Cape Coral Public Adjusters Assess Recent Tornado Damages

2016 is off to a dismal start on the west coast of Florida. Just one week into the New Year and Cape Coral and Fort Myers have seen the effects of tornado touchdowns coming in from the Gulf. The very first weekend of the New Year brought a tornado that caused multiple trees and power lines to be tackled to the ground, vehicles overturned, and structural damage to several homes, causing homeowners to enlist in the help of Cape Coral public adjusters in order to assess the extent of the damage. The areas that witnessed the most damage were near Chiquita Boulevard South and Beach Parkway, and Mohawk Parkway and Skyline Boulevard.

Cape Coral public adjusters are diligently working in order to assess the damage for many homeowners in Lee County who were affected by the first tornado of the New Year. Since nearly all homeowner’s insurance policies in the state of Florida cover tornado damages, knowing how to make a claim and properly assessing the damages is the key to getting the most money back for repairing your home.

Advocate Claims Public Adjusters of Fort Myers are ready to help you file an insurance claim and make a detailed damage assessment to submit during the filing process. Our public adjusters work for homeowners, not insurance agencies, making sure that you receive the absolute highest amount possible and holding your insurance company reliable.

Residents who have been displaced by the recent tornado in Cape Coral have been instructed to contact the Red Cross by calling 239-278-3401. If you have been displaced, don’t hesitate to call Steven Venook at Advocate Claims Public Adjusters at 954-369-0573, and get your home back to normalcy as soon as possible.

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Floridians Are You Prepared for a Hurricane Insurance Claim?

Luckily, Florida has dodged the bullet again, as it has yet to face a hurricane since Wilma struck the state in 2005. Instead of developing into a hurricane like the National Hurricane Center had expected, Tropical Storm Erika remained as such and then dissipated before it could climb the coast toward Florida.

It is never too early to be prepared for something as unpredictable as the weather. In addition to personal safety, this also means knowing how to prepare your homeowner’s hurricane insurance claim. The following information will help you receive the maximum settlement possible from your insurance claim in the event of a hurricane or severe storm:

Hurricane Erika Insurance Claim Help - Public Insurance Adjuster

Prior to any scheduled storm, periodically review your insurance coverage with a public adjuster to ensure you have the right amount of protection should you ever find yourself in the position of needing to rebuild.

Do as much as you can on your own to safeguard your home from wind and rain damage. This means trimming any trees and shrubbery and cutting all weak branches that might fall on your home or impact your windows.

If and when a storm hits, make sure to report your claim no matter what, whether or not the destruction looks severe. Damage often shows up months or years after a disaster hits, especially roof damage; contact a pubic adjuster immediately to have your home inspected. In the case of additional water, wind, or mold damage discovered post-storm, you can talk with your adjuster about filing a supplemental claim.

Keep thorough records and take photos of the damage. You should keep a documentation of before and after the loss in order to accurately assess the amount of damage. Recording a video can also put the losses into perspective. This will help the adjuster return your property to the condition it was in prior to your insurance loss.

This also includes collecting all receipts for any suggested hurricane repairs needed during the reconstruction process, as well as keeping a log of people you speak with.

Your public adjuster will prepare a detailed list of estimates on your behalf to help guide the insurance process. The experienced adjuster will remain at the scene for several weeks to ensure a complete, detailed claim that represents your interests.

Prior planning is particularly important in the case of a hurricane. Regardless of the size of damage or type of loss you might suffer, a public adjuster can help. Advocate Claims Public Adjusters provides a full range of services in the state of Florida and has worked on hurricane claims during Hurricane Ivan, Charley and Wilma in 2004 and 2005.
Speak with your insurance company and contact Advocate Claims BEFORE the event to ensure the quickest recovery. If you have any additional questions regarding the role a public adjuster can play in returning your property to normalcy as quickly as possible after your loss, please contact Steven Venook at Advocate Claims Public Adjusters at 954-369-0573.

