Friday at 2 With Chip is going to be interesting today. The Executive Director from FAPIA, Nancy Dominguez, sent me a State Farm policy that I have confirmed was the policy used in an appraisal in Florida. Here is the relevant language:
Appraisal. If you and we fail to agree on the amount of any loss under SECTION 1-PROPERTY COVERAGES, either party can demand that the amount of the loss be set by appraisal. A demand for appraisal must be in writing. You must comply with SECTION I – CONDITIONS, Your Duties After Loss before making a demand for appraisal. At least 10 days before demanding appraisal, the party seeking appraisal must provide the other party with written, itemized documentation of a specific dispute as to the amount of the loss, identifying separately each item being disputed.
So much for a quick and easy alternative dispute resolution process. Are we going to have to list each nail and its value if nail values are in dispute? How about the labor differences for each labor item? I wonder who can qualify to be the appraiser under these policy terms if the appraisal involves a unique piece of art?
One person I spoke with indicated that those with no licenses will find it difficult to qualify as an appraiser in Florida. I am certain that State Farm’s intent was to have qualified people to act in the capacity of appraisers to an appraisal. I guess State Farm’s intent was to remove judges or retired judges to act as umpires because State Farm does not think judges are qualified to be fair neutrals. (I would say “just kidding,” but just read the language.)
Forbes Says Hire Public Adjusters
On another topic, FAPIA and Tim Cornett should also get a shout out. Forbes quoted Cornett at length in an article, Public Adjusters Help You Nail Homeowners Insurance Claims:
Unlike an insurance company adjuster, a public adjuster advocates exclusively for policyholders, says Tim Cornett, president of the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters. They are licensed and trained insurance professionals.
‘The financial interests of insurance companies are best served by convincing policyholders to accept the lowest compensation possible,’ he says. ‘The financial interests of public adjusters are directly tied to the interests of policyholders to receive full and fair compensation on insurance claims.’
Cornett says public adjusters are often more thorough in their damage analysis than company adjusters. That’s because of their training and also because their loyalties are to you, the policyholder, and not the insurance company.
He says there’s no magic claim amount at which you should call an adjuster. Instead, consider a public adjuster when you feel you’re not getting the full amount of your claim. A public adjuster can also help you keep track of paperwork and deadlines.
The Forbes article also noted an example of how much money can be left on the table by a person who is not professionally represented:
Public insurance adjusters are worth their weight in gold. At least that’s the assessment of Carole Lieberman, whose Los Angeles home was damaged by ash and soot after the Malibu Woolsey Fire tore through Southern California in 2018.
She filed a claim on her homeowners insurance. Her insurance company offered her only $25,000, which would have covered only a fraction of her repair expenses. So she hired a public adjuster, an independent professional who can help you settle an insurance claim.
Unlike insurance company adjusters, who charge nothing extra to the policyholder, public adjusters are independent and charge between 10% and 20% of your settlement for their services. They work on your behalf to make sure you get what you’re entitled to.
‘My public adjuster is a champ who keeps fighting for me by proving to the adjuster that what we are asking for is valid,’ says Lieberman, a physician. ‘We are up to over $500,000 [in reimbursement] now and counting.’
Lieberman needed an adjuster because her large claim was getting lowballed by her insurance company. Hiring a public adjuster for any large, complex or expensive home insurance claim can pay off. Some say you should call an adjuster any time you feel your insurance company is shortchanging you on a claim.
Please join me at 2 PM (ET) this afternoon while we quickly discuss some of these developments. Here is the link.