Adjusters Work On Consumer’s Behalf To Assess Damage
NEW ORLEANS — When Henry Quintanila’s property went up in flames, he relied on his insurance company. Damage to three rental units left him without his usual income and repairs worth thousands of dollars.
“I had to get the plumber. I had to get the electrician. I had to get the permit from the city,” he said.
Quintanila wasn’t happy with the less than $30,000 payout his insurance company offered, so he contacted public insurance adjuster Anthony Odeh.
“It’s up to Henry to make sure he’s getting the right amount of money,” Odeh said.
Odeh said it’s a common misconception that your insurance company is responsible for assessing your damage.
“I think it was a good gesture on the insurance company’s behalf, but at the end of the day, it’s not the insurance company’s responsibility to protect the resale value of the home,” Odeh said.
Unlike a company adjuster who works solely in the interest of the insurer, a public adjuster is employed by the property owner and fights solely for the property owner’s rights.
“They do bring an expertise that a consumer may feel is necessary to get comfort in what their company is offering them in settlement of their claim,” said Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon.
But Donelon warned that unlicensed adjusters can cost property owners more money, as proven after Hurricane Katrina.
“A good public adjuster will assess damage at no cost,” said state Rep. Damon Baldone. “They’ll meet with a client, look over policies (and) determine there’s something there before they even get involved with a client.”
With a public adjuster’s help, instead of getting $30,000 from his insurance company, Quintanila got more than $53,000, plus $1,500 in lost rent.
“Regular citizens, we don’t know how insurance really works,” Quintanila said. “And the way I feel like now, I feel like they just just give you this money and you have to be happy and satisfied with what they give you.”