There are a number of things that can go wrong while owning a home, condominium or commercial property, such as fire losses, water damage losses, water or sewage backups, fallen trees, wind damage, etc. The big question is what to do when you experience some type of property damage loss to your real property or personal property, and when you might need the assistance of a public adjuster.

A public adjuster is an individual or company, licensed with the Connecticut Insurance Department, that negotiates, adjusts and/or settles a first party insurance claim on behalf of an insured for monetary compensation.   The parties will execute a document entitled a Public Adjuster Employment Contract, and this document typically contains a standard ten percent (10%) fee to the public adjuster under the regulations in the state of Connecticut, for any amounts recovered.  The public adjuster is not permitted to charge more than ten percent (10%) of the actual or final settlement from the insurance company.  It is also regulated that a public adjuster may not solicit a potential client between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.

It is quite common for people to become overwhelmed in attempting to resolve property damage claims on their own with insurance companies, and public adjusters can work on your behalf to assist you in that process.  The public adjuster would be involved with communicating and negotiating with insurance company representatives; preparing any estimates of the losses; helping to place a value on any damaged property, whether real or personal property or loss of inventory; and assisting with items such as loss of use, additional living expenses, and loss of rents.  It is also important to know that the majority of insurance policies contain one or two year statute of limitations within which to file suit, in the event that the claim cannot be resolved either by yourself or with the assistance of a public adjuster.  If your claim is not resolved within the time frame set forth in your policy, then it might be necessary to obtain assistance from an attorney in order to file a lawsuit and protect your claims under the insurance policy.

While people might be hesitant to enlist the services of a public adjuster in light of the ten percent fee, it is often times beneficial to have the assistance of a public adjuster in order for an insured to try and obtain as much coverage as possible under the policy.  It is important to remember that the public adjuster is working on your behalf and is motivated to try to negotiate, adjust and settle your claim as soon as reasonably possible.  It is also important to realize that not all claims will settle, and some will end up in litigation due to things such as liability issues, denials of coverage and/or differences in valuation.  Nonetheless, a public adjuster can be a good starting point when you suffer a first party claim and you feel like you are in over your head with dealing with the insurance company.

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