About a year ago I was talking on the phone to one of my closest friends, a guy named Wes. He had been having some difficulty with his back for some time and just recently his back problems had seemed to be impacting his ability to walk. He was telling me that he had noticed recently that he had found himself dragging his right leg behind him when he walked. As a consequence he told me he was going to see his primary care physician and asked me to keep him in my prayers.
A couple of days later I was following up with Wes and he told me that his doctor did some tests and based on the results he told Wes that he thought he was in the early stages of the disease called multiple sclerosis (MS). Being the man he is he was taking it pretty well. But I had to ask the obvious question, “What are you going to do”? His answer, looking back, was even more obvious then my question. He said, “Well I’m going to get a second opinion, of course”. Wes just didn’t get a second opinion from another physician he got a second opinion from a specialist, a neurologist to be exact.
What’s my point with all of this and how does this affect an insurance claim? As a licensed, bonded and insured Tennessee Public Adjuster it never ceases to amaze me that a property owner can have a catastrophic loss with tens of thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of dollars hanging in the balance and accept what just ONE person says is the estimated value of their loss. Bear in mind that that ONE individual works for the insurance company and furthermore, I think we can all agree, the insurance company does not want to pay anymore than they absolutely have to in order to settle the claim. That would appear to most people to be a clear conflict of interest.
It says in scriptures (Matt 26: 24) that we can’t serve two masters. We’ll either love one and hate the other or vice versa; but you can’t serve both of them equally well. The same principle applies in the way the adjuster handles the claim. The adjuster, as a trained and loyal employee of the insurance company, has a difficult job to do in when ascertaining how much his employer should pay someone for their loss. But try as he might he is going to be more pre-naturally disposed to looking out for his own company’s interest then a homeowner’s. I don’t blame him for that because, logically, that’s who “butters his bread”.
So, here is the one bit of advice I would give every property owner who lives in Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky (I am licensed as a Kentucky Public Adjuster also) and has gone through a major fire, tornado or water loss: let someone with experience and knowledge of policy and estimates give them a “second opinion” on the estimate the insurance adjuster provides them. This is the only way someone can really know if they are being treated right and as a consequence eliminate the possibility of regrets from not taking a few prudent and patient steps on the front end.