Behind the Scenes with a Public Adjuster

What’s the process when you hire a public adjuster?

When you hire a public adjuster, your job is to sit back and have him or her handle the whole claim. But what’s happening behind the scenes? Here’s a breakdown of the process.

  1. First, contact your public adjuster. Call the public adjuster first(after any emergency calls), beforeyour insurance company or agent. When the public adjuster is in on the claim from the beginning, it’s a much smoother process. 
  2. The public adjuster will come to your property, look at your insurance policy, get a description of the incident, take photos of the damage, and create an estimate of the cost of repairs. By viewing your policy and getting a description of the incident, the public adjuster can let you know if it’s a good claim, whether it’s covered, or not worth putting in at all. Having a good handle on the incident will put the public adjuster in the best position to represent you.
  3. The public adjuster reports the claim to the insurance company, once the estimate is finished. The insurance company will assign their own adjuster. 
  4. The two adjusters meet at your property.This usually happens about a week after the public adjuster’s initial visit. The public adjuster will show the other adjuster the damage and describe the incident. 
  5. The insurance company adjuster will create his or her own estimateand forward it to the public adjuster. 
  6. The public adjuster will analyze the insurance company adjuster’s numbers and scope. This is where the magic really starts. The public adjuster will make sure everything you’re entitled to is included in the adjuster’s estimate. Sometimes, the negotiation lasts a few weeks. Sometimes, it may take a few payments before the claim is finally settled. But sometimes it goes pretty fast. The end result is the two adjusters agree on a satisfactory settlement.

If your claim is more complicated, or if you’ve started your claim without a public adjuster and then bring one in, there are a few more steps. But the basic structure is the same. It’s all negotiation.

Having a public adjuster in your corner is a good idea. Not only does it almost guarantee you a better settlement, it ensures you a smoother, lower stress claim process. Having a public adjuster saves you time, money, and aggravation.

Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters, Inc. has more than fifty years in the insurance adjusting field and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. We have adjusted every type of property claim there is: fire, storms, water, robbery, you name it. Licensed in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida, and Texas, we can handle your claim from start to finish. Contact us today via email or telephone 508-588-4243.

Does the insurance company ever reverse a denial?

Yes! A few weeks ago, we published a blog post discussing what to do if your claim is denied. Well, Bob just got a denial reversed on an ice dam claim.

An ice dam forms when ice builds up at the gutters or valleys in your roof, causing water to leak into the house. The damage caused by ice dams is unmistakable: water stains and damage at the exterior walls. Look for ceiling stains, drip stains down the walls, and warping of the floor boards. It all appears at the exterior wall.

This case was a classic ice dam claim, made obvious by the water damage being solely at the exterior edge of the house. The house had no history of leaks at other times and locations which tells you the roof is good enough to keep water out. But, in spite of this obviously being an ice dam claim, which has nothing to do with the roof, the insurance company sent a roofer out to view the property. As you might expect, the roofer’s report found what the insurance company was hoping for: the roof was old and worn. Based on the roofer’s report, the insurance company denied the claim on the basis of wear and tear.

Our client had initially attempted to handle his claim by himself. But when the claim was denied based on the condition of the roof, he made the smart decision to hire Bob as his public adjuster. Bob pointed out to the adjuster that due to the location of the damage and the lack of historical leaks all over the house, this claim was definitely ice dams. The claim was denied again!

But Bob did not give up. He kept arguing that the roof has nothing to do with this claim. Finally, after much back and forth, the company reversed its decision and paid the claim.

It is undeniable! Having Bob as the public adjuster on this claim basically made the claim a success. If he hadn’t been on it, the insured would not have collected.

Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters, Inc. has more than fifty years in the insurance adjusting field and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Bob McCormack has adjusted every type of property claim there is: fire, storms, water, robbery, you name it. Licensed in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida, and Texas, Bob can handle your claim from start to finish. Contact us today via email or telephone 508-588-4243.

Did you know that a blizzard lead to the implementation of subways?

On March 11, 1888, a blizzard hit the northeast section of the US including New York, Boston, and the rest of New England. The super nor’easter lasted three days and dropped up to 58 inches of snow and sustained winds up to 85 miles per hour. Railroads shut down, telegraph lines were disabled, and emergency services like fire, rescue, and police were impeded. The wind produced snow drifts up to 50 feet. About 400 people died in the storm and the ensuing cold temperatures.

