Should I hire a Public Adjuster for this claim?

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Lucky Lemon
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Should I hire a Public Adjuster for this claim?

Post by Lucky Lemon »

Bogleheads,

MIL’s house on Long Island suffered significant roof and siding damage from a tree during Tropical Storm Isaias. There is also much water damage on the interior of the house. Fortunately, my MIL was not in the house at the time of the storm – she was with us on the other side of the country. The neighbors did a great job of trying to mitigate the damage to the interior of the house.

The insurance adjuster has inspected the house and has given us the estimate (seems reasonable, so far). My question is due to the distance and difficulty of travel is hiring a public adjuster to oversee the project (and general contractor) a good idea? Do public adjusters even find, hire, and oversee the general contractor?

Does anyone have any recommendations for a public adjuster and/or general contractor on Long Island?

Of course we are reaching out to the neighbors and acquaintances on Long Island, but I would appreciate the BH prospective.

Thank you!
LL
Last edited by Lucky Lemon on Fri Aug 21, 2020 6:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy. - Red Green
jbmitt
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Re: Should I hire a Public Adjustor for this claim?

Post by jbmitt »

Public adjusters have to take a cut. So either they will want a percentage of the settlement, or they will 'build' the damages up. I'd find a contractor and have them work directly with insurance. If there are multiple trades involved, a general contractor should be happy with the overhead and profit paid by the insurer. A PA is another mouth to feed.
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Lucky Lemon
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Re: Should I hire a Public Adjustor for this claim?

Post by Lucky Lemon »

jbmitt wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 5:44 pm Public adjusters have to take a cut. So either they will want a percentage of the settlement, or they will 'build' the damages up. I'd find a contractor and have them work directly with insurance. If there are multiple trades involved, a general contractor should be happy with the overhead and profit paid by the insurer. A PA is another mouth to feed.
Thanks for your thoughts.

My preference would be to hire a general contractor, but how to find one that is competent, will work with the insurance company, and has availability from 3000 miles away? I would be willing to pay someone to act for me in this case as we can't travel to NY at this time.

If we were able to be on site I would even consider acting as my own general contractor.

LL
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy. - Red Green
antwerp
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Re: Should I hire a Public Adjuster for this claim?

Post by antwerp »

Sorry to hear about your MIL's home damage. I am on LI and witnessed what was a very bad storm. Much worse than forecasted.

You may want to consult with an Architect to oversee the rebuilding process. They will hire qualified contractor (s) that they have worked with on prior projects. Everything will and should be done via a written contract. This can give you some peace of mind given your geographic distance.

You can probably get some names by contacting the local chapter of the AIA society.

As a prior forum member advised, I would refrain from using a public adjuster.

Best of luck with the rebuild.
DarkHelmetII
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Re: Should I hire a Public Adjuster for this claim?

Post by DarkHelmetII »

When, if ever, is it advisable to hire a public adjuster? And how do you find one?
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Lucky Lemon
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Re: Should I hire a Public Adjuster for this claim?

Post by Lucky Lemon »

antwerp wrote: Fri Aug 21, 2020 11:57 pm Sorry to hear about your MIL's home damage. I am on LI and witnessed what was a very bad storm. Much worse than forecasted.

You may want to consult with an Architect to oversee the rebuilding process. They will hire qualified contractor (s) that they have worked with on prior projects. Everything will and should be done via a written contract. This can give you some peace of mind given your geographic distance.

You can probably get some names by contacting the local chapter of the AIA society.

As a prior forum member advised, I would refrain from using a public adjuster.

Best of luck with the rebuild.
Thank you. The architect idea seems good. I will look into it.

LL
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy. - Red Green
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Lucky Lemon
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Re: Should I hire a Public Adjuster for this claim?

Post by Lucky Lemon »

DarkHelmetII wrote: Sat Aug 22, 2020 5:13 am When, if ever, is it advisable to hire a public adjuster? And how do you find one?
I'm not sure if it is ever advisable to hire a public adjuster. The business seems a bit "scammy" to me. I think I first heard about public adjusters on Bogleheads.

