What’s Next? Why The Delays?
If the staff adjuster who shows up at the site is not qualified or otherwise unavailable to write an estimate, he/she will set up a time for an estimator to come out and take all of the necessary measurements and photos. It won’t be necessary for you to be at the property when they come to do their estimate. Many estimators are employees of insurance carriers while others are “preferred contractors.” A preferred contractor is someone insurance companies introduce to the property owner in the hopes of getting contracted to do the restoration. They are “preferred” for a reason: the insurance carrier has a great deal of confidence in the restoration contractor’s ability to write an estimate like one of their own company adjusters (and that’s not usually a good thing for the property owner).
After about a week, the initial estimate will be completed and the adjuster will then send it up to his supervisor for their review and recommendations, adding another week to the claims process. If it’s a large loss, the supervisor will forward it to his/her manager for approval (adding another week). At least one or two people will be signing off on your estimate before you ever lay your eyes on it.
I’ve had adjusters tell me that they have had managers who’ve never even visited the actual loss site and tell them they need to cut 20% or 30% out of the estimate before they would approve it and allow it to be presented to the property owner. It’s sad, but those are the kind of things that go on behind closed doors. If the supervisor or manager tells the adjuster to trim some “fat” out of the estimate, you can expect another week to be added as the adjuster or estimator further refines their estimate.
At some point you will receive the estimate and you will probably breathe a sigh of relief, crossing your fingers that you now have the means to rebuild your property. Unfortunately, you won’t know how to interpret the estimate. It will consist of 20+ pages of specific line items showing the repair cost for each item. It can look like an impressive document that would seem, to the uninitiated, to be a complete and comprehensive estimate. But, and here’s the hard part, our experience as public adjusters shows that in reality only about a third of the time does it come close to reflecting what the policy says you are actually due. You might ask, “How can I know whether mine is a good estimate or not?” You can’t, but we can. We can have one of our Kentucky, Tennessee or Mississippi public adjusters review your estimate and then give you their professional opinion at no cost to you.
You will then no longer have to speculate as to whether you are being treated fairly or not. If it’s determined that you have been offered a deficient estimate, then one of our expert public adjusters will be able to tell you what options are available to you moving forward. As we always say, “Speed is the enemy of a good settlement.” In spite of the carrier’s conduct, you will need to remain patient and positive if you want to have a successful outcome. Contact us today and let The Howarth Group lead you to the settlement you deserve!