The Role of a Public Adjuster in Florida Insurance Disputes
Experienced insurance lawyers understand the pros and cons of working with public adjusters in the Gulf Coast, the Florida Panhandle, and across the state
Florida allows claims adjusters to become licensed public adjusters. In theory, these people act as agents for policyholders. They negotiate on their behalf in return for a fee or a percentage of the recovery. As a general rule, it is much more advisable for policyholders to seek the advice of legal counsel. Experienced lawyers understand the legal challenges, when claims can be brought for bad faith, how to better document and value damages, and the court procedures.
Attorney Gene Warhurst, founder of Warhurst Law, understands many different sides of insurance dispute law. As a former Florida insurance claims adjuster, he understands what steps insurance companies should take to protect their clients and when insurance companies aren’t acting in good faith. As a seasoned insurance lawyer, he understands the need to document claims, fully investigate the damage, and what damages should be paid. He has a strong history of negotiating just settlements. He’s ready to try your case in court, if the insurance company is being unreasonable or delaying payment.
What are public adjusters?
Public adjusters in Florida must fulfill a number of strict requirements to obtain their license. Florida has seen a continual growth in the number of public adjusters due to the increase of natural disasters, such as Hurricane Michael. Some of the basic issues that policyholders should understand about public adjusters are:
- Public adjusters generally receive a percentage (usually about 10 percent; in some cases, up to 20 percent) of any settlement with the insurance company. Florida caps the amount of the fees.
- They must continually update their training after they obtain their Florida public adjuster license.
- The more competent public adjusters have knowledge of construction and contracting – two key elements in claims for structural damage.
What does a public adjuster do for an insured client?
Pubic adjusters should not work on behalf of the insurance company. Public adjusters should work on behalf of the insured:
- Inspect the damage after a natural disaster or an accident
- Evaluate the scope of the damage and what items can be repaired
- Prepare estimates as to the value of the damage to buildings, inventory, equipment, and other contents of the home or building
- Help the insured properly document their claim with receipts, statements from appraisers, and other records
- Help the policyholder present and negotiate his or her claim with the insurance company