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02/22/2011 11:58am
Tips for Disaster Victims: What Should You Do After You Experience a Disaster?

Tips for Disaster Victims: What Should You Do After You Experience a Disaster?

by Ron Reitz

Quality Claims Management, Southern California's top public insurance adjuster, provides several important tips for those who have suffered a fire loss, mudslide or disaster. If you have lost your home, read this before you sign anything.


First - make sure your family and pets are safe. Then find a place to live. Most insurance policies provide coverage for housing after a disaster. You do not have to rough it or sleep in a shelter. Find a hotel.

Take a breath and do not make any hasty decisions. One you start talking to your insurance company, do not accept the first offer you receive.

Before accepting any offer from an insurer, be sure that the offer has been reviewed and analyzed against the insurance policy so that you know ALL insurable damage has been included and adequately addressed.

Do not speed through the process. While you may believe that the fastest resolution of your claim is best -- it often times is not best for the insured. Claims take a long time to settle. The more time and effort you spend valuing your claim, the higher your ultimate settlement will be.

Start your personal property inventory immediately. This will be a very lengthy, detailed and emotionally involved process. Your memory is best right after the loss, so start to compile your list of personal property immediately. It is very likely that you will not remember to list all of your items and several months later, while looking for certain things, you will determine they are gone -- this is most often the case with partial losses.

The insurer will have a team of adjusters that will read and interpret the language of the policy as they believe it to be. There is a natural conflict of interest for the insurer to represent the insured as well as themselves. The less money an insurer pays on a claim, the more profitable they are. It makes sense then, to hire a licensed public insurance adjuster that will work on your behalf with a goal of settling for the maximum you are entitled to under the terms of the policy.

Does every loss require the expertise of a public insurance adjuster? No. There are many situations that you may not need a public insurance adjuster. The prudent thing to do is to talk to or meet with a public adjuster to discuss your specific loss and get their opinion.

How to select a public insurance adjuster - first and foremost, only talk to a firm that adheres to and operates under a strict Code of Professional Conduct -- such as that of the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (www.napia.com). Be sure to check with the California Department of Insurance (http://www.insurance.ca.gov/license-status/) to verify the firm and individual is licensed.


Author Bio - Ronald R. Reitz, CPPA, President of Quality Claims Management, http://www.qualityclaims.com, pioneered the National Hazard Insurance Claims business of GMAC-RFC (now GMAC-ResCap). Mr. Reitz left GMAC-ResCap in January 2007 after ten years of managing the Insurance Services group. He is the past President of the California Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (CAPIA) and is currently an officer on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA) www.napia.com. Recognized as a leading expert on hazard claims, he is serving on many industry panels, as well as providing consulting and training services industry-wide.

Quality Claims Management Corporation provides hazard claim recovery services to investors, mortgage servicers, homeowners and businesses. All claims are adjusted by licensed insurance professionals for an equitable settlement and accelerated resolution timelines. Quality Claims is nationally licensed as Public Insurance Adjusters or Insurance Consultants and complies with Department of Insurance Regulations. You can contact Mr. Reitz at 866- 450-1183 or www.qualityclaims.com


homeowners insurance, insurance claim help, property insurance, disaster insurance, public adjuster, public insurance adjuster
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