Many homeowners don’t fully understand their property insurance policies and are at a disadvantage when negotiating with their insurers about repairs needed after a fire, theft, hurricane or other disaster.
Public insurance adjusters assess damages, determine what the policy covers, document evidence to support claims and assess what repairs will cost. In Florida, they can charge up to 10 percent of the undisputed portion of hurricane claims and up to 20 percent of the undisputed part of all other claims.
Alex Kokkoris, a public adjuster with Mordecai Claim Service in Lake Worth, said his profession wouldn’t be needed if insurers didn’t delay, lowball or deny claims.
“Homeowners hire public adjusters because they don’t really know what they’re entitled to or what the laws are so you hire someone you knows how to debate with the insurance company…They’re going to give you as little as possible because their business model is to make as much money as possible,” he said “You’re paying the insurance company to pay you when you have a claim. Insurance is for protection. It’s not to explain your case and beg and plead for a service you’re already paying for.”
Fort Lauderdale resident Elmando Simms had never used a public adjuster before hiring Mordecai this year. Simms’ insurer repaired his porch and garage door after Hurricane Wilma damaged his home in 2005. But water continued leaking in through the roof and Simms’ temporary fixes – roof patches and painting the walls – didn’t last long.