Who Can Represent You With Your Hail/Wind Damage Claim

Your contractor will prove to be a valuable resource to you as you present your insurance claim to your adjuster.  Without his skill and expertise, you will have a tough time communicating all that has been damaged and the work that will be necessary to restore your home to its original condition.  

You might have read the Missouri law that states that a roofing contractor cannot represent you with your insurance claim when communicating with your insurance company about the condition of your roof. Your insurance company’s adjuster certainly has.

Specifically, it reads in part “A contractor shall not represent or negotiate, or offer or advertise to represent or negotiate, on behalf of an owner or possessor of real estate on any insurance claim in connection with the repair or replacement of roof systems, or the performance of any other exterior repair, replacement, construction, or reconstruction work.” [Missouri Revised Statute Title XXVI, Trade and Commerce, 407.25]

You can represent your hail damage claim by yourself, or you may decide to hire an attorney or Missouri licensed public adjuster to represent you with your insurance claim. If you decide to have your roofing contractor do the talking for you, however, he represents only himself and his company’s financial interests in restoring your storm-damaged roof. Not you.

Accordingly, your insurance company’s adjuster will often disregard much of your contractor’s input as being self-serving … unless, of course, it serves the best interest of the insurance company to do otherwise. For instance, if your roofing contractor is willing to compromise and agree to the adjuster’s lower computer-generated estimate, the adjuster may then strike a deal with you based upon his agreement to work for the lesser amount. A roofing contractor’s opinions or arguments calling for more money or materials that differ from what the adjuster has already decided to pay, however, will likely be dismissed. As the governing regulations state, the contractor is not allowed to negotiate your claim.

A policyholder called me for assistance recently and told me that he had three different roofing contractors speak to his insurance company’s adjuster on his behalf, and all three told the adjuster that his roof required replacement. According to him – and to his dismay – the adjuster simply disregarded the arguments from all three of them and refused to pay him to replace his roof.

Of course, the policyholder was convinced that the adjuster was acting improperly and being unfair. He believed that his insurance company had a duty to accept these arguments, particularly since they came from three different contractors, as definitive proof of his loss, but he was wrong. What the policyholder’s three contractors actually presented to his adjuster were three different sales presentations for replacing his roof – none of which proved to the adjuster that the roof had been damaged by hail on the reported date of loss to the extent that it needed to be replaced.

Simply put, the insurance company’s adjuster was not convinced by the three different contractors, each of whom is in business to sell new roofing systems, that the home required a new roofing system as a direct result of the claimed hail event.

Sometimes, the overall condition of the roof may indeed require that the roof be replaced. The roofing contractor is doing his job by correctly informing the homeowner of that need and is certainly able to observe and communicate that to the insurance adjuster. The adjuster might even agree with him regarding the overall condition of the roof – however, what is required in most cases, to recover money from the insurance carrier to pay for the replacement of the roof, is physical proof that the reported damage is the only cause for that condition. It has been my observation that this is the point where many roof claims presented by roofing contractors, prohibited by law to negotiate the claim on behalf of a homeowner, fall short under those limitations.

Your consultation with a reputable roofing contractor or roofing expert is a key step as you begin to prepare to present your claim to your insurance company. If you know what to request from your roofing contractor so that you can acquire and present proof of your loss to your insurance company, you can present that proof to your adjuster who, under the state rules that govern insurance claims, must respond to you on the record to the proof that you present. This is what your licensed public adjuster would do on your behalf, as well.

There are a select few high-end roofing companies in Missouri that are staffed with experienced professionals who have proven to be able to acquire and provide convincing evidence that I have used to turn claims that were initially denied by the insurance company into recoveries of $80,000.00 to $925,000.00 – but the collected evidence was presented to the insurance company by me.

In the absence of such proof of loss or if the adjuster is simply not accepting the sales presentation from the roofing contractor as being definitive, the policyholder will likely be unsuccessful in his attempt to obtain more than what the adjuster initially values the loss to be – whether the adjuster is correct or not.

Since the roofing contractor does not officially represent the policyholder with his claim, the adjuster has the freedom to totally disregard anything that the contractor directly presents to him. Where the insurance company’s adjuster must respond to your written requests in writing, he can reject arguments presented by your roofing contractor without justification or explanation. In certain instances, the insurance adjuster will go as far as to ignore or refuse to communicate with the roofing contractor on site since there is no requirement for him to do so.

Keep this in mind when you decide to ask your roofing contractor to present your roofing claim to your insurance company. A “no” to your roofing contractor from your insurance adjuster is not always the final word.