Many businesses were shut down during the storm, but workers tried to get to work anyway. Hundreds of people were stranded on train platforms and in cars that couldn’t move. Some people tried walking to work and several froze to death. Famed politician Roscoe Conkling died as a result of attempting to walk to work and catching pneumonia.

Damage caused by the storm

Downed utility wires caused fires throughout the area and since fire stations were disabled, the fires destroyed more than they would have normally. More than 200 ships on the Chesapeake were wrecked. High winds and the weight of ice and snow caused roofs, trees, and utility poles to collapse. The icy cold temperatures caused pipes to freeze and burst. Severe flooding occurred after the temperatures rose and the snow melted. Estimates of the damage were as high as $50 million (about $1.3 billion in 2019).

What role could a public adjuster play after a storm like this?

Most of the damage caused by the storm would have been covered by insurance and a public adjuster would have been able to assist home and business owners with their claims. Many businesses were unable to stay open during the storm, but unfortunately, unless a business was closed as a result of damage to its building, lost income would not be covered by insurance. However, weight of ice and snow, fire, pipe bursts, and fallen trees are covered.

Changes made due to the storm

The storm lead to many utilities being placed underground including water, telegraph, and gas. The storm also lead to plans for placing trains underground, with Boston opening the first subway system in the nation in 1898.

For more information

Check out this Weather Channel video about the storm. For even more in depth information, read Mary Clark’s The Blizzard of 88.

Your Claim is Denied. What now?

It’s not a good feeling when the insurance company denies your claim. While it’s hard to get them to reverse a denial, it’s not impossible. Here are a few pointers on what to do if your claim is denied.

When a company denies your claim, they are required to tell you the reason for denial in writing and where in your policy the basis for the denial is. When you’ve received the denial notification, read it carefully and then check your policy to determine whether their denial is warranted. Then go over your initial claim and see if there is anything either you or the insurance company adjuster missed.

The biggest reason for denial is that the cause of loss is not covered. For instance, many people don’t realize that sump pump failure is not covered on a standard policy (you need an endorsement for it). If you have a sump pump failure claim but don’t have the endorsement, you’ll get denied and there’s not much you can do about it. But occasionally you can attribute a cause to something that is covered. For instance, the wild fires in California caused mudslides. Mudslides are generally not covered. However, since these mudslides were caused by fires burning trees and creating conditions for mudslides, there is an argument that the cause of loss was fire, not mudslides.

Consult with contractors to determine the true cause, don’t just guess. We had a client who guessed what was causing a leak under his kitchen sink. It turned out he was wrong, but before we were involved, he had already told the insurance company what he thought was causing the leak. Once you do that, it’s hard to walk it back. His claim was denied.

Another reason a claim is denied is the company determines the insured was negligent. The terms of your policy require you to take reasonable measures to protect your property from damage. Maybe you left your heat set too low when you went on vacation and the pipes froze. Maybe you waited too long to have your roof repaired and rain damaged the ceilings. If your claim is denied on the basis of negligence and you can prove you were not negligent, for instance by supplying oil or gas receipts proving you did maintain heat, you may be able to get the company to review your claim.

Another basis for denial is wear and tear. Wear and tear is damage that naturally happens at a property due to normal use and aging, for instance, fading paint, worn carpeting, scuffed floors. If your adjuster determines that your damage is a result of normal wear and tear, your claim will be denied. Again, if you can prove otherwise, they might reverse the denial.

The best way to avoid having a claim denied is to do your homework before you submit the claim. Know your policy and make sure the cause of loss you’re claiming is covered. Having a public adjuster in your corner will minimize your chances of denial because the public adjuster will collect all necessary and accurate information and submit the claim from the best possible position.

Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters, Inc. has more than fifty years in the insurance adjusting field and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Bob McCormack has adjusted every type of property claim there is: fire, storms, water, robbery, you name it. Licensed in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida, and Texas, Bob can handle your claim from start to finish. Contact us today via email or telephone 508-588-4243.

What’s a “named storm” deductible?

