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Why it matters that your Public Adjuster is licensed and credentialed

AIBLC Blog Post June 2020 Photo 2

If you’re having surgery, you’re surely going to want to know that your surgeon has the proper medical license. The same is true if you need a lawyer to stand up for you in court.

There are reasons why some professions require licenses and credentials. Much of that has to do with ensuring professional, trustworthy service.

The same expectations should apply when you’re hiring a public adjuster to help with your property damage insurance claim.

What is a public adjuster? An insurance claim expert working exclusively for policyholders on property damage claims for their home or business. We save you time and headaches by managing the entire property insurance claim process and negotiating on your behalf for the correct and maximum claim recovery amount from the insurance company.

A distinguishing factor of our expertise is that we are licensed, credentialed, and bonded in accordance with the regulatory agency of each state where we operate (New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine).

But this level of credibility and legitimacy not only represents our commitment to our clients every day, it’s how we’ve helped over 20,000 satisfied clients secure billions of dollars in settlements for over 112 years.

Not all firms can say that (if they mention it at all). Imagine:

You’re standing in front of the apartment complex you own, fire blazing through the windows, as parts of the building collapse. Or you arrive back from vacation to see your house in ruins after faulty wiring caused a fire.

What happens next can be overwhelming — a deluge of people you’ve never met before arrives at your doorstep to tell you how they can help. In this vulnerable time, it’s important to know who you can turn to for the best service and assistance in the aftermath of property damage.

A public adjuster is one of those who can help you — but not just any public adjuster. Having one who is licensed, credentialed, and experienced is essential to getting you the correct insurance settlement.

How can you identify a licensed and credentialed public adjuster?

A reputable public adjuster will be ready to introduce himself or herself as licensed and credentialed and will be ready to provide verifiable information (name, firm, title, and firm website, for example). Confirm this information and check for credentials on their firm’s website.

For instance, on every page of our site, visitors can see that we are members of the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA) and the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Buffalo. We also are able to list our A+ rating as a Better Business Bureau (BBB) Accredited Business on every page. Our numerous client testimonials are an added benefit to help you understand the legitimacy and professionalism of our work in their words.

We take our membership in NAPIA seriously, and strictly follow its high ethical standards and rules of conduct. This is fundamental to the trust we build with every policyholder. We can’t see doing it any other way.

Not all adjusting firms follow the same practices. If you experience any of the following, you might want to consider them as “red flag” actions to be wary of:

  1. Claiming to be associated with your insurance company. An insurance company adjuster only represents their company — they are most likely looking out for your insurance company’s financial interests. (Meanwhile, a licensed public adjuster is independent of your insurance carrier and works only for the policyholder to get you the correct claim recovery amount.)
  2. Avoiding questions about credentials/firm identity. There should be nothing to hide, and asking who they are and how they operate are all reasonable questions.
  3. Criticizing other adjusting firms. Your recovery should be the public adjuster’s only priority — they should not be focused on the competition. Any time spent trying to dissuade you from using other firms means less precious time is being spent getting started on your insurance claim.
  4. Offering their adjusting services at inappropriate times. In the middle of a disaster (a fire, for example), the only people you should be talking to are the fire department or police. We respect this priority and give you the space to step back, breathe, and re-center. More than anything, we believe you need time to evaluate your situation and the next practical steps necessary to protect your home, family, business or employees. You will also need time to determine the best professionals to work with, instead of being rushed to sign a contract.

Why ethical public adjusters matter.

We are more than mindful that you deserve consideration for the emotional impact of the unexpected disaster after what could be one of the worst days of your life. A public adjuster should be working to give you that consideration, not take it away.

An example:

Inexperienced adjusters may advise you to immediately empty out the contents of your home or business after a disaster. But the things inside your property may have value  — however damaged they may be. Everything has to be documented to prove the full scope of damage to help you get the settlement you’re truly entitled to receive.

Ethical, policyholder-focused adjusters like ours will advise you to leave everything as is until a public adjuster and insurance adjuster can properly assess the property damages. This may take a few days, but the time spent is worth it. We know that the process should be efficient but never rushed to the point of compromising your loss, claim, and settlement. (However, steps to mitigate further damage should be taken if necessary, such as tarping roofs, boarding up windows, etc.).

If you’re uncertain about who to turn to after property damage, please talk to us as soon as possible. Our firm, Adjusters International/Basloe, Levin & Cuccaro, has helped thousands of policyholders throughout the Northeast for over 112 years. We expertly handle homeowners and commercial property claims for fire damage, water damage, business interruption, and more. We prepare and negotiate property damage insurance claims the correct way, and we’ll be there to help you, too.