As we put Hurricane Irma in our rearview mirror, Florida must move forward by dealing with the harsh reality of the storm’s aftermath. For those with storm-related damages, this requires filing claims with their property insurance carriers. But when insureds do make a claim, they are often advised not to seek out attorneys or public adjusters to assist them with their claim. The faulty reason given is often that hiring an attorney or public adjuster to assist them will delay their claim or unnecessarily cost them money. This article will discuss in greater depth why it is important to talk with an attorney or public adjuster about your Hurricane Irma claim as soon as possible.
Know Your Rights
Florida prohibits insurance company adjusters from telling policyholders not seek out the advice or services of an attorney or public adjuster. This is because the law recognizes the benefit to policyholders of obtaining independent advice and representation during the insurance claim process- which can be complex and confusing to those not familiar with it.
In this regard, it’s important to know what interests are represented by an insurance company or “independent” adjuster working for an insurance company as compared with the interests of a public adjuster or attorney representing an insured. An adjuster working for an insurance company is working to protect the insurers’ best interests, not those of the insured. This can lead to coverages not being disclosed, claims being underpaid, or improper claim denial. Sometimes this occurs because the adjusters for the insurance company are poorly trained and just make mistakes. In the worst case scenario, these things occur serve the goal of saving the insurance company money. Whatever the reason, not fully paying and honoring valid claims is wrong.
A public adjuster or attorney, on the other hand, represents the insured’s interests. They will work to find coverage and pursue the maximum allowable payment owed for the insureds’ damages under the policy. If an insurance company adjuster advises you not to contact or use an attorney or public adjuster, you can report this violation to the compliance department of the Department of Financial Services and 877-693-5236 or http://www.myfloridacfo.com/. Every Floridian has the right to have an experienced professional advocate on the behalf.
Murray + Murray attorney David Murray recently spoke with reporter Monika Mesa of the Daily Business Review regarding Insurance Companies misguiding claimants in regards to their Hurricane Irma Claim Rights. Dave told the Daily Business review that “There’s a difference between telling people not to hire someone and [telling them] they don’t need to hire someone, It’s all in the delivery.”
Know the Facts
Failing to contact an advocate who will work on your behalf can end up costing you an exorbitant amount of money in the form of unpaid coverages and underpaid damages. Insurance companies have been calling and emailing policyholders since the storm to ask them to report claims before the insured can approach an attorney or public adjuster for assistance. Opening a dialogue with an attorney or public adjuster that has an understanding of the insurance policy language and insurance company practices is not only the right of every policyholder, but is a prudent course of action.
Opening a dialogue with an attorney or public adjuster that has an understanding of the insurance policy language and insurance company practices is not only the right of every policyholder but is a prudent course of action.
With hurricane season continuing until November 3, we are not yet out of danger. If you have a claim, protect yourself and your valuable investment. Make sure your claim is fully and fairly paid. Call an attorney or public adjuster today as soon as possible to learn your rights under your policy for your Hurricane claim. Then decide how to proceed once you know the facts!
All lawyer consultations at Murray + Murray are free of charge.
At Murray + Murray, our proven Florida property insurance law attorneys are well-acquainted with the challenges insurers face in the aftermath of a severe weather event like Hurricane Matthew. We have assisted Florida Insureds with their hurricane claims since 1992. Our firm has recovered hundreds of millions in coverage for clients and businesses throughout Florida and is ready to assess your post-hurricane claim today. No claim is too small or too big.
We can help you get the insurance coverage you are owed, that you paid for, and that you deserve. Use our online form to request a free case evaluation.
Mesa, M. G. (2017). Insurance Companies Accused of Misguiding Claimants. Daily Business Review. Retrieved September 18, 2017, from