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An insurance agent is trained and licensed to solicit, negotiate, and produce insurance contracts on behalf of the insurance company. They are not trained to appraise, estimate, or negotiate the settlement of an insurance claim. In some cases insurance agents are not even aware if a loss can be covered under the policy they have issued. While an agent has an important role in the insurance industry, they are not trained, qualified, or licensed to represent the interests of a policyholder. Exclusive or Captive Insurance agents are required to represent the interest of the insurance company; however, HERE you will see that Independent Agents and Public Adjuster can actually work together to be a great asset for the policyholder.
Public Adjusters handle virtually every case on a contingency fee basis, unless other arrangements are specifically made. Under standard contingency fee agreements, if there is no recovery from the insurance carrier, there are no fees owed to the Public Adjuster. This type of agreement is risk free for the policyholder, because if Cornerstone is not successful in recovering payment from the insurance carrier, then the policyholder is not charged for our services. Standard contingency fees are usually a small percentage of the negotiated settlement, ensuring that each policyholder receives the maximum settlement amount, they are entitled to, under the insurance policy.
The short answer is yes, but the real questions is, why would you? If you have a serious illness, would you go to a medical professional or just hope the illness went away? If you were audited by the IRS, would you represent yourself or have a certified accountant present your case to the IRS? If you were ever involved in a lawsuit, would you defend yourself or hire an attorney to represent you? All of the above are examples of where professional services are needed and where an experienced professional can considerably affect the outcome of your specific situation. Some people try to handle very important situations on their own, while this is admirable, it usually doesn't have the best results. Unless you are an insurance adjuster or an attorney specializing in insurance contracts, handling your own claim may not provide the best results.
A company or staff adjuster is an insurance claims adjuster, usually licensed by the state, who is an employee of the insurance company and is required to appraise, estimate, and negotiate an insurance claim. The main difference today between a company or staff adjuster and an independent adjuster is that the independent adjuster can work for multiple insurance companies, while a company or staff adjuster only works for their employer. A company or staff adjuster is required to represent the interest of the insurance company.
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Not all losses are covered under an insurance policy; however, unless you are an insurance adjuster or an attorney specializing in insurance contracts, you may not know if the denial of the claim was the correct decision or not. This is where the policy experts at Cornerstone can help. We study, read, understand, and speak policy language. Some claims are wrongly denied and you may need a policy expert to determine if the denial was true and just. We are more than qualified to review your claim and policy to determine if you have suffered from a covered loss. Claim review, policy review, and loss consulting is provided at no cost by Cornerstone Public Adjusting & Consulting.
An independent adjuster is an insurance claims adjuster, usually licensed by the state, who is hired by the insurance company to appraise, estimate, and negotiate an insurance claim. By definition an independent adjuster should be a disinterested, neutral third party hired to appraise, estimate, and negotiate an insurance claim without bias. For many years independent adjusters truly were independent; however, the industry has changed. Today due to unpublished, hidden, and secret "guidelines" set forth by the insurance companies, an independent adjuster is caught between a rock and hard place. Accurately estimating and recommending payment on a loss, may go against one of these unpublished guidelines. This requires the independent adjuster to choose between making the correct, fair, and accurate call for the policyholder and following the rules set forth by the company who is supplying them with assignments. Unfortunately most independent adjusters are not willing to stand up to the insurance company, for fear of being "blackballed". Today an independent adjuster is required to represent the interest of the insurance company.
Are you a trained professional in the insurance industry? If the answer is no, then you may need a Public Adjuster. The insurance company has many trained professionals working to protect their interests, it only makes since that the policyholder should have a professional working to protect their interests as well. Having a Public Adjuster is an assurance that a professional is working on your behalf to ensure you receive every benefit applicable under your policy. Statistics show over and over again that using a Public Adjuster typically results in a much higher payment to the policyholder, than those who did not use a Public Adjuster. Statistics show that the average increase in payment is typically between 550% - 750% more when a Public Adjuster is utilized.
Absolutely Not! In any professional industry, the actions of some can paint a broad picture for the entire industry. Taking a one size fits all approach to an insurance claim is not the way Cornerstone operates. We believe that each claim is unique and requires special attention to every detail. Not all claims are covered under an insurance policy, and sometimes the insurance company may correctly address the coverage and the amount paid; in these rare cases, you do not need our services and you can rest confidently knowing that we will explain this to you upfront.
Contractors play a critical role in repairing and replacing damaged property after a loss has occurred; however, contractors can not legally represent a policyholder against an insurance company. It is a conflict of interest, and against the law in most states, for a Public Adjuster to be directly involved in the repair process of a claim; therefore, most contractors are not Public Adjusters. Some contractors may have a background in the insurance industry and this can be helpful in the overall process; however, it does not allow the contractor to represent the interest of the policyholder without being licensed as a Public Adjuster by the state. Insurance companies are not obligated to negotiate with a contractor and in some cases they will intentionally give disinformation to a contractor. Be cautious of contractors acting as unlicensed public adjusters. Allowing a contractor to represent your interests during a loss could be detrimental to your claim and is illegal in most states.
Getting the insurance company to acknowledge and accept a covered loss is only one aspect of the claim process. Once a loss is determined to be covered under the policy, the next step is documenting the damages. In some cases this is the responsibility of the policyholder. Most policyholders are not trained experts in documenting damages, this is why the insurance company will send out their own adjuster. In some cases insurance carriers have intentionally provided "low-ball" offers to policyholders in exchange for prompt service. The policyholders who rejected the intentional low offers then had their claim delayed or denied. This is known as"The Three Ds: Delay, Deny, Defend." Do not make the mistake of believing that just because a loss is covered, that your claim is going to be handled promptly and professionally. Cornerstone Public Adjusters know the tricks and tactics that are used by insurance companies and will hold their feet to the fire when it comes to promptly and professionally settling your claim.
A Public Adjuster is an insurance claims adjuster, licensed by the state, who advocates solely for the interest of the policyholder in appraising, estimating, and negotiating a policyholder's insurance claim. Only a licensed public adjuster or an attorney can legally represent the interest of a policyholder against an insurance company. Your insurance company will never tell you that you have the right to hire a Public Adjuster, there is a reason for this. Cornerstone Public Adjusters are fully licensed, bonded, and insured and comply with all department of insurance regulations.