As a public adjuster, failing to comply with claim deadlines can open you up to a potential errors and omissions (E&O) claim.

First-party property insurance claims are time sensitive. The insurance policy is a contract, with specific contractual obligations for both the insurance company and the insured. Here are a few tips for public adjusters to be mindful of to avoid missing one of the strict deadlines associated with submitting a claim to the insurance company on behalf of an insured.

First, what does the policy require with regard to submission of a proof of loss?

Make sure you review the insured’s policy under post-loss obligations to see if it requires that the insured submit a sworn proof of loss to the insurer (i) within X days of the insurance company’s written request, or (ii) within sixty (60) days from the date of loss. The second category does not require a request from the insurer to trigger compliance with this mandatory post loss policy condition. Get this date calendared immediately with multiple reminders the week prior to ensure that the proof is RECEIVED by the insurance carrier by the deadline date.

For federal flood claims, the insured must submit a proof of loss within 60 days of the date of loss. This is a mandatory deadline that cannot be extended without a specific bulletin from FEMA issuing an extension. Our blog has numerous posts regarding federal flood proofs of loss.

Second, what is the statute of limitations to file suit against the insurance company?

Each state is different!! Find out right away what the statute of limitations is the state where the loss occurred for breach of contract and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Next, review the policy to see if it has a provision that shortens the statute of limitations. If so, you will also need to find out if that state allows for a policy to shorten the statute of limitations. Some states, such as New Jersey, also allow for equitable tolling of the statute of limitations. Although this may be the case in your state, it is a better practice to make every effort to file suit within the required statute of limitations.