Maplewood, Minnesota resident, Micah Coburn, recently experienced the benefits of hiring a public adjuster. The help Micah received from his public adjuster, Benjamin Johnson, was detailed in a report posted earlier this week on Coburn’s home suffered a fire loss, and he hired Benjamin Johnson as his public adjuster for the personal property claim. Before hiring Johnson, Coburn was concerned that his claim would not be properly paid.

I had the opportunity to discuss the loss with Johnson and leaned that the remediation company the insurance company sent to the property was disposing of Coburn’s personal items but wasn’t adequately recoding the damages. For example, Coburn, a college student, lost many expensive textbooks in the fire. But the contents inventory the remediation company was keeping was too general. They grouped books as a category and assigned a general value for all the books multiplied by the quantity. Johnson explained that he was able to document the specific textbooks damaged and destroyed by the fire and list the books individually. Before hiring his public adjuster, Coburn believed the insurer would only pay about $15,000.00 for his personal property but ultimately the insurer agreed the claim met the policy limits for contents.

Interestingly, in the piece on Coburn, Florida statistics were used to show readers the benefits of hiring a public adjuster:

In Florida, a study for the state Legislature found that public adjusters helped homeowners get, on average, 574 percent more for their claims. Average noncatastrophe claims there generated $9,379 when a public adjuster was involved; $1,391 when it was not.

These statistics were first printed in the January 2010 OPPAGA report. Findings from of OPPAGA report were discussed in my post, Public Adjusters and Sinkhole Claims. It is encouraging to see that the good work of Florida public adjusters documented by OPAGGA may also be indirectly helping policyholders in other regions of the nation.

Benjamin Johnson explained why his involvement can increase claim payments. Looking at Coburn’s claim as an example, Coburn was allocated his full benefits because Johnson spent the time and energy to individually list the items and the specific replacement cost of each. Most insurance policies require the insured provide an inventory of damaged personal property, but often, the insurance company does not explain how to do this properly. The insurance company might send a blank form without instructions, and only rarely does one send an adjuster to the home to help the insured rifle through all of his or her damaged possessions to help make a comprehensive list. But this is exactly what a public adjuster will do to help an insured, and this is exactly what Johnson did to help Coburn.

Prior to becoming a public adjuster, Johnson was an insurance agent. As an agent, he saw the need for insureds to have help with their insurance claims. Johnson, a father of five, became a licensed public adjuster and started Benjamin L. Johnson Inc., his public adjusting firm. Johnson’s website provides a little more detail about his background and his work. “I value family, doing the best job possible, helping people, and having a strong personal network of friends.” Thanks to Johnson’s hard work, the Coburn family can move on, put the fire behind them, and replace their personal items.