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Fire Damage from Arson: Michael’s Story

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, arson is defined as “any willful or malicious burning or attempting to burn, with or without intent to defraud, a dwelling house, public building, motor vehicle or aircraft, personal property of another, etc.”  The FBI reports that over 50,000 arson incidents are reported each year in the United States, and many more go unreported or unidentified.  Michael was one of these statistics.

Michael owns and manages several properties in Florida.  One evening, one of his properties experienced a break in, in which the property was robbed.   The unidentified assailant then ignitedAdvocateClaims.jpg a container of accelerant, which quickly ignited a fire.  The space was leased to a vehicle repossession agent, which was possibly the cause of the bad blood.  Michael, being the owner, simply held the paper on the property and was about to experience the hazards of such a misdirected attack.

Because two crimes were committed at the property, the fire damage claim process itself had become more complicated for Michael.  Michael experienced delays in receiving his claim from the start. His insurance company requested the official Fire Marshall’s report (which normally takes several months to obtain) before they would reach any kind of settlement.  Once the report was finally received by the insurance company, they not only offered a settlement that was less than the cost of remediating the property, they also made Michael suffer several months of lost rent from the period of time the insurance company had taken to deliver the insufficient settlement!  It had seemed that Michael’s luck had gone from bad to worse.

Michael then contacted Steven at Advocate Claims Public Adjusters to see if it would be possible to reach a fair result from the insurance company.


“At that point, I didn’t have much confidence in the insurance company coming back with a fair settlement.  The system seemed broken to me” said Michael.

Steven was able to quickly assess the damage, both physical and fiscal, meaning he not only evaluated the loss to the property, but also the loss that Michael had experienced as a result of the fire, particularly the lost rent.  After negotiating with the insurance company, Steven reached a result that covered the TOTAL LOSS that Michael experienced.

“This was the best result possible” said Michael.

To learn more about how a public adjuster can add a great deal of value to your insurance claim, contact Steven Venook at Advocate Claims Public Adjusters at 954-369-0573 or email him at

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Selecting a Public Adjuster, Part 2

Outline the details of your policy and claim

Is the level of your current insurance coverage appropriate for the property?

Looking forward, are there any changes to the policy that need to be made?

What are the details of my policy?

How much coverage is allocated for each affected piece of my claim?

What is the fee structure when enlisting the help of a public adjuster?  (Keep in mind, in most cases, the benefit far exceeds the cost)
Does the fee amount apply to the total claim or particular segments? (ex. loss of revenue or strictly structural)

Set communication expectations

How and when will I receive updates on my claim?  As they happen or on a weekly and monthly basis?

What mode of communications easiest and most efficient for both parties? (email, phone, office meeting…)
Will there be one point of contact or multiple points of contact?  If applicable, who are these people and what parts of the claim will they be the contact for?
Will I be notified each time a decision is made or are there decisions that do not need my approval?  What are some examples of these?

Ensure the public adjuster understands your motivations

Convey your rationale for selecting to proceed with a public adjuster.  What are your “hot buttons”?

Time and convenience? Is your primary impetus of enlisting the help of a public adjuster to streamline the process without taking much of your time and effort to have the loss remediated?  In many cases, homeowners do not have the bandwidth to deal with such a loss while maintaining their already busy lifestyle.  There are many things that can be damaged that need to be tended to, outside of tangible damage.

Need to recover additional money to remediate the loss? This is most often the driving force to contact a public adjuster.  In many cases, the homeowner is left with a damaged home and insufficient funds to make repairs, essentially forcing them to identify a solution to the problem, which is often a public adjuster.

Leave it to the experts? Many select a public adjuster because major loss is a rare event for most homeowners.  They may have never gone through the process and/or have little understanding of what is involved. Additionally, a public adjuster can recommend a course of action at each step of the process.  Another thing to remember is that a public adjuster holds negotiating power that a homeowner may not have.  Remember, they do this for a living. The experts can most often arrive at a better result, even after fees for their services.

Take your time

If time permits, carefully review the credentials and results of your public adjusters and ensure you are comfortable with the relationship.  You will be working with this public adjuster for a period of time so it is important to make sure that it is a good fit for both parties.

Provided by Steven Venook at Advocate Claims Public Adjusters.  Contact him to learn more at 954-369-0573.