Some insureds may have noticed a “windstorm deductible” or a “named storm” deductible on their insurance policy. What does “named storm” mean in the context of insurance?

Generally, both the “windstorm” and “named storm” deductible apply to insurance coverage for hurricanes. A hurricane is declared, or named, by the National Weather Service or U.S. National Hurricane Center. A “named storm” is broader and applies to hurricanes, typhoons, tropical storms, or cyclones which have been declared and namedby the U.S. National Weather Service, the U.S. National Hurricane Center or the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (like Super Storm Sandy which was not a hurricane but caused quite a lot of damage).

Why is there a higher insurance deductible for hurricanes and named storms?

The deductible is the share of the repair costs borne by the consumer. Since the risk of hurricanes is higher in some areas than others, the insurance industry places a larger burden on those homeowners in order to keep the premium costs lower for everyone. This strategy was put into place in 1992 after Hurricane Andrew devasted the southern coasts of the US and cost insurers billions of dollars. In order to mitigate these costs, the insurance industry adjusted the deductibles for hurricane claims.

What about winter storms? We had Winter Storm Riley last year and Winter Storm Harper this year. Do those count as named storms for insurance?

No. Those storms are named by the Weather Channel and other media outlets to help in identifying and reporting on them. These are not considered “named storms” on your insurance policy and any damage they cause will have the normal deductible.

Need a Public Adjuster to help you with a storm claim?

Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters, Inc. has more than fifty years in the insurance adjusting field and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. We have adjusted every type of property claim there is: fire, storms, water, robbery, you name it. Licensed in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida, and Texas, we can handle your claim from start to finish. Contact us today via email or telephone 508-588-4243.

Lightning Strikes And Destroys A Home

This is a picture of the living room of a rental house that was destroyed by fire last fall. The tenants, a young couple with two small children, had just moved in and bought all new furniture. With the excitement of getting their new home set up, they hadn’t had a chance to buy renter’s insurance.

But then, lightning struck – literally. The house was struck by lightning in the middle of the night and burned for a while on the outside before it was discovered. The mom heard strange crackling noises and, thinking her boys were up, got up to tell them to go back to bed. What she discovered was a lot more menacing. The entire front of the house was on fire. She was able to get the family out safely, thank goodness, but the fire spread throughout the house and destroyed the place and all of the family’s possessions. Inspection of the property the next day revealed their beautiful new rental house, their new furniture, clothing, toys, computers, electronics, video games, food, and books blackened and burned. What the fire didn’t get, the water from the fire hoses did.

The building itself was covered under the landlord’s policy. He filed a claim and, with the help of Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters, was made whole again. Unfortunately, even a public adjuster could not help the tenants. The young family needed to relocate and rebuild their lives from scratch.

You never expect something like this to happen – struck by lightning?? What are the odds? The moral of the story is: have insurance before you move in. It’s not as exciting as decorating, but it’s pretty great when you have a claim.

Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters, Inc. has more than fifty years in the insurance adjusting field and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. We have adjusted every type of property claim there is: fire, storms, water, robbery, you name it. Licensed in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida, and Texas, we can handle your claim from start to finish. Contact us today via email or telephone 508-588-4243.

 

Take Some Time & Find The Right Public Adjuster

Your relationship with your public adjuster is an important, and possibly, a long-term one. The right fit is essential for a smooth and expeditious process. You need to be comfortable with his or her personality and communication style. You need to like each other.

Public adjusters can show up at your door while your house is still on fire and try to push you into signing a contract. These are not the people to go with. Instead, take a breath, ask for recommendations, and do your research. Find someone who has been used by someone you know who had a positive experience. Was the PA a good communicator? Was he compassionate and patient with your questions and concerns? Did she return your phone calls? If you don’t have a friend with a good referral, take a look at the Better Business Bureau website and read ratings and reviews.

Find a public adjuster who has a good amount of experience. Handling claims is a process that involves nuance that can only be mastered with practice. Your public adjuster should have several years adjusting insurance claims or dealing with insurance policies. An experienced public adjuster also has developed relationships in the industry that could help cut through red tape with the insurance company and with any vendors necessary.

Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters, Inc. has more than fifty years in the insurance adjusting field and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. We have adjusted every type of property claim there is: fire, storms, water, robbery, you name it. Licensed in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida, and Texas, we can handle your claim from start to finish. Contact us today via email or telephone 508-588-4243.

Take some time and find the right public adjuster

How to find the right public adjuster

Your relationship with your public adjuster is an important, and possibly, a long-term one. The right fit is essential for a smooth and expeditious process. You need to be comfortable with his or her personality and communication style. You need to like each other.

Public adjusters can show up at your door while your house is still on fire and try to push you into signing a contract. These are not the people to go with. Instead, take a breath, ask for recommendations, and do your research. Find someone who has been used by someone you know who had a positive experience. Was the PA a good communicator? Was he compassionate and patient with your questions and concerns? Did she return your phone calls? If you don’t have a friend with a good referral, take a look at the Better Business Bureau website and read ratings and reviews.

Find a public adjuster who has a good amount of experience. Handling claims is a process that involves nuance that can only be mastered with practice. Your public adjuster should have several years adjusting insurance claims or dealing with insurance policies. An experienced public adjuster also has developed relationships in the industry that could help cut through red tape with the insurance company and with any vendors necessary.

Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters, Inc. has more than fifty years in the insurance adjusting field and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. We have adjusted every type of property claim there is: fire, storms, water, robbery, you name it. Licensed in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida, and Texas, we can handle your claim from start to finish. Contact us today via email or telephone 508-588-4243.

What is Overhead and Profit?

When you receive the adjuster’s breakdown of your insurance claim, look for the line items Overhead and Profit. Commonly known as O&P, this covers the cost of a general contractor to oversee your reconstruction.

Depending on the size of your claim, your repairs may take several tradespeople to complete. Examples of tradespeople are painters, wallpaper hangers, carpenters, masons, electricians, and plumbers. If your reconstruction needs at least three trades, a general contractor is considered necessary to coordinate and supervise the job. Whether you want to hire one is up to you, but you’re entitled to be paid for the expense.

O&P covers the general contractor’s time and expenses and is usually calculated as a percentage of the overall cost of the job. Overhead covers the cost of equipment, facilities, and operations for the job. Profit is how the general contractor earns a living.

We often see the O&P omitted and if you don’t know you’re entitled to it, you won’t know to ask for it. Take a look at the adjuster’s summary, usually on the last page of the estimate, and check for the line items Overhead and Profit. If you don’t see it and can’t find it anywhere else in the estimate, ask the adjuster to add it. This is a legitimate expense and you are entitled to collect it.

Contact Us Today!

At Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters, we offer many services, and can truly help you throughout the course of your claim. We’ll make sure you get your O&P and everything else you’re entitled to. Contact us today via email, or by giving us a call at 508-588-4243.

How Can I Place a Water Damage Claim?

Water Damage Claim?

Water damage claims are the source of consternation for claimants. It’s probable that your policy doesn’t cover some types of water damage. It depends where the water came from and what caused it.

Where Did the Water Come From?

If the water came from above the ground, you’re probably covered under your regular policy. An example is a water comes in through a hole caused by a covered peril (like a tree falling on your roof in a windstorm). The resulting water damage is covered. If water came in from the ground outside the house, or below it, you could be out of luck unless you have a federal flood insurance policy. If the flood came from inside the house, then it depends on what caused it.

What Caused It?

Following are some causes of water damage and whether they’re covered.

  • Washing machine overflowed: probably covered.
  • Sump pump failed: you need a special provision on your policy for that.
  • Water damage caused by ice dams: probably covered.
  • Boiler broke down and flooded the basement: probably covered depending on how the boiler was maintained.
  • Frozen pipes burst: probably covered if you’ve made every effort to maintain heat inside the building.
  • Air conditioner leak from your attic: probably covered.
  • Leak from an old roof: the interior damage is probably covered, the roof is not.

You get the idea – water damage is not black and white. Knowing the cause of the water damage and knowing what your policy covers are keys to putting in a good claim. Remember, just calling the insurance company about a claim puts a black mark on your record – even if the claim is denied. You’ll want to be sure about the claim before you call the company.

Contact Us Today!

Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters offers many services and can truly help you throughout the entire life-cycle of a claim. Contact us today by sending us an email, or by giving us a call at 508.588.4243.