Myths, legends and lies are hard to dispel and correct, especially when doing so appears to financially harm the teller or believer. If the myth is true, the client (the teller/believer) does not need to purchase the coverage on which the lie is based; but if the information is false, the insured is forced to make a business decision not previously required.
“Public adjusters are bad (or good).”
Agents and adjusters generally portray public adjusters as bad for one of two reasons: 1) agents don’t want their clients to think another party can do something for them they can’t; and 2) adjusters may not want to deal with someone who knows as much or more than him/her about the policy language and coverage.
Agents owe a specific contractual duty to the insurance carrier and can only go so far in helping the insured following a loss. Also, agencies likely do not have the manpower necessary to do all the work that a public adjuster does (the good ones anyway). Public adjusters can also devote more time to the claim than the agent. Helping an insured find a REPUTABLE public adjuster may actually be a good service. The key is reputable as there are a lot of public adjusters that, let’s be honest, fraudulently inflate claims and those that charge an unreasonable percentage of the settlement amount.
Adjusters and insurers who do a good job of helping the insured will not trigger the need for a public adjuster. But no adjuster doing a good job should be threatened by an ETHICAL public adjusting firm’s involvement. In fact, an ethical firm can make the adjuster’s job easier because they are thoroughly familiar with the process and can get the claim closed more quickly and efficiently. Unethical firms make an adjuster’s job harder and may actually push fraud on an unsuspecting insured.
Public adjusters are either good or bad depending on the ethics of the firm and the circumstances of the loss. An ethical firm will try to get the insured exactly what they are owed as per the policy provisions and limits. Unethical firms use teabags to stain walls and do other things to try to garner settlements higher than owed based on the original loss (editorial comment: unethical public adjusting firms should be exposed and run out of the business).