Hamm urges consumers to use caution with public adjusters and consultants
Posted on 8/5/2011
BISMARCK, N.D.-North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm alerted flood victims across the state today that they should exercise caution before signing a contract with a public adjuster or insurance consultant as they begin the recovery process. The Department has already received inquiries related to these entities in some of the flooded areas of the state.
Public adjusters, who in North Dakota must be licensed as insurance consultants, sign contracts with insurance policyholders and, for a fee, claim to work on the insured's behalf in negotiating a settlement with the insurance company. Generally, public adjusters perform an appraisal of the loss and then negotiate the amount to be paid by the company. They commonly charge a fee of 10 to 20 percent of the total amount of the settlement.
"In order for consumers to come out ahead by hiring a public adjuster, they have to achieve a settlement of 10 to 20 percent above what the insurance company would have offered them directly," Hamm said. "If there is already a maximum amount allowed for the loss, the consumers could end up with less money than if they settled the claim alone."
If you decide to sign a contract with a public adjuster, be aware that he or she cannot perform those services without first obtaining a license from the North Dakota Insurance Department and having an approved contract. Contact the Department at 1-800-247-0560 to find out if the adjuster may do business in the state.
"If you are considering signing a contract with a public adjuster or insurance consultant, I urge you to carefully consider whether their services will truly benefit you," Hamm added.
Consumers with questions about public adjusters are encouraged to call the Department at 1-800-247-0560.