5 Step Public Adjuster Claims Process

Step 1 - First Contact

Step 2 - Investigate

Step 3 - Document

Step 4 - Present Claim

Step 5 - Negotiate & Settle Claim

5 Step Property Claim Process

Understanding how the claims process works when a public adjuster is involved will help to set expectations and alleviate worry & miscommunication.

Regardless of the property type, properly handling a claim involves a structured process that when followed, will ensure it is processed properly and given the best chance of being honored and paid by your insurance carrier.

Detailed explanation of the public adjuster claims process

Step 1 - First contact:

The more information you can provide us the better we can answer your questions and concerns (pictures, inventory, etc.). Upon review of your information we will call you to answer any additional questions and then schedule a meeting to inspect your damage. For the initial inspection we should schedule a time when you can be present. Prior to the meeting we will have reviewed your insurance policy to understand the coverage’s we have to work with. It’s of critical importance to have a plan in place based on the loss and the coverages. As an example: Are there enough limits available to hire a restoration company or are items and building components damaged to the extent that paying for the loss will use up your policy limits? There are a number of decisions that need to be made following a loss. These decisions will have a big impact on the outcome of your claim and your recovery. Our initial contact and the steps we recommend based on the facts of your loss and your policy coverage are going to be vital and critical to your recovery.

After the consultation, we hope you will realize the value of having a licensed professional on your side.  In order for us to be your representative and file your claim, you must appoint Smart Claims Public Adjusting as your public adjuster. Thus we will ask you to sign an authorization form allowing us to notify the insurance company. Our professional fee structure will be worked out with you based on your needs and coverages and is generally based upon what we are able to negotiate for you. That means that we are highly motivated to do all we can to make sure you are fairly compensated in your insurance settlements with consideration to your coverage and insurance policy limits. Typically, fees run in the 8%-10% range and are highly dependent upon the type of claim, size of the claim and circumstances of the loss allowing us to gauge the amount of time a claim is likely to take. 

Step 2 - Investigation:

The more information you can provide us the better we can answer your questions and concerns (pictures, inventory, etc.). Upon review of your information we will call you to answer any additional questions and then schedule a meeting to inspect your damage. For the initial inspection we should schedule a time when you can be present. During the meeting we will review your insurance policy to understand the coverage’s we have to work with. It’s of critical importance to have a plan in place based on the loss and the coverages. As an example: Are there enough limits available to hire a restoration company or are items and building components damaged to the extent that paying for the loss will use up your policy limits? There are a number of decisions that need to be made following a loss. These decisions will have a big impact on the outcome of your claim and your recovery. Our initial contact and the steps we recommend based on the facts of your loss and your policy coverage are going to be vital and critical to your recovery.

Step 3 - Documenting:

As the policyholder, you are required under the insurance policy to conform to the "Your Duties After A Loss" provision contained in your policy. This can be an involved and detailed process requiring time and expense to meet the requirements. As your claim representative, your Smart Claims public adjuster will create an exact profile of your property so it reflects its true value and conforms to your insurance policy language. This in-depth process includes: 1) detailed construction estimates with supporting engineering documents if necessary; 2) detailed and verified inventory and contents schedules with correct valuation and supporting documentation and; 3) in-depth business interruption coverage (if applicable).

Step 4 - Presenting the claim:

After the full extent of the loss has been determined and documented, a schedule of losses is prepared and undergoes a complete review by our staff. The claim is then segregated into the separate categories which conform to the various policy provisions that apply. A thorough review of the documents is made with the client and, with final approval the property insurance claim is submitted to the insurance carrier.

Step 5 - Negotiation and settlement:

Upon approval and submission, we initiate claims status follow-up on the insured’s behalf to expedite the processing of the claim. We also make ourselves available to answer any claim clarification requests posed by the insurance company which sometimes uses these as delay tactics. It is typical that there may be some negotiations regarding the claim, which many times boils down to justifying the value and legitimacy of the claim components.  A well-defined position that is professionally documented should gain the respect of the insurance company representative. In addition Tutwiler & Associates expertise and qualifications in fielding any questions should lead to a fair settlement of your claim. It should be noted that no claim is settled without prior approval from the client who will be kept abreast of all negotiations as they proceed. We are also mindful of the negative financial impact of a loss to your property and we pledge to work diligently in resolving your claim in a timely manner.  Our experience has been that perhaps one part of your claim can be settled faster than others and if this can be done we will certainly work to get you paid without jeopardizing the other parts of the claim.