We’re not surprised with the news that insurance companies continue to lobby for increased profits, and decreased consumer protection.
Record hailstorms pummeled both San Antonio and Dallas in Spring of 2016, while the Texas Legislature previewed bills protecting insurance companies from consumer trial lawyers.
“Consumers are caught in the middle of a full-blown war between trial lawyers who are suing insurance companies at a record pace and insurance companies who want to stop them from doing that.”
Consumers are indeed caught in a conflict. In a typical claim, an inexperienced homeowner or business owner overwhelmed with the event is prone to taking a lower claim value than the insurer is capable of providing. It is in their best interested to undervalue repairs, using complex documentation and filing procedures to eventually convince a defeated person to sign off and move on.
When a public adjuster or lawyer steps in to assist, they have access to legal documentation procedures, independent appraisers and building engineers who in many cases can provide tangible evidence for a higher claim value.
State-compiled stats show that when a lawyer or public adjuster (who works for consumers) gets involved, a claim can bring in payments to customers between $25,000 to $35,000. Without a lawyer involved, a claim may pay around $8,000.
It is in the interest of insurance companies to close claims, quickly and utilize pressure-tactics to do so. While some insurers do indeed take great care in protecting the rights of the insured, in many instances the goal of preventing litigation is to increase the profits of the company without regard for the consumer’s true needs.
In a recent discussion with a friend, she opted to take the value of the claim from the insurance company without involving a public adjuster. The insurance company did cover 95% of the total cost of repairs, but could have easily taken care of the extra 5%. Multiply this percentage by the total number of homeowners, and you get the picture of how much money this could add up to across the state.
It is instances like this that a public adjuster can step in, document the evidence of damages, and communicate with the insurance company, in their language, on behalf of the consumer.
While we don’t agree with lawyers on either side taking advantage of the loss event, we do agree with the Texas Legislature taking serious consideration before passing laws that limit the protection for the insured.