Google turned up several in the New York area.

LL
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy. - Red Green
jbmitt
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Re: Should I hire a Public Adjuster for this claim?

Post by jbmitt »

Lucky Lemon wrote: Sat Aug 22, 2020 1:59 pm
DarkHelmetII wrote: Sat Aug 22, 2020 5:13 am When, if ever, is it advisable to hire a public adjuster? And how do you find one?
I'm not sure if it is ever advisable to hire a public adjuster. The business seems a bit "scammy" to me. I think I first heard about public adjusters on Bogleheads.

Google turned up several in the New York area.

LL
I worked on the other side as a large loss adjuster for a speciality insurer and encountered public adjusters on a few occasions. Typically, they didn't add value to the claim for our policyholders. While I can't say for certain, I think they were more helpful for 'discount' homeowners insurance companies with a reputation for cutting corners.

I did run into one on a pretty significant fire loss to a historic home. In that scenario, it worked out well because they had contacts who were able to help us fairly assess the rebuild/replacement cost for interior craftsman elements. The house was also grandfathered in to current zoning laws and carried an endorsement for building code improvements. In addition to the loss, the homeowner/policyholder was upfront about wanting to do other improvements to the property, unrelated to insurance. In this case, the owner wasn't strapped for money.

More commonly, policyholders were misinformed or solicited by public adjusters. Some thought a public adjuster was necessary for any claim, others didn't first attempt resolution via insurance. In Florida there were lots of pipe/water loss claims where the vendors would obtain an assignment of benefits from the policyholder, inflate the claim, and then because of the AOB could try to file suit for the inflated damages. It was always a mess. Try to avoid signing your rights away. I would always encourage resolution with the insurer, but if there is an impasse, consider bringing in an additional party.

Thinking out loud, we used building consultants from time to time to manage certain complex elements. I wonder if there is a residential equivalent. JS Held was a firm that we did business with. I'm removed from the work these days, but something to consider.
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Lucky Lemon
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Re: Should I hire a Public Adjuster for this claim?

Post by Lucky Lemon »

jbmitt wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 9:31 pm
Lucky Lemon wrote: Sat Aug 22, 2020 1:59 pm
DarkHelmetII wrote: Sat Aug 22, 2020 5:13 am When, if ever, is it advisable to hire a public adjuster? And how do you find one?
I'm not sure if it is ever advisable to hire a public adjuster. The business seems a bit "scammy" to me. I think I first heard about public adjusters on Bogleheads.

Google turned up several in the New York area.

LL
I worked on the other side as a large loss adjuster for a speciality insurer and encountered public adjusters on a few occasions. Typically, they didn't add value to the claim for our policyholders. While I can't say for certain, I think they were more helpful for 'discount' homeowners insurance companies with a reputation for cutting corners.

I did run into one on a pretty significant fire loss to a historic home. In that scenario, it worked out well because they had contacts who were able to help us fairly assess the rebuild/replacement cost for interior craftsman elements. The house was also grandfathered in to current zoning laws and carried an endorsement for building code improvements. In addition to the loss, the homeowner/policyholder was upfront about wanting to do other improvements to the property, unrelated to insurance. In this case, the owner wasn't strapped for money.

More commonly, policyholders were misinformed or solicited by public adjusters. Some thought a public adjuster was necessary for any claim, others didn't first attempt resolution via insurance. In Florida there were lots of pipe/water loss claims where the vendors would obtain an assignment of benefits from the policyholder, inflate the claim, and then because of the AOB could try to file suit for the inflated damages. It was always a mess. Try to avoid signing your rights away. I would always encourage resolution with the insurer, but if there is an impasse, consider bringing in an additional party.

Thinking out loud, we used building consultants from time to time to manage certain complex elements. I wonder if there is a residential equivalent. JS Held was a firm that we did business with. I'm removed from the work these days, but something to consider.
Thank you for your detailed post. Very helpful.

