Getting the Right Adjuster

When you have a sudden, major property loss, you follow the prescribed process for filing a claim with the insurance company; however, there are a few things you should consider.  They most often assign an adjuster to work with you on the claim.  This adjuster may or may not have the experience and understanding needed to make the claim and recovery process run smoothly.  If an adjuster is not familiar with the technical specifics of your industry, the claim process will dramatically slow down or completely stall. 

Knowing in advance of a loss whom your adjuster will be, their experience, their approach and their sense of urgency can pay huge dividends when the real loss occurs.  There are a number of ways to ensure losses will be adjusted by seasoned, industry claims specialists.  The most common way is to have the desired adjuster identified in the policy.   When you’re facing a catastrophe with hundreds of thousands (even millions) of dollars at stake, knowing that an experienced adjuster is driving the claim and helping you through the recovery as fast as possible is a comforting position.  A PSF client recently learned the benefits of having a knowledgeable adjuster assigned to the policy.

Why is this Important?

Our client had a power generation unit that had been running for over 20 years without a single forced outage. Unfortunately, about mid-season, the unit failed. Throughout its life, the unit had the benefit of excellent maintenance and operation, but occasionally, things break and our client needed a very fast turnaround in order to fulfill the needs of their customers.  Fortunately, years before the loss, we had the insurance company agree to assign an independent adjuster to the policy that had power generation experience.    She was knowledgeable of the equipment, the industry, the urgency of the situation and had numerous contacts in the industry to expedite the recovery.   She responded quickly and agreed to pay for a full repair, which turned out to be weeks faster than replacing the damaged equipment with new. This saved them about over $200,000 in equipment costs and lost time.

Recommendations

This situation could have gone wrong in so many respects. Less experienced adjusters often have a considerably slower turn around as they learn the business while handling the claim.

What we look for in a good adjuster is:

  • Industry knowledge – Without it, they may not realize all of the nuances or nature of your claim as related to your industry.
  • Fairness –This is absolutely essential when trying to state your case regarding verbiage in your policy.
  • Sense of Urgency – Like our client above, a quick turnaround could save you a considerable amount of money.
  • Experience – You want an adjuster that’s pretty much seen it all and knows what “worst” looks like.
  • Respect –By garnering the respect of the insurance company, the adjuster’s decisions are more readily accepted.

Don’t forget, whether the adjuster is “in-house” or “independent ,“ both work for and are paid by the insurance company. However, whenever possible, we push to have industry specific, knowledgeable and trusted adjusters pre-assigned for all of our policies. If you don’t know who your adjuster is on a particular policy, the Energy/Power Practice Group can take a look at your policy, and maybe we can change that.

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