My Back Office FAQs:
Because the practice of public insurance adjusting has undergone several changes in recent years, and many of these changes are in the interest of the homeowner, My Back Office recognizes that many customers may have questions about public insurance adjusting. For this reason, My Back Office provides the following list of questions and answers. Of course, if you have a question that you don’t see answered here, contact us and we will gladly help you.
What is a Public Insurance Adjuster?
A public insurance adjuster is an independent specialist hired by the homeowner to review the insurance claim and provide an independent assessment of the home’s damage.
Why would a home owner hire a Public Insurance Adjuster?
The insurance adjuster sent out by the insurance company works for the insurance company and therefore has an obligation to the insurance company to minimize the home’s damage and shrink the size of the claim. A public insurance adjuster, on the other hand, is hired by the homeowner, to provide an independent review of the home’s damage, and serves as an advocate for the homeowner in negotiating the insurance settlement.
How is a Public Insurance Adjuster paid?
A public insurance adjuster is paid in one of two ways. Some public adjusters will work for a flat fee paid by the homeowner. Other adjusters will work for a percentage (20% in the case of non-disaster cases, and 10% in the case of disaster cases) of the total claim which is paid out by the home insurance company.
Are Public Adjusters regulated?
Public insurance adjusters are regulated by the Colorado Division of Insurance and therefore must be licensed with this division and abide by the regulations set forth by them. To find out if a public adjuster is licensed, contact the Colorado Division of Insurance at 303-894-7490 (800-930-3745 toll-free outside Denver metro area) or visit our website at askdora.colorado.gov and click on “Division of Insurance.”
Is there anything to be aware of before hiring a Public Insurance Adjuster?
According to the Department Of Regulatory Agencies website a homeowner who wishes to hire a public insurance adjuster should:
• Make sure the person is licensed by the Colorado Division of Insurance. You can call the Division of Insurance at 303-894-7490 to verify a license and to find out if the public adjuster holds a resident or non-resident license.
• Find out where the licensed public adjuster resides permanently. After disasters, sometimes out-of-state individuals will travel to another state to handle claims. If Page 2 of 2 Colorado Division of Insurance Public Adjusters you choose to use a non-resident licensed public adjuster, be sure to ask if the public adjuster has local references, and check them out before signing a contract.
Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints against this individual or business.
• Find out how long the individual has been a public adjuster. This will give you an idea of his or her experience.
• Ask for local recommendations for others they have assisted in Colorado, and contact the individuals for their opinion of the work.
• Read any contract you are given carefully, and DO NOT SIGN unless you understand and agree to the terms.
Be sure you understand:
Is there an initial deposit required and how much is it?
What fee will be charged or what percentage of claim is promised to the public adjuster?
(For example, on a roofing claim, a policyholder who has agreed to pay a public adjuster 10% has agreed to give the public adjuster $500 if the claim adds up to $5,000. The larger the claim, the greater the amount the public adjuster will be owed.)
When will the public adjuster receive payment?
Does the policyholder pay the public adjuster over time, as work is completed, or is a lump sum due at one time?
Be sure the contract is specific.
Is there any penalty if the contract is cancelled? How much is the penalty, if any?
Notify your insurance company when you have contracted with a public adjuster, and give them the name of the person who is authorized to work with the insurance company on your behalf.
If you meet with a public adjuster and are not sure this is the right person to assist you, be aware that you do not have to sign a contract on the spot. You should meet with more than one public adjuster and make a choice, as well as allow yourself time to check references and the public adjuster’s license.
My Back Office is a Public Adjusting Firm licensed in Colorado, and serves it’s customers through advocacy work, education and superb public insurance adjusting for claims related to hail damage, wind damage, fire, flood, hurricanes and snow.
Department Of Regulatory Agencies, Division Of Insurance Website: http://www.colorado.gov
Public Insurance Adjusters FAQs
Are Public Insurance Adjusters under-regulated?
The best answer to this question is not anymore. Here is the most recent statement from the Colorado State Legislative Office:
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced and does not reflect any amendments that may be subsequently adopted. If this bill passes third reading in the house of introduction, a bill summary that applies to the reengrossed version of this bill will be available at http://www.leg.state.co.us/billsummaries.)
The “Colorado Producer Licensing Model Act” for insurance licensees requires public insurance adjusters, who adjust insurance claims solely on behalf of insureds under property damage insurance policies, to be licensed in this state, but does not otherwise authorize the insurance commissioner (commissioner) to regulate public insurance adjusters, including taking disciplinary action in cases of misconduct.
The bill makes the following changes to enhance the regulatory authority of the commissioner with respect to public insurance adjusters:
• Includes public adjusters as “insurance producers” so that the “Colorado Producer Licensing Model Act” fully applies to public adjusters;
• Extends existing continuing education requirements to public adjusters in order for them to maintain licensure in the same manner as other licensed insurance producers;
• Confirms that previously licensed public adjusters continue to be licensed under the changes made by the bill, including the need to comply with financial responsibility requirements;
• Requires public adjusters to have financial responsibility as evidenced by a surety bond or letter of credit;
• Sets standards for compensation of public adjusters by insureds, including a limit on compensation in cases of catastrophic disasters;
• Sets standards for the holding of funds of insureds by public adjusters;
• Sets general ethical standards for the conduct of public adjusters; and
• Authorizes the commissioner to promulgate rules relating to requirements for written contracts between public adjusters and insureds and the retention of records by public adjusters.
How do you know if you can trust a Public Insurance Adjuster?
The best way to know if you can trust a public insurance adjuster is to check their license. In Colorado, all public insurance adjusters must be licensed through the Department of Regulatory Agencies Division of Insurance. A quick check of their website www.dora.gov can provide you with a list of licensed public insurance adjusters in Colorado.
3.Does a Public Adjuster really help expedite the claim process?
Critics of public insurance adjusters say that hiring one can actually slow the payment of an insurance claim. However, these critics are also insurance industry stakeholders. In actuality, a public insurance adjusters simply knows the insurance law and can hold an insurance company to their obligation to pay a claim. Public insurance adjusters are not magicians, however, and if you do not have a legitimate claim, will not be able to help you.
This information is provided to you by My Back Office, a public insurance adjusting firm licensed in Colorado and founded to homeowners with the best possible public adjusting experience. My Back Office handles claims related to wind, snow, hail, hurricane, fire and flood.