LL
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy. - Red Green
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AAA
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Re: Should I hire a Public Adjuster for this claim?

Post by AAA »

We went through a similar damage situation recently and hired a general contractor who was recommended to us by an acquaintance in the business. The contractor worked with the township and the insurance company to get permits, inspections and agreed upon estimates and his crew did the repair work. I'm not sure why an architect would be needed, but it may depend on the situation.
Perkunas
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Re: Should I hire a Public Adjuster for this claim?

Post by Perkunas »

I live in a county that had severe damage in September 2018 due to Hurricane Florence.

Prior to the hurricane, I had never even heard of a public adjuster.

Since the hurricane, I heard numerous stories of public adjusters providing significant help to people who were getting screwed by their insurance companies. My understanding is that they're entirely paid by commission based on the additional insurance payout they get for you.

I don't believe the PA works as a GC. After our hurricane, the adjusters and public adjusters had such a backlog of work that there is no way they could've overseen the jobs. Some people are still battling their insurance for Florence damages.

The question of whether to hire a PA is, generally, when you determine (or believe) that insurance is not adequately covering the damages that you believe should be covered. You may need to get quotes from people who would actually perform the repair work to see if the original insurance claim is in the ballpark of reality.
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Lucky Lemon
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Re: Should I hire a Public Adjuster for this claim?

Post by Lucky Lemon »

AAA wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 3:31 pm We went through a similar damage situation recently and hired a general contractor who was recommended to us by an acquaintance in the business. The contractor worked with the township and the insurance company to get permits, inspections and agreed upon estimates and his crew did the repair work. I'm not sure why an architect would be needed, but it may depend on the situation.
We are hoping that we can find a GC that will do all of that. It is hard to know who to trust when one is 3000 miles away and we can't meet people in person.
Perkunas wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 4:16 pm I live in a county that had severe damage in September 2018 due to Hurricane Florence.

Prior to the hurricane, I had never even heard of a public adjuster.

Since the hurricane, I heard numerous stories of public adjusters providing significant help to people who were getting screwed by their insurance companies. My understanding is that they're entirely paid by commission based on the additional insurance payout they get for you.

I don't believe the PA works as a GC. After our hurricane, the adjusters and public adjusters had such a backlog of work that there is no way they could've overseen the jobs. Some people are still battling their insurance for Florence damages.

The question of whether to hire a PA is, generally, when you determine (or believe) that insurance is not adequately covering the damages that you believe should be covered. You may need to get quotes from people who would actually perform the repair work to see if the original insurance claim is in the ballpark of reality.
So far the insurance company has seemed reasonable. Of course, once the repairs are underway there may be more damage than previously thought. I think the key will be finding a GC that has experience working with insurance companies. So far many of them don't seem to have the desire or skills to interface with the insurance company although I believe most of them are competent for the repair work.

Thank you both for your comments.

LL
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy. - Red Green
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AAA
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Re: Should I hire a Public Adjuster for this claim?

Post by AAA »

Lucky Lemon wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 6:48 pmWe are hoping that we can find a GC that will do all of that. It is hard to know who to trust when one is 3000 miles away and we can't meet people in person.
It's likely that your MIL's house was not the only one affected. Have her neighbors been working with any contractors? Maybe they could recommend someone.
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Lucky Lemon
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Re: Should I hire a Public Adjuster for this claim?

Post by Lucky Lemon »

AAA wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 7:50 pm
Lucky Lemon wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 6:48 pmWe are hoping that we can find a GC that will do all of that. It is hard to know who to trust when one is 3000 miles away and we can't meet people in person.
It's likely that your MIL's house was not the only one affected. Have her neighbors been working with any contractors? Maybe they could recommend someone.
We are still hoping to get some leads from the neighbors and acquaintances, but so far nothing has panned out.

LL
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy. - Red Green
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