This Blog/Web Site is made available by James H. Bushart, Public Adjuster LLC for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the work of a public adjuster, not to provide specific legal advice. The authors and/or site manager make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. By using this blog site you understand that there is no public adjuster/client relationship between you and James H. Bushart, Public Adjuster LLC.  The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state, nor should it be used as a substitute for competent maintenance or repair advice from a qualified contractor licensed to perform work in your state.

2019 – Our Most Interesting Claims

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The owner of a condominium building suffered damage to an expensive copper and slate tile roof and filed an insurance claim. The adjuster from the insurance company inspected the damage and determined that there was no damage associated with the storm. He added extra weight to his denial of the claim by paying an engineer to inspect the roof and agree with him, and the engineer he paid dutifully complied with his request. The owner’s roofing contractor recommended that he contact me to see if I could assist him. After a close review of the engineer’s written report, I found that the engineer did NOT say what the insurance company interpreted and that the report supported the owner’s claim.  In a matter of a few weeks, we negotiated a payment of over $21,000.00 to repair his roof.

The owner of a 125-year-old building in a historical district suffered hail damage to a unique roofing system made from materials that have not been manufactured since 1945. Using an engineering report that they had acquired from a young man who had graduated engineering school eighteen months prior to this inspection, his insurance company offered the owner a small amount of money to make insufficient repairs that were not consistent with the design of the roof or with the ordinances enforced within the historic district. After several months of fruitless debate with his insurance company and with the recommendation of his roofing contractor, he contacted me. I negotiated an agreement for a settlement of over $236,000.00.

The owner of a commercial building that had suffered severe damage from wind and hail filed a claim with his out-of-state insurance company in Florida. Although the roof was damaged to where it was leaking water into the businesses below, his insurance company hired an engineer to agree with their decision to deny the claim, refused to pay him anything for his damage, and did not answer his numerous inquiries for over six months. At the end of his rope, he contacted me for assistance. After three months of negotiations and using nothing more than the language in the engineering report that the insurance company had used to deny the claim, I negotiated an agreement for them to pay my client over $682,000.00 for the replacement of the destroyed roof for which they had previously refused to pay anything.

A church in a major metropolitan area in Missouri sustained substantial damage from hail, wind, and a lightning strike in the spring of 2018. While the insurance company was going through the motions of adjusting the claim and promising payment, by the summer of 2019 the church had yet to receive any of the money that had been promised from the insurance company to begin the repair and, additionally, the most substantial and expensive part of their loss had not been addressed at all. Their contractor suggested that the church leaders contact me for help. Within a matter of weeks, I negotiated the release of over $70,000.00 of past due funds owed to the policyholder and initiated recovery for an additional $180,000.00 for damages that were overlooked and not included in the original settlement.

A family in a large city in western Missouri suffered a devastating fire that destroyed most of their home. Their insurance company paid them slightly over $94,000 to rebuild their home. They could not find a contractor willing to do all the work for that amount of money, so they contacted me for help. I negotiated with their insurer on their behalf, and we agreed to a total settlement of $171,201.00 so that the home could be restored to its original condition.

Computer Generated Estimates from Insurance Adjusters

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It may come as a surprise to you to learn that the overwhelming majority of insurance adjusters, no matter which insurance company they work for, use the same computer software to generate estimates from which they pay insurance claims.  The corporation that owns and manages the software that creates the computer-generated estimate that your adjuster is using to pay your claim is called Verisk Analytics, Inc.

When you visit this page of the website for Verisk Analytics, Inc. you will see something very interesting about its managers and Board of Directors.  Most of them, including the director that bears the title of “Lead Director” are from the insurance industry and/or have professional backgrounds in the very closely associated financial investment industry.  Very few, if any, have backgrounds or practical experience in the industries or trades associated with performing the restoration work or providing the materials that are represented in these computer-generated estimates.

This could lead a reasonable person to question whether the computer-generated estimate provided by the insurance adjuster represents the financial interests of the insurance industry managing and producing it … or the interests of the policyholder who is presumably expected to have enough money to fully restore his property from the amount estimated by the software program.

Prudent policyholders, however, will carefully read their policies and discover that their payments from their insurance companies are to be based upon the actual … and not the “estimated” … cost of restoration.  They will know that they are not limited to receive only the insurance adjuster’s home-grown estimate generated by his own industry’s managed computer software program but are entitled, instead, to the amounts that it will actually cost to replace or restore the property that is destroyed or damaged.

If they don’t know this and settle for what the computer-generated estimate guesses that their payment should be, they are likely to be underpaid for their loss.