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Selecting a Public Adjuster, Part 1

Experience and results dealing with your loss type.

Perhaps the most important key to evaluating a public adjuster is to evaluate the results they have produced in dealing with a loss like yours.

How many years of experience?

How many cases?

What were the results of these cases?

Ask for References

“Trust, but verify.”  The financial result may not be the only measure of success in retaining a public adjuster.  Ask for references to ensure the clients’ experience was as it was perceived by the public adjuster.  Ask about challenges or unexpected bumps in the road that may have occurred.  References from the public adjuster are useless if they serve 100 clients and 90 of them have a negative interaction, but the adjuster offers you the testimonials of the 10 satisfied clients.

What groups are they associated with?

A good first step is to see if the adjuster is registered with the Better Business Bureau.  This is a good source of information relating to the quality of service delivered.  Next, examine industry-specific groups.  the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA), the American Association of Public Insurance Adjusters AAPIA), and/or state-specific groups like the Florida Association of Insurance Public Adjusters (FAIPA) can be a great way to identify a public adjuster and offer information on their current standing.  The more local your search, the more accurate the information will be.

Examine their website and online reputation

Most good public adjusters will have a good website, complete with good testimonials.  Some other sources to check would be: the ratings on Google, Yahoo, Yelp, Angie’s List, and any other information you find online.  An unsatisfied client is 6 times more likely to voice their discontent online than a satisfied client, so negative reviews should be fairly easy to find.

Interview your public adjuster

Some questions to be considered are as follows:

Are you licensed/bonded/insured?
What does your team evaluating my loss look like?

Is there anything that differentiates you from other public adjusters?
What was your most successful result in this type of claim?

What was your least successful result?

See Selecting a Public Adjuster, Part 2 

Provided by Steven Venook at Advocate Claims Public Adjusters.  Contact him to learn more at 954-369-0573.

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Bathroom Leak in Palm Beach: David’s Story

David experienced a bathroom leak from his family’s second floor bathroom.  The leak resulted in damage to the bathroom, upstairs carpeting, and the downstairs living room ceiling and walls.   David’s insurance company was quick to offer his family $4,749.00 for a total settlement.  After the deductible and depreciation was applied, David was left with a mere $2,249.00 to remediate the extensive damages to his home. 

“The extent of the damage was minimized by our insurance company before they took appropriate measures to examine what had actually occurred to, and within, the structure.  Water can cause a cascade of issues that needed to be carefully examined,” said David.

For David, time was of the essence.  His family needed a fully-functional home, mechanically and cosmetically, as soon as possible. 

“It is where we live 24-7, and because of this incident we were not made whole by the claim process.  This was not acceptable, so I looked into what else we could do to make this right,” he said. 

That was when David contacted Steven at Advocate Claims Public Adjusters.  Initially, after the difficulties David and his family had been through, he was hesitant to retain Steven for his claim because of the additional time that was needed to complete the process.

AdvocateClaims“We had already been through so much,” explained David.

Advocate Claims’ Public Adjusters described the process and why the claim would take additional time to remediate.  Steven described the steps required and noted that the insurance company is in no hurry to dole out additional monies.  Steven would be required to reevaluate and present the claim to the insurance company, piece by piece.  David agreed, and Steven and his team got to work on David’s case. 

“At the end of the day, the extra time was well worth it,” said David.  Steven and his team secured a claim over 400% greater than the initial settlement, allowing David to properly remediate his loss and return to a sense of normalcy in his home, as soon as possible. 

A claim is filled with challenges; Advocate Claims’ Public Adjusters can guide you and your family to the fastest, most accurate, and fairest settlement for your loss.  If you recently suffered water damage and need help filing an insurance claim, we can help. Give the Public Adjusters at Advocate Claims a call today, at 954-369-0573.

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Using Modern Technology to Investigate Claims

Advocate Claims Public Adjusters of Florida

When you have a Florida Homeowners Insurance Claim, the Insurance Company is going to send an Adjuster to investigate the claim on behalf of the insurance group.  The policy and laws state that the Insurance Carrier is responsible to fully investigate the claim.   Almost without fail, insurance companies in Florida fail to fully investigate claims.

On a recent Miami insurance claim, Advocate Claims met the insurance company Adjuster.  The claim dealt with water damage.  We counted twenty-one occasions where the Adjuster said, “I don’t believe there is water behind this wall.”   (Picture of thermal scan)

Upon finishing the walk through, we asked the Adjuster to walk the property as we used a Thermal Imaging Camera.  In 18 of the 21 walls where the adjuster did not “believe” there was water behind the wall, the imaging showed clear signs of water damage.  The insurance claim was over $39,000 higher than originally expected.  This change is mostly because Advocate Claims, as the Public Adjuster, was able to use advanced technology to prove the real damage in the insurance claim process.

We estimate that fewer than 5% of Public Adjusters and less than 1% of insurance adjusters use this technology in Florida.

If you had your choice of doctor, you would always go to the one with the best technology for finding and treating your illness.  You would not get your hair cut from someone who was using dull scissors.  You would not buy a meal from a kitchen that half cooked your meal.  There is no reason why you should get thousands less on your insurance claim because the insurance carrier does not dedicate technology and training to fully investigate your damages.

When Advocate Claims fully investigates a claim, we turn over credible evidence of all damages to the insurance company. Most of the time, we do not have to engage in a “fight” for your claim simply because we have documented ever bit of the damage that is rightfully payable by your Florida Homeowners Insurance Policy.

Your insurance company will send someone to assess the damage to your home.  The Adjuster will, more often than not, provide you with an insurance payout based on the most obvious damage.  The insurance carrier adjusters generally do not use moisture meters, wall cavity investigation (actually tearing open a wall), or thermal imaging.  It is not hard to understand why the insurance company does not use technology to find all of the damage.

Advocate Claims specializes in maximizing Florida insurance claims with verifiable data to prove the damaged conditions.  There is no distance we will not go in order to find the true nature of the damages to your home or business.  As your Public Adjuster, we stand guard of your largest family assets, and have decades of experience in negotiating with insurance companies for the best possible outcome for our clients.

Your insurance company wants you to take a low settlement for your Florida Homeowners Insurance Claim.  Only a Public Adjuster works strictly for you in the insurance claim process.  Advocate Claims, acting as a skilled Florida Public Adjuster, has the accolades of many.  Learn more here (insert links)

We stand ready to handle any kind of claim: wind, water, mold, tree damage, plumbing leaks, vandalism, fire, and all other property insurance perils.  Each of these types of insurance claims have special characteristics and knowledge that Advocate Claims can address, with success.

Call Advocate Claims Public Adjusters at 954-369-0573 when you have a Florida Insurance claim.

“Empowering the policyholder”

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Florida Insurance Claims Need Proper Investigation

A reasonable investigation of all conditions to find damage, is the obligation of the Insurance Company Adjuster.  Adjusters should never turn a blind eye, but all too often, this is exactly what Advocate Claims finds when taking on the task of being a Public Adjuster who represents the policy owner only.

As the home or business owner, you have “duties under your policy”, you must:

  • Report the Loss
  • Contain or limit further damage in a reasonable manner.

The Insurance Company has “duties” as well.

  • Allow for timely reporting of the claim.
  • Provide a prompt response by sending an insurance company adjuster to the home.
  • Fully investigate the damage
  • Provide adequate funding for repair, as per the policy provisions.

In the new world of Insurance Claims in Florida, the Insurance Companies have taken a “light” version of these responsibilities as the standard method of working on a home or business claim.  In practical application, some, if not all of the following occur with regularity:

  • The insurance company adjuster fails to fully locate all of the damage, relying on the homeowner to locate all of the structural damage and specify it to the Adjuster. Anything that the owner misses may be completely left out of the claim payment.
  • The insurance company sends someone other than a licensed adjuster to assess the claim. In Florida, this is especially prevalent.
  • The Insurance Company fails to use technology, moisture meters, structural integrity checks, thermal cameras, and etcetera, to fully investigate the claim.
  • The insurance company adjuster assesses the value of damaged property lower than it is, and lower than it should be.
  • Denial of the claim based on “late reporting,” characterizing the claim as “not valid” due to a specific peril.

