting it up with a Saws-All.

    I felt like I had been screwed, although I suppose it could be argued that the Insured had a deductible and elected to lower the value of what used to be a "seamless" shower unit as his portion of the loss.

    I think another common disagreement on scope items is "what is already included in prep for paint' within the square foot paint item, such as pulling light switch covers and bringing in a drop cloth.
    Bob H
    HuskerCat
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    11/04/2007 1:14 PM
    Posted By Bob Harvey on 11/02/2007 10:34 PM

    Thanks, tell us your perspective.  I do acknowledge that there can be shortcomings on both sides. 

    I was working the wind and the flood claim in Slidell, Louisiana for a house along lake Pontchartrain.  The PA said the boat dock was totaled by wind, not water.  I couldn't even find the pilings, and figured it was flood.  No coverage. 

    Then I learned from a call volunteered by the Insured that they never even had a boat dock - that's why it wasn't there.

    There are some good PA's, and some of them post here, such as Mr. Cook


    This has nothing to do with the question, but I had to chuckle when first reading this, thinking that it had a clever twist to it.   I think it was actually a compliment to Mr. Cook, and would agree.  Sometimes the things that are said or written can be taken two ways.  We can look forward to seeing plenty of that in the coming election year. 

    katadj
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    11/04/2007 2:44 PM


    Up here in the North East, (Den of the PA's) there are several PA’s that have an abundant knowledge of the policy, as well as the many ambulance chasers, who know almost nothing.

    One thing I learned years ago was the need to properly execute the required documentation in accord with the conditions of the policy. Several of the older and larger PA firms are meticulous about this and can hold the proverbial feet to the fire if you do not adhere to all the tenants of the policy.

    Dealing with a really well informed and basically honest PA is not an issue, for they can make your life and the handling of a claim much easier. No one will “give away the store, so to speak” but there are times when we are under much stress and do have the opportunity to err. In the event that the PA reviews our findings and can legitimately present additional losses then they have assisted us in the proper closure of a claim.

    The ambulance chasers are just that, ones that seek to benefit from the misfortune of others, and in their case, we must become like statues, and not move. Just MHO
    "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new... Albert Einstein"
    BobH
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    11/04/2007 3:53 PM
    I think it was actually a compliment to Mr. Cook, and would agree.
    Absolutley. And this showed me how many people do read these threads, because Bill sent me a private Email yesterday after he saw it
    ...It is always a good feeling to read some kind words of recognition from an industry professional. Thanks again! Bill Cook
    Bob H
    Leland
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    11/04/2007 6:40 PM
    One thing that that might be going on is that the PAs that are on catastrophes might be a cut below the PAs that are in one city for many years, handling large losses for major companies and property management companies. Certainly a PA on a CAT doesn't expect to ever run into the adjuster ever again. I end up seeing the same PAs over and over on my daily claims work. If they did something really annoying it would affect the negotiation on the next 20 claims.

    Maybe the pecking order of quality (lowest to highest) for PAs is CAT PAs, then PAs that ambulance chase, then PAs that have retainer agreements with major property managers, developers etc. and handle huge commercial losses. I have learned the most from the last.

    I had a topic here on CADO where I stated that it seemed to me that the DP form carrier not paying building permits would be justified based on reading the law & ordinance exclusion. I have changed my mind on the subject, and it was a PA that got me to reconsider, although it was the claims manager of another carrier that explained it best. (The answer is that the settlement must restore the insured to the pre-loss condition. Excluding permits under the Law & ordinance clause runs counter to this bigger picture idea)


    Another thing I learned from a PA, actually their website, is that if an insured sells their business before the end of the reconstruction period, the insurance company still has to pay the Business Income loss.
    Tom Toll
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    11/06/2007 9:40 AM

    There are some very knowledgeable public adjusters and you can learn from them. You should be able to size up the PA in short order and if they are professional, they can teach you a lot. I have always tried to learn from anyone that I could, if I felt their knowledge was up to par. I have met some really good PA's and have acutally enjoyed working with them. I have also met some scoundrels that were just after the buck and could care less about you,(the adjuster or their client). Try to learn from any source that you can. Don't let your pride get in the way of knowledge, and you will soon excell at your job.

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
    Ray Hall
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    11/07/2007 12:48 AM

    Be very careful on large stock, furniture , fixtures and machinery or personal property on commercial losses with a co-insurance clause; WHEN adjuster/carrier claims underinsured.

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