Today I was at a property damage seminar that described the problem of multiple adjusters as a game of “adjustable musical chairs”. Policyholders, contractors and public adjusters with Hurricane Ian claims will often be faced with multiple insurance company adjusters who will be the primary adjuster before being replaced or going back to their other job. I hate to say this, but I’ve been involved in disaster fee claims since 1985, and this is a much more common problem today than in the past.
How do you handle this? The speakers at the claims seminar said they would make a note of each claims adjuster’s actions and words leading to a timeline. My book, Pay up!: Prevent a disaster with your own insurance companyhave similar advice:
Keep a written record of everything that happens. Keep a running chronology of what you do, who you talk to, what they say and do, and what you see that is important. List everything and keep all receipts, invoices, business cards and anything related to the claim. The claims process can be a blur, and keeping a full chronology of events as they occur can help immensely.
The recent wildfires in Colorado angered Colorado̵7;s insurance commissioner that policyholders had to re-declare claims history to multiple adjusters. Unfortunately, this is what will happen to Hurricane Ian claims unless there is significant change in the insurance claims industry. I quoted a former insurance adjuster explaining the situation in a 2014 post, David Charles, Good Guys and memories of Katrina:
Your blog is required reading in my world. Before I became a public adjuster, I was very proud to be an adjuster general. I worked for 30 years for the insurance companies, and I was proud of our profession.
After Katrina, things changed. I represented Florida citizens in several hundred commercial judgments, and I was devastated to see the abuses. The guys I ran with paid their dues. It was a cold slap in the face to see how badly the citizens treated their policyholders, and I switched sides at age 55, burning all my bridges behind me.
Before that, as a hobby, and to scratch my writing itch, I was a columnist for a baseball website. They knew I was a disaster relief worker and they asked me to blog about my experience going into Ground Zero on Katrina.
Not all corporate adjusters and IAs are evil. Many are good people who do their best to help everyone they meet. All my friends in the industry were in that category. Unfortunately, it is very rare today.
The lesson – keep a timeline and make a note of everything said by the insurance adjuster about the claim at that time. I also suggest you ask who the current supervisor is because the supervisor doesn’t change as often as the field adjusters.
Trust but verify.