This is more about how to choose a public adjuster – not whether you should get one at all. As far as whether you should get one, that is a personal decision for you to make. If you hire a law firm like us, we will guide you through that decision on our own and you typically won’t need one. If we believe that the hiring of a public adjuster is warranted, we will have that discussion with you.
Instead talk about how you want to handle hiring a public adjuster assuming that you have already decided to do so.
The first thing you should think about is cost. In Louisiana, it is not lawful for a public adjuster to charge you a percentage of your recovery. The first piece of advice is that if you run into a public adjuster in Louisiana, and they want a percentage of your claim, don’t just walk away – run away.
I have seen public adjusters out there that charge a percentage of the recovery and kind of lie about how they do this. Be very wary of these people. This is something you really need to watch out for. They will make it sound appealing.
What you should ask yourself is “if this public adjuster is willing to break the law to get my business what else is this public adjuster willing to do?”
The second thing you need to look at is the qualifications of the public adjuster. How do you do this? Well, I ask for client referrals. You could also ask around to attorneys or call other public adjusters. See what they know about these people. At the end of the day, it’s more important to have a public adjuster that actually knows what he or she is doing than to have a public adjuster that is a smooth talker. Some public adjusters are very good salespeople. That does not mean that they knew how to write an estimate. That does not mean that they will be able to adequately advocate for you. If they have a bad reputation, that may follow your claim and hurt your recovery.
You should also check and make sure that that public adjuster hasn’t been in any trouble. I kind of treat this one a little looser. I’m not saying that you should be okay with the public adjuster that has been in trouble. I suppose what I’m really doing is warning you that there are plenty of public adjusters out there that I personally would not trust my family to go to, but still nevertheless seem to have a clean disciplinary record.
You might want to ask what types of organizations the public adjuster works with. Is this a lone wolf that no one else in the industry trusts? Or is this someone that the rest of the industry looks to, trusts, and works with?
I would also ask about experience. I’m always amazed how many clients are scared to do this. You might want to ask “have you ever handled a claim like mine?” “Have you ever handled a claim against my insurance company?” “What experience do you have that makes you the best person to be a public adjuster on my insurance claim?”
There’s really no other way to do this than to ask. You can try to search public records, but the reality is most public adjusters don’t appear in too many public records. This is because if a claim is filed, ultimately, it goes to an attorney.
The final thing you might want to look at is whether this public adjuster has assumed any kind of mentor role within the community. I can think of one very qualified public adjuster here in Louisiana that teaches other public adjusters. He teaches classes. He works with new public adjusters on becoming better.
In fact, one day I asked another public adjuster that I like which other public adjusters he trusts and he gave me the same name. I think that speaks volumes to both of their integrity and industry knowledge. It indicates how good someone is really going to be for your claim if at the end of the day this is a public adjuster that other people look to.
Of course, every rule has its exceptions, but, nevertheless, wouldn’t you feel more comfortable with someone that others go to? I’m always happy when a client comes to me that had previously had a public adjuster and it’s a name I recognize for good reasons instead of bad. So, again you might want to call an attorneys and say, “Hey, who is it that you talked to?” “Who is it that you trust?” “Who do you bring on claims?”
Again, a public adjuster isn’t right for every claim. Some of you will decide to hire a public adjuster anyway before or even instead of hiring an attorney, I think, at a minimum if you’re going to put your claim in that person’s hands and you’re not going to hire an experienced attorney, you should make sure that that public adjuster knows what they’re doing.
I have to caution you. Don’t just trust the smooth talker. Don’t trust the person that plays to your emotions. I’m even aware of one public adjuster that is what they call a faith-based public adjuster in the industry. He literally tells his clients that he believes God sent him to help. That sounds appealing if you are deeply religious. But again, I would ask, why is he using that approach to find clients? Is it that he’s playing to someone’s emotions and deep sense of religion or is it that the public adjuster is actually the best qualified public adjuster to handle the claim?
You wouldn’t hire an employee without testing his qualifications. Why would a public adjuster be any different?
To find the answers and diligent advocacy you need, call (504) 493-7519 or email us today to schedule a consultation with our New Orleans law firm.