Hi Harbour clients and friends,
For those of you who have had home and/or flood claims please read.
Before we jump into insurance and claim talk. What we all have gone through the last 2 ½ weeks has been very hard. You all should stop for a second and congratulate yourself, your family, and your community for all the hard work you have done to this point. We all got tossed around by Ian, lost homes, or contents, lost irreplaceable photos / items, had to find a place to live, buy cars, live in limbo, wonder about finances, etc. To get to the point of where you are right now is amazing. You all know how much I love this country. I love it for all the diverse people that make this country so great. Stephen Ambrose in his seminal book “D-Day” wrote that we won WW2 because we had “Citizen Soldiers” who were not professional soldiers but had the attitude that united they could defeat whatever was in front of them. I see the same thing that Ambrose wrote about in the rebuilding of Southwest Florida. We are not all experts at rebuilding but together and united we are and will do this. So please pause for a moment, pat yourself on the back and those around you, and relish the fact of how great we are.
If you made a home and / or flood insurance claim from Hurricane Ian you should be at the “adjuster meeting you at your property” phase. There are a few phases of a large claim, and they are detailed below. Every claim can flow differently but this is what you should expect.
- Actual Loss
- Making the claim: contacting the insurance company about the loss and getting a claim number
- Remediation: Taking steps to reduce the loss before the insurance company visits (tarp, dry out house, call a remediation company, etc.)
- Assignment of the Adjuster: The insurance company gets your file to the right adjuster who specializes in the type of loss you had, and they contact you to schedule a meeting.
- Adjuster meeting at your property: This is where the adjuster sees the loss, takes notes and measurements, and talks to you. They are collecting data for their report.
- Adjusters report: The adjuster sends you a detailed report of your loss and a calculation of how they arrived at their settlement offer.
- Claim moved to closed or continued discussion on coverages and price to rebuild:
- Completion of work. Insurance company inspects and pays you the final amount and closes the claim.
Adjuster At Your Property Phase
This past week or this coming week you should have the adjuster coming to your property. These adjusters are most likely from out of town and have uprooted to move here for six months to adjust claims. They are licensed and professional. They know a lot. My approach is to make them feel welcome, walk them through the property and tell them exactly what you lost, answer questions and provide them with any follow-up items they need. Do not expect them to give you settlement money or tell you exactly what is and is not covered on every item. Remember they are adjusting for many different companies / policies, and they are all a little different. Make sure they have your correct contact info and ask them when you should be hearing back from them. The adjuster then goes back and puts together a very detailed loss report into a software system that calculates the specific loss. They then pass that along to the desk adjuster who applies that to your specific policy. They then will send you the adjuster report.
Some adjusters have great “bedside manners,” but some do not. Remember these folks most likely chose to be storm-chasing adjusters for a reason: they like to be alone; they like to apply their very technical trade and don’t ever want to be the store greeter at a Target. So, if they are quiet or a little short, don’t take it personally. Regardless of their manner, they have to follow what is written in your insurance contract.
I will say that 90% of the storm-chasing adjusters are methodical in their job and they just want to get things right. They are not trying to not cover things (I know that’s a double negative); in fact, they look to cover things. It’s not their money they are paying you with, but it is their license. They lose their license when they cover or don’t cover something right. They also are not negotiators. In fact, they are usually very poor at it and hate to do it.
The best way to be “made whole” by an insurance company and communicate well with an adjuster is to educate yourself on what is covered in your policy. I have been to numerous adjuster meetings where I remind them that something is covered, and they are thankful I said that- I basically made their job easier. My suggestion is to educate yourself on your policy. The bigger the loss the more you should spend time reading your policy. I know it is incredibly boring and full of new terms, but it is worth it. If you do not have your policy, you can go online to most carrier websites, sign in and download it. Please go to their website and sign in and get a password if you have not done so. Please try this first before contacting us to send it to you- we are trying to use our resources right now to help navigate claims.