Insurance Settlement Expert Urges Property Owners Resist Temptation, Practice Patience, Consider Hiring Own Adjuster to Get Max Hurricane Harvey Damage Claim Payment; More Advice Offered
CLEVELAND, Ohio (August 30, 2017) — Business and home owners anxious to rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Harvey are urged to be patient and methodical in their settlement of insurance claims in order to receive the maximum of what they are due from insurers and other potential sources, advises a national property insurance expert.
“Among the most valuable tools property owners have is resisting the temptation to accept the first settlement offer from an insurer for damage claims,” said Michael C. Perlmuter, President of Alex N. Sill Company, which represents policyholders in insurance claim settlements.
“Insurers and their representatives often rush to get checks to eager property owners for full settlement of their claims. These same policyholders who thought they were receiving all to which they were entitled from the hurricane wind and flood damage are stunned when finding the insurer underpaid what actually was due,” added Perlmuter.
Instead of making that first call to the insurance agent and then accepting the first offer from an insurer, Perlmuter advised it is the second call that best serves owners of commercial and residential properties. Owners have the right to hire their own state licensed public insurance claims adjusters who work only for them. Furthermore, Perlmuter stated it is key the selected public insurance adjuster have considerable experience managing hurricane related claims.
A proficient public adjuster will review the policy coverage, immediately inspect all damage, document the property and personal content damages, review and assemble supporting information and determine current replacement costs.
“Insurance coverage for hurricanes and the resulting wind and water damage is complicated and frequently not easily resolvable in the total favor of policyholders, especially when flooding also is present. Experienced adjustment companies understand the policy language, will fully estimate the cost of all of the damage and be prepared to meet the insured’s burden of proof for maximum recovery,” said Perlmuter.
Sill, based here and with offices nationwide, has decades of hurricane claim experience. Sill adjusters have resolved claims during the last 15 years alone for victims of Hurricanes Matthew, Sandy, Ike, Wilma, Katrina and Charley from Texas and Louisiana to Florida and north to New York and New Jersey.
Resources beyond the long list of insurers who provide property coverage include the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and state run programs such as the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA), the insurer of “last resort” for wind and hail coverage for residential and commercial property owners in 14 coastal counties and parts of Harris County
- Don’t settle too fast, especially since further damage could be done as flooding is predicted to last at least one month.
- Beware of unlicensed and unauthorized contractors. These contractors generally are not trained nor educated in insurance policies or policy language and may not as a matter of law present or negotiate insurance claims on behalf of insureds.
- Be alert to comments from insurance company reps attempting to discourage owners from seeking assistance from a public insurance claims adjuster. They know that the public adjuster will:
* Aggressively fight for the policyholder’s rights and ultimately get more money for the claim;
* Be highly detailed in their review of the damage and thus avoid mistakes or missing damage altogether; and
* Get the policy holder more of what they deserve and in many cases faster.