I am a licensed public adjuster and all my business comes to me by way of my internet advertising and referrals. I do not “chase fires and storms” or otherwise solicit policyholders who have suffered a loss to hire me. A potential client (or the person referring them) must contact me, first.
Referrals come to me regularly from former clients, attorneys, insurance agents, and building contractors who recommend me to policyholders that they know, and that might benefit from my involvement with their insurance claim.
Some Missouri building contractors will attempt to negotiate with an insurance company on behalf of the owner of the property that they are repairing or rebuilding (when not prohibited by law) and will often find that the insurance company refuses to cooperate with them. Instead of contracting to do work for less than what they need to make, or before using inferior products and labor and cut corners to afford to work for the insurance company’s lowball estimate, they advise the homeowner to hire a public adjuster for assistance.
I have received many referrals from building contractors and have assisted the policyholders that they referred to me with successfully reopening their claim and getting a fair settlement that covers the full cost of the project (as well as my fee) so that the contractor can receive his full pay to do quality work. This is a win for the policyholder, a win for the contractor, and a win for an insurance company who operates in good faith.
Likewise, policyholders that I help will often ask me for advice or referrals when they have been paid and are ready to begin the work of restoring their home or business. I will recommend many of the fine and reputable building contractors that I have come to know and admire, knowing that they will be satisfied with the results.
Sometimes I will get calls from contractors who are simply wanting me to aid them to increase their own level of profit, at the expense of the insurance company and the policyholder, by adding unnecessary work to the scope to increase the cost to the job and expect me to negotiate on THEIR behalf and convince the insurance company to pay it. I don’t do that.
A recent case in point was a Missouri policyholder who was reluctant to hire a public adjuster but was pressured to contact me by his building contractor. The contractor initially attempted to “represent” the policyholder in negotiating his contract with me and discussing the claim with me, but I refused and communicated directly with the policyholder. This is the only way I do business.
As I investigated the claim, I found that the insurance company had inspected the hail-damaged roof and siding with the contractor’s estimator and had agreed to pay what the estimator had originally estimated the costs to be. Then, for reasons not clearly explained, the owner of the construction company revised his estimator’s original estimate and added a large amount of money for something outside the normal scope of work, and the insurance company refused to pay for this additional cost.
My job, according to the building contractor who pressured the policyholder to hire me, was to get the homeowner this extra sum for this unnecessary work so that he could pay it to the contractor. I refused to do this and advised the policyholder that the insurance company had offered a fair settlement that matched the original estimate provided by his contractor, and that I was withdrawing from his claim.
An insurance claim is a matter that is between the policyholder and his insurance company, and the only acceptable resolution to an insurance claim is a complete restoration of the insured property to the condition that it was immediately before the event that caused the loss. The policyholder hires the contractor to perform the work to meet that level of restoration and the insurance company has a duty to pay the costs associated with that level of restoration. Nothing more … nothing less.
I appreciate the many referrals that I receive from building contractors who are looking to help policyholders achieve fair settlements so that they can be paid in full for their valuable services; however, when the policyholder and I agree to work together on his claim, I represent the policyholder, only.