Insurance adjusters and home improvement contractors are notorious for butting heads with each other. This makes sense when you consider that contractors have the homeowner’s (and their own) interests at stake while the insurance adjustors are representing the insurance company.
Still, the majority of professionals that meet each other in the field will find a way to get along. As long as neither party is overly aggressive or off putting, even if they don’t see completely eye to eye, they can at least understand that each is simply doing his job.
But this is where the other reason for a dispute comes from. Sometimes, the insurance adjuster does not wish to do his job correctly. There are times when an insurance adjuster may seem to go out of his way not to pay on a claim. He’ll refuse to act reasonably toward the contractor. In the worst case scenarios, an adjuster may even refuse to acknowledge storm damage as storm damage- completely stonewalling the claim and the repairs.
This is when even a usually mild mannered home improvement contractor may find it hard to keep his cool. It would be hard for anyone to turn his head the other way in the face of insurance behavior that is not only obviously unethical, but that also may have an affect on your bottom line.
The best thing for a contractor to do in this situation is simply defer to the homeowner. After all, it is the homeowner that is truly getting the raw deal. The homeowner is the person who pays for the insurance policy, so the fact for the homeowner is that he isn’t getting what he is paying for.
This is the last thing that a crooked adjuster wants to happen. They’d rather deal with the contractor because the contractor really has no final say in the matter. Most insurance adjusters will work happily with contractors out of common courtesy, both to the contractor and to the insured homeowner. They see the home improvement contractor as an extension of the homeowner, as they should.
Other times, an adjuster may pretend to work with the contractor and then try to bully or play games with the contractor using the fact that the adjuster is not obligated to settle with the contractor as his trump card. In this way, he placates the homeowner while acting unethically toward the homeowner’s contractor.
Certainly the contractor can argue his case, explain his estimate and try to get the adjuster to acknowledge damage. But, if the adjuster refuses to act reasonably, the best thing for a contractor to do is simply defer to the person who has the most power in the situation- the policy holder.
There was one instance when an insurance company was obviously trying to put a cork into a storm claim situation. There was a claim submitted in a community where dozens of similar claims had already been submitted and paid for (It was an obvious storm damage situation.). The insurance company had already paid on several of these claims and apparently didn’t wish to pay for them any further. Suddenly, the insurance company decided to treat a particular homeowner’s claim with extreme bias.
They sent a re-inspector after the initial adjuster inspected it. The re-inspector, along with other insurance field adjusters met with three members of the home improvement contracting firm. During the inspection, the re-inspector acted aggressively and even insinuated that the contractors had committed insurance fraud and caused the storm damage sustained to the property.
As soon as these accusations were made, a member of the home improvement firm simply called the homeowner and explained to her, in front of everybody, what was transpiring. Needless to say the re-inspector was not happy about this. He actually started to scream at the contractor that he would “sue him personally.”
The main reason why the re-inspector was so upset was because he knew he had acted inappropriately and unethically and was being called out for it. He was acting in a way that he would never act toward the actual policy holder. And yet, toward her contractor, he acted like a complete ignoramus.
As it turned out out, the insurance company approved the claim and apologized profusely (though never officially or in writing) to the contractor on several occasions to the contractor at several future meetings.
Insurance adjusters and contractors may not always see eye to eye with each other when it comes to homeowner claims. But, as long as the adjusters do not act unethically or perform biased inspections, there are few other reasons for them to be at each other’s throat. And, when an adjuster does act unprofessionally, the best thing for a contractor to do is point to the person in charge.