When you hire Advocate Claims as your Public Adjuster, the Insurance Company’s “light” investigation of your insurance claim is replaced by a proper and well documented claim process.

  • Advocate Claims investigates the cause of the loss, which will be a single event that generally caused the initial damages to your home or business.
  • Advocate Claims investigates all subsequent damages caused by the single event. It is like a domino effect, cascading through the structure.

When Advocate Claims investigates a claim, we look for the point of origin and track the damage to the last location of damage. Chances are high, that your insurance company lacks the will, or the technology, to adequately investigate and allocate the cost for the entire claim.

At Advocate Claims, we see Florida Home Owner and Business insurance claims as science projects; we settle claims for what they are worth, not by gaming the system, but by documenting the true cost of all repairs allowed under the insurance policy. There is research that shows that Public Adjusters in Florida commonly raise insurance payouts.  At Advocate Claims, we enjoy our success rate in getting our clients the proper amount of money that is needed to repair damages.

If you feel that your insurance company is not properly handling your claim, the worst thing that you can do is wait, hope, and wish. Be sure to take notes of all persons that you have talked to about your claim, including the names and license numbers of every person that you encounter on the phone and in person, then call Advocate Claims.

We stand ready to handle any kind of claim: wind, water, mold, tree damage, plumbing leaks, vandalism, fire, and all other property insurance perils.  Each of these types of insurance claims have special characteristics and associated knowledge, which Advocate Claims can address, with success.

As a Florida Public Adjuster, Advocate Claims can only represent the home or business owner.  As your Florida Public Adjuster, Advocate Claims cannot receive payments from any other party.

As a Florida Public Adjuster, Advocate Claims will not accept payment for services prior to collecting funds for the claim.  There is no up front cost to deal with Advocate Claims as your Florida Public Adjuster.

As your Public Adjuster, Advocate Claims settles Florida Claims in a way that does not leave the homeowner or business owner holding the bag for under paid claims.

Call Advocate Claims’ Public Adjusters at 954-369-0573 when you have a Florida Insurance claim.

“Empowering the policyholder”

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Florida Homeowner Insurance Claims Ruled by Fear

We find, so often, that insurance claims are ruled by fear. Insurance companies do subtle and overt things that make you feel that it is wrong or hard to file a claim.  Sometimes, this process feels like something you should pull back from, without good reason.

Last week, we were called by a homeowner in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  The owner’s insurance company adjuster asked, “are you certain that you want to file this claim, I doubt your roof is really damaged, and your claim may be denied; you could even get into some fraud problems if there is nothing to this claim.  Do you still want to file the claim?” Advocate Claims handled this claim, found real damage, and we are close to a final settlement. The fear tactics were unwarranted and very unprofessional, but extremely common from insurance company adjusters.

Insurance companies benefit wildly by implementing subtle strategies of fear and “do nothing,” to dispel them in the market. Some of these fears surround your rates going up, you losing your policy, the carrier dropping you, or even you being accused of fraud for demanding that your insurance company treat you fairly.  

We propose to you a simple strategy to avoid most, if not all of these fears regarding your insurance claim. We suggest that you contact Advocate Claims to get an understanding of how using a public adjuster can best serve you; who will work for you and not for your insurance company. Your insurance company hires a professional to represent their interests. It only makes sense that you should have someone advocating for your interests and only your interests when filing your homeowner’s insurance claim.

By calling Advocate Claims’ Public Adjusters, we will help you determine if your claim is worth reporting before you put a claim on your record!

Let’s go over specific fears and the realities of each for your Florida Homeowners Insurance claim…

Fear that your rates will go up

Your rates on your Florida homeowners insurance can be raised as much as 2% for filing or discussing a claim with your insurance carrier. As your public adjuster, we can make sure that filing a claim is legitimate and warranted for you to do.  Even if you do not file a claim, investigating a potential claim with your insurance company can cause your rates to go up. Advocate Claims can help you avoid this problem by investigating and completing claims that make sense.  

