When the insurance company’s claims payment philosophy changed, George Keys did not. “I honestly never thought I would leave the employment of the insurance company.” This is the first thing George Keys said when asked about his work with policyholders.
For over thirty years, George W. Keys, Jr., SPPA, has dedicated his professional life to being a voice for policyholders in property insurance claims. Today, Mr. Keys works as a public insurance adjuster, appraiser, and umpire, but it is his interesting background that impacts how he views and handles insurance claims when he is adjusting a claim or working on an appraisal.
Starting in 1978 as an adjuster trainee for Commercial Union Insurance Company, Keys was trained by the insurance company. He was educated on how to properly and promptly handle claims. Policy interpretation and attention to detail were values instilled in him as a young adjuster. “I was taught to always handle a claim as if my momma was the insured.” Accuracy and customer service were tenants of the insurance industry in the 1970’s, but Keys recalls a shift that occurred in the late 1980’s. The company started to focus on selling itself and ways to make the bottom line stronger. Directives came down from above, and the way claims were to be adjusted started to change. As time passed, Keys had worked his way up to a top position as General Adjuster and Catastrophe Coordinator, but he was put in a situation many times where, as he explains it, “I felt very uncomfortable telling people no when I should have been telling them yes.”
In 1990, Keys moved on to work as an independent adjuster, and adjusted claims for various insurance carriers throughout the country. He developed relationships with many insurance companies and was assigned to mainly large losses. When Hurricane Andrew hit, Keys was sent in to handle the destruction for many of the large commercial losses, but several of the claims handling procedures he was being asked to follow did not comport with proper claims adjustment according to the policies. After trying to go against the grain and do what was right by the policyholder, Keys decided it was time to use his skills to help only policyholders, becoming a licensed public adjuster in 1993.
Just two years later, Keys was the victim of a near fatal home invasion. After being shot and unable to walk, some would have considered themselves to be disabled or would have looked for a different profession. But not George Keys. He focused on getting better and gaining the opportunity to become a better adjuster for his clients. After months in rehabilitation, Keys was able to use a walker to maneuver, and later, a cane. Today, George Keys has regained his strength and the ability to both walk and work at the job he loves.
George Keys also found love while assisting an insured with a loss in Cape Coral. The future Mrs. Keys was, at the onset of her loss, handling her own claim. She did not have a public adjuster or lawyer. While performing a property inspection, the insurance company’s adjuster told her “to sit down and to shut up”. Knowing that this behavior was beyond the limits, she looked for help and hired George Keys. The insured learned that the adjustment of the loss by the carrier was beyond wrong. After she hired George Keys, the initial evaluation of less than $19,000.00 was resolved for a claim payment in excess of $200,000.00. When a former client becomes your spouse, it’s a great testament to a job well done.
After meeting his wife, Keys continued his commitment to helping policyholders, and in January 2007 opened Keys Claims Consultants, Inc., in Naples, Florida.
Keys’ approach to adjusting insurance claims does not start with screaming and yelling at the insurance company. Instead, he uses his experience, attention to detail, professionalism, and southern charm to explain to the insurance company the specifics of the claim at hand, and to negotiate the best outcome for the policyholder.
In addition to more than thirty years of experience adjusting losses in the US and abroad, George Keys’ credentials include:
- Senior Professional Public Adjuster (SPPA) from the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters – The highest designation obtainable by exam from NAPIA
- Immediate past member of The Board of Directors for The National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA)
- Founding Member of The Florida Association of Public Adjusters (FAPIA), past President of The Florida Association of Public Adjusters, current Member of The Board of Directors of The Florida Association of Public Adjusters
Most recently, Keys presented with Herbert Brock, Esq., Patrick Betar, Esq., and Emery Kunzman at the 2012 Wind Conference on “Condominium Claims and Losses – Lessons Learned”. In July, George Keys will present at the AAJ conference in Chicago on “Proper Investigation and Evaluation of Claims”.
To learn more about George and his firm, click the image below: