Consumer Connection: Contractors, Public Adjusters, and Insurance Claims

Sale free

Consumer Connection: Contractors, Public Adjusters, and Insurance Claims

By Sonya Sellmeyer

Blog

June 12, 2024

Dealing with damage to your home or property following a storm can be stressful. If you have a claim with your insurance company for a loss or damage to your property, you may need to seek the assistance of a contractor to make repairs. A contractor provides labor and materials to build or repair a structure in exchange for a fee. They must be licensed with the Iowa Division of Labor if they earn at least $2,000 a year from construction. Payment to the contractor may come from an insurance claim.

When property has been damaged by a covered peril and you have filed an insurance claim for the damages a contractor may approach to offer repair or reconstruction services. The contractor may offer an opinion to a policyholder as to whether the damage is from a storm or other incident normally covered by an insurance policy, and prepare an estimate and scope of work to repair the damages. Contractors may discuss the estimate or scope of work with the insured and recommend that the policyholder file an insurance claim with his or her insurer. They can also be present when the insurance adjuster inspects the damage, and answers questions the insurer or the insurer’s adjuster has about the estimate.

Property owners are encouraged to talk to their insurance agent and allow their insurance company the opportunity to assess the damage to the property and provide a detailed estimate.  As a consumer, you do have the right to consult with a public adjuster about your insurance claim.  A public adjuster is a licensed individual(data.iowa.gov and search for “public adjusters”) who acts on behalf of an insured regarding damage to their property.  Licensed public adjusters may negotiate with insurance companies on behalf of the insured to receive fair compensation for the loss or damage to the insured’s property. Public adjusters will require you to sign a contract and are compensated for their work with a percentage of the claim settlement which may be 10%.  Read and understand the contract before you sign.

It’s important to know what a contractor can and cannot do.  Without a public adjuster license in the State of Iowa, a contractor cannot investigate, appraise, evaluate, give advice, prepare a claim, negotiate, advocate on behalf of, or assist their customer in the adjustment of a claim.  This includes advertising to be “claim specialists or analysts,” claiming that the contractor can “deal with insurance companies”, or in any way increase the claim settlement amount for the policyholder.  An unlicensed public adjuster may not file an Iowa Insurance Division complaint on behalf of the Iowa consumer.  They are unable to “partner” with a Public Adjuster or enter into a contract with a public adjuster or other third parties.

Most contractors are not public adjusters, if you feel a contractor is working as an unlicensed public adjuster, please contact the Iowa Insurance Division at https://iid.iowa.gov/consumers/filing-complaints.  The Iowa Insurance Division is here to help, please call 515-654-6600 with any storm insurance claim-related questions.

The owner of this website has made a commitment to accessibility and inclusion, please report any problems that you encounter using the contact form on this website. This site uses the WP ADA Compliance Check plugin to enhance accessibility.