Fear that you will be dropped by your Insurance Company

Your Florida homeowners insurance company can choose not to renew your policy upon its termination date.  Without fraud, the company cannot simply dismiss your policy because you filed a claim. 

Fear of hiring a Public Adjuster or an Attorney because there will be retribution by the insurance company.

Your insurance company does not want you to hire a public adjuster or an attorney for one simple reason: when you get help by professionals, the insurance company has to act in a kind manner in order to avoid legal and regulatory traps. It would be an ethics violation if a company or independent adjuster suggests that you should not hire your own private adjuster.

As a homeowner, research suggests that you may only have 4 homeowner insurance claims in a lifetime.  At Advocate Claims, we handle four claims before lunch.  Chances are good that Advocate Claims is more experienced than the adjuster your insurance company sends out to your home, business, or commercial property.

The insurance company cannot sanction you for hiring advocates to help with your claim process.  This is a fear that is not realized when competent Public Adjusters and Attorneys work Florida Insurance Claims.

Fear that you will be accused of fraud – for demanding to be treated fairly.

Albeit rare, it is just a threat; this is a fear tactic that holds no merit or actual practice.  What if you called the fire department and said, “Come quick my house is on fire,” only to get a response of, “if it is not on fire, that is fraud, and you could get in trouble, are you sure you still want us to come?” 

When your insurance company uses such a ploy, contact Advocate Claims; you need a qualified and powerful Public Adjuster on your side. 

Fear for not using the Insurance Company’s Contractor

More and more insurance carriers are trying to get repairs handled by their own contractors.  These contractors work for the carrier and not for you, which takes power out of your hands.  This is another way that your insurance company is controlling your insurance claim, to benefit their bottom line.   

You do not have to use these contractors, and it does not limit your ability to get a reasonable and fair settlement for your claim.   

As a Florida Public Adjuster, Advocate Claims can only represent the home or business owner.  As your Florida Public Adjuster, Advocate Claims cannot receive payments from any other party. 


As a Florida Public Adjuster, Advocate Claims will not accept payment for services, prior to collecting funds for the claim.  There is no upfront cost to deal with Advocate Claims as your Florida Public Adjuster.


As your Public Adjuster, Advocate Claims settles Florida Claims in a way that does not leave the homeowner or business owner holding the bag for under paid claims. 

Call Advocate Claims’ Public Adjusters 954-369-0573 when you have a Florida Insurance claim.


                                              “Empowering the policyholder”

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Why Won’t My Insurance Company Pay My Claim?

Why Won’t my Insurance Company Pay My Claim?

A quick Google search shows that you are not alone in asking that question.  There are nearly 45 MILLION results discussing exactly that, and likely as many reasons why insurance companies think they do not have to pay your claim. 


It can be easy to see why.  Insurance companies have little incentive to offer their clients an appropriate settlement immediately after a loss.  There are few (or no) consequences an insurance company would face for an inadequate settlement that comes back to the company.  Additionally, their clients, those who have suffered the loss, are highly inexperienced.  Large losses are infrequent and many homeowners do not question the initial settlements.  It is simply a matter of insurance companies taking advantage of their own customers. 

How can I be sure that I get the proper settlement for my loss?



Again, you would not be alone in asking this! Google offers almost 55 MILLION results.  The spectrum of different types and severity of loss make this a complicated question, but the answer (in most cases) is to enlist the guidance of a public adjuster.  A public adjuster can not only guide you through the claim process, ensuring that the appropriate measures are taken to get you the fairest settlement possible, they can also act as an advisor to guide you through the process and recommend a course of action, including using their vast collection of industry contacts. 

How can I Identify a public adjustment claim adjustment service?

Fortunately, there is one answer that will deliver the best possible result after your property is damaged.     


Advocate Claims’ Public Adjusters have over one decade of experience aiding homeowners after they have experienced damage to their homes.  If you have any questions regarding the role that a public adjuster can play in returning your property to normalcy as quickly as possible after your loss, please contact Steven Venook of Advocate Claims Public Adjusters at 954-369-0573.

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