Shortage of insurance adjusters could mean less-experienced adjusters handling your claim

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It’s been two weeks since Hurricane Irma but some people are still struggling to get back on their feet.

Mark Goldwich, owner of Gold Star Adjusters, said now is around the time insurance companies will start sending inspectors to homes.

“Some of them are veterans and some of them are really new,” Goldwich said.

Goldwich said since Hurricane Harvey hit first, many of the more experienced adjusters are in Texas.

“They're still there and you have this additional catastrophe here in Florida and they're scrambling to get adjusters to help them settle these claims,” Goldwich said.

He said the shortage of adjusters has reached the point where the state has authorized the use of so-called “emergency adjusters.”

“These are people who may have no prior experience,” Goldwich said.

Goldwich said it’s important to ask them questions.

“How long have you been adjusting claims? Are you from Florida? Is this your first catastrophe?” Goldwich said.

Above all, Goldwich said, take notes on everything and request things in writing.

“Request that the insurance company, one, gives you the estimate in writing and that you review it yourself thoroughly and you maybe have a contractor review it with you,” Goldwich said.

If the insurance company is not paying for anything, Goldwich said, also request that they put a reason for the denial in writing.

Here are Goldwich’s 10 claims commandments:

1.    Do not try to put one over on your insurance company. Be thorough and be honest.
2.    Take notes.
3.    Get pictures.
4.    Show the adjuster all the damage.
5.    Remind the adjuster that not all homes are built with the same materials.
6.    Review the adjuster's completed estimate in detail, until you understand each and every line.
7.    Have a licensed general contractor review the insurance company estimate and provide an independent estimate.
8.    If the insurance company refuses to pay for an item, demand that they explain why in writing.
9.    Be persistent. Don't give up.
10.  Seek professional assistance when needed.