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Demanding Full & Fair Payment from Insurers

In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, residents and business owners are reminded that resolution of insurance claims – flood, homeowners, business interruption or otherwise – is a negotiation with an insurance company. It may be beneficial for policy holders to hire their own independent public adjusters to provide an impartial estimate, rather than relying on an adjuster paid by an insurance company.

As a third generation Floridian, trial attorney, and President of the non-profit consumer protection organization the Civil Justice Foundation, I was disturbed to see a statement by State Farm spokesperson Michal Brower in yesterday’s Orlando Sentinel that suggested residents should be wary of attorneys assisting in post-Matthew recovery efforts.

I take issue with Mr. Brower’s comments and note that insurance companies are in the business of maximizing profits and shareholder returns. This is accomplished, in part, by reducing liabilities and the number of claims paid. As such, adjusters employed by insurance companies may have conflicts of interest that do not serve the best interests of their policy holders. Trial attorneys and independent public adjusters can protect policy holders from these potential conflicts.

While Floridians work to recover and get back-to-business, residents, adjusters, contractors and yes, attorneys and insurance companies, should work together to get our coast up and running as quickly – and fairly – as possible. This is no time for self serving rhetoric from the insurance industry.

Our law firm is working with Louisiana attorneys experienced in Hurricane Katrina litigation as well as the ongoing flooding crisis in Baton Rouge. We see first hand the abuses that unscrupulous actors can inflict upon victims of natural disasters and want to help those affected in Northeast Florida avoid those misfortunes.

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One Comment

  1. Gravatar for Mark Bello

    Excellent points Tom. It is a shame that citizens, to get their premiums' worth of benefits from THEIR OWN INSURANCE COMPANIES, must retain attorneys and public adjusters. But that is the reality of the insurance business in the 21st Century.

    Executive salaries and stockholder profits are more important than policy holders. We all remember State Farm's and other's claims that Katrina was a "flood" not a "storm" so that these insurance carriers could avoid paying claims. Attorneys prevented that from becoming a successful strategy.

    Insurance is the only product on the market that penalizes a customer for using it exactly as he/she is supposed to. Attorneys and public adjusters do a great public service in holding these despicable insurance companies accountable to their written policy promises.

    Citizens who have suffered insurance losses: Do NOT negotiate your claim with the insurance company without professional representation! You will be sorry (and underpaid) if you do.

    Keep keeping them honest, Tom!

    Regards, Mark

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