Insurance Adjusters: How They Work and How They Think
INSURANCE ADJUSTERS: HOW THEY WORK AND HOW THEY THINK
By: Dan Baldyga
Here comes the insurance adjuster. Is he overly friendly? If so, watch out! Its OK to be hospitable. Be good-tempered and cordial - - but beware! Never forget hes paid to save his company as much money as he can. Thats the name of his game.
DONT SIGN ANYTHING: Dont overestimate the good will of the adjuster. Theyre trained to investigate accident cases in such a way, if at all possible, to make their insured look good. Many unsuspecting individuals fall prey to the adjuster who seeks to protect his companys pocketbook at the expense of a legitimate claimant.
If a company calls you and suggests they take your statement over the telephone, tell them you would prefer to meet with an adjuster. Dont agree to dictate a verbal statement into a tape recorder over the phone, and certainly not when youre in the presence of an adjuster. Dont sign a statement when you meet with him. Whatever the circumstance may be, advise whomever youre dealing with that youll be more than willing to provide a signed statement, after your claim has been settled.
HOW TO PROCEED WITH THE ADJUSTER: Be pleasant, but firm. No matter how much in the wrong the person is that hit you, no matter how they acted at the scene of the accident, and no matter what they may have verbalized to or at you, dont take it out on the adjuster. Its not the adjusters fault if his insured is an idiot.
You must never underestimate the importance of the adjusters impressions and conclusions, all of which go into your file. What he feels and reports about you have a great influence on the final disposition of your claim. If he likes you thats money in the bank. On the other hand, if he gets upset with you he has the ability to twist the facts to make you look bad. Once thats been done, it will be set in cement, go into your file and, without youre ever being aware of it and haunt you to the last dollar of your settlement.
THE ADJUSTERS CLAIM LOAD: The job performance of insurance adjusters is judged not only on how little of the companys money they spend in settlements, but also on how quickly they settle the claims assigned to them. Theyre constantly under pressure to settle your claim; to get rid of it and move on. The adjuster will never tell you, but the weight of their caseload comes down on your side of the scale. Its an advantage people are never aware of.
THE ADJUSTERS SETTLEMENT AUTHORITY: The Adjusters authority to settle claims on their own is restricted on how much experience they have. For a less experienced adjuster, perhaps $5,000 to $10,000, but for a more experienced adjuster, their settlement authority may go as high as $20,000. When bigger bucks are involved they usually have to be given permission to settle the case from their immediate supervisor.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Dont let a sweet talking insurance adjuster manipulate you into feeling good about your relationship with him and the eventual outcome of your claim. In the vast majority of instances thats not the way you should play the game because if provided with the opportunity, theyll almost always take advantage of you. Thats a fact of life. Know and understand that theyre only doing their job. Their assignment is to save money for the company who signs their paychecks - - no matter what it takes.
If you have a legitimate claim stay cool and understand what youre up against. Dont be impossible to deal with, but remain steady. Remember that the adjuster wants to look good to his company. He doesnt want your claim to end up in court, plus he wants to reduce his caseload. Be patient. At the end of the day, after the dust has settled, hell be forced to treat your loss fairly. _______________________________________________________________
This article was authored by Daniel Baldyga. Copyright © 2003, by Daniel G. Baldyga. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the Daniel G. Baldyga.
DISCLAIMER: This article is intended for background information. Its purpose is to help people understand the motor vehicle accident claim process. Neither Dan Baldyga nor Free Advice.com makes any guarantee of any kind whatsoever, NOR purports to engage in rendering any professional legal service, substitute for a lawyer, an insurance adjuster or claims consultant, or the like. Where such professional help is desired, IT IS THE INDIVIDUAL'S RESPONSIBILITY TO OBTAIN IT.