At the end of December 2012, I visited the site where the flood damage occurred, namely the condominium located in Pasadena. The condominium owner, Mr. B, expected to receive advice from the insurance agent regarding the handling of damage and recovery. However, the agent hadn’t even visited the site. Instead, the agent told Mr. B that if the extent of the damage wasn’t great, it would be better not to claim the loss. Greatly disappointed, Mr. B conducted a search and contacted this PA(Jae Park Public Insurance Adjuster). After inspecting the site, this PA gave the following advice:
- Recovery cost: The estimate recovery cost calculated by this PA(Jae Park Public Insurance Adjuster) was approximately $5,000. The insurance policy of Mr. B had a $3,000 deductible, so the out-of-pocket money was approximately $3,000. In other words, it is not suitable to make a claim because out of pocket expenses are greater than the settlement from insurance company; Mr. B would receive only $2000.00 from insurance company.
- The condition of emergency water extraction at site: Despite the water extraction work being carried out in the unit where the condominium owner was lived, no plastic dust shielding was installed between affected and none affected area. Ask the contractor to install it immediately.
- Possible exposure to hazardous substances such as lead and asbestos: The condominium was built in the early 1970s, and consequently it was suspected to have building materials containing lead, asbestos and other substances. Request that the water extraction contractor perform a test of dust particles to determine whether they contain hazardous substances currently floating around in the room as walls were cut out and fans and dehumidifiers were turned on at the site to remediate the water loss.
When I visited the site, Mr. B complained about the attitude of the insurance agent. However, I have a different idea. Many people among the clients of this PA have expressed similar sentiments about the insurance agent. There are many readers who would think the same way. In today’s column, I’d like to comment on that. The insurance agent and broker’s main business are to sell insurance products on behalf of the insurance companies. They simply recommend and sell the most effective insurance products that are favorable and present the lowest maintenance costs to the insured. There will be nothing specific they can do, even if they visit a damaged site like the above. It is impossible for them to handle the damaged site and calculate the estimated cost of recovery. This is because they aren’t experts in the field of compensation. Instead, damage compensation is handled by the claim adjuster, which is a separate organization in the insurance company. this PA(Jae Park Public Insurance Adjuster) has handled claim adjustment for thousands of claims in the claims department unit of the insurance company, but never had we adjusted claim issue for the case for which a claim was filed with the insurance agent who sold the insurance directly. Insurance sales and claim adjustment are conducted in a completely different, separate organization. In other words, the insurance agent or broker has very minimum influence on the claim adjustment. The organization of an insurance company is set up that way. Although the agent or broker may visit the damaged site amid his or her busy schedule, at the request of the customer, he or she can only comfort the customer who has suffered a catastrophe and then help to guide the process when the customer files a claim.
Mr. B’s case, as introduced in this column today, corresponds to the free initial on-site consultation as mentioned in the PA’s website at www.JPadjusters.com.