United Policyholders recently published portions of Masood Khan’s interview with Amy Bach in its summer newsletter. Chip Merlin wrote about this interview in his post, “Greenspan Public Adjuster Interviewed About Unauthorized Public Adjusting”. Many of the readers posted comments in response to the information provided by Khan about non-public insurance adjusters adjusting losses for the policyholder. In addition to this insightful information, Khan answered a series of several questions about public insurance adjusting.
In the unpublished section of the interview, Khan weighed in on why hiring a public insurance adjuster is beneficial. Recently, PAs have been under an even hotter fire than usual and, in light of all the negative news, it is refreshing to see a qualified public adjuster get the spotlight from a non-profit consumer organization.
Here is a portion of the interview:
AB: How can public adjusters get more money out of an insurance company than a policyholder can get on their own?
MK: It is simple. We level the playing field. If an insurance company adjuster told an insured following a fire to his 3,000 square foot house occupied by only two people, that what is standard in such a case is a one or two bedroom apartment or house, would he know if the information was correct? Would he know where to go to challenge it? There can be hundreds of issues on every claim where knowledge, background, expertise, experience and tenacity come together over and over again to get a policy holder more than he can on his own. It is the insurance company adjuster’s job to protect his principal. He does so by paying as little as possible. Having him represent both sides, considering he gets paid by the insurance company, makes no sense. We see to it that the policy holder is on equal footing. It requires availability of proper resources, knowledge, expertise, experience, perseverance, creativity, and just being proactive. Expertise comes with time, and through experience dealing with different types of claims and issues in a variety of ways.
AB: I’ve heard critics say that public adjusters justify their fee by padding the numbers. What is your response to that?
MK: No insurance company will ever pay a client more than they are owed after the carrier is absolutely convinced of the obligation. Any public adjuster that “pads” a claim is only asking for a protracted and long drawn out adjustment that will hurt their client as well as the public adjuster’s own reputation. This will ultimately result in a reduction in business for the public adjuster.
Every industry has bad eggs. I’ve had a philosophy that has worked for me on both sides: being aggressive, defensible and reasonable. That is why it is critical that the DOI license and regulate anyone who engages in representing a policyholder in a first-party claim.
At Greenspan we add value through our expertise with properly and accurately measuring insurance claims. We have in-house inventory specialists who go through a damaged site, and physically count every T-shirt, sock, pencil and makeup, or whatever articles you’ve got. Our building estimators have construction backgrounds and know how to properly cost what it takes to put a property back to its pre-loss condition. And, our in-house accountants and CPAs have tremendous insight on the working of numerous types of companies that allow them to accurately schedule a business interruption claim. Finally, having public adjusters who zealously advocate the policyholder’s right to fair and just indemnity under the policy is critical. That is how a public adjuster should add value.
Masood Khan previously practiced law, primarily representing insurers. Khan now represents policyholders as a public adjuster and is a vice president of Greenspan Adjusters International, in their South San Francisco office.