News and Announcements

How a licensed, qualified public adjuster can help you after Hurricane Harvey

IMPORTANT: TAPIA members statewide stand ready to assist Hurricane Harvey survivors. To find a TAPIA member serving your specific area, send email to TAPIA@mytapia.org or call 512-299-6680.

For survivors, there are so many things to tend to after a disaster like Hurricane Harvey. Not the least of which, for insured home and business owners, is documenting and proving their property and business losses for their insurance claim.

It is a daunting task. The typical policyholder doesn’t have an in-depth understanding of the terms of their insurance policy. Few have experience with things like replacement costs or business interruption. They have no way of knowing, for sure, if they are getting a proper settlement offer from their insurance company.

That’s why thousands of Hurricane Harvey survivors will turn to public insurance adjusters to help them file, prove, negotiate and settle their insurance claims.

What is a public insurance adjuster?

A public adjuster (PA) represents you—the policyholder—to prepare, present and settle a home or business property insurance claim. A PA works only for you—not an insurance company, not a roofing company, not a repair company, or general contractor.

A qualified PA has specialized expertise that can simplify and speed up the complicated, time-consuming process for settling a claim for property damage. Hiring a PA is an important protection for your rights as a policyholder.

What should I expect my PA to do?

  1. Carefully review your insurance policy. A public adjuster makes sure your claim meets all the requirements of your policy. Insurance policies detailed and hard to understand. Policies can change from year to year and often require that insurance claims meet specific conditions. Your claim could be denied or reduced if it doesn’t meet the conditions.
  2. Thoroughly document your loss. The PA documents your loss and prepares your claim, including all estimates, inventories, photographs, and other factual information required to prove the extent of your loss.
  3. Work with the insurance company adjuster to agree on the proper amount owed to you. Usually, the public adjuster and company adjuster settle the claim without controversy.

How much do public adjusters charge?

A responsible public adjuster usually bases his or her fee on a percentage of the final settlement—based on the size and complexity of the property loss and the time, energy, and expertise required to effectively represent you. Fees are negotiable. Important: In Texas, a PA’s fee is capped at 10% of the settlement of the claim.

Much like accountants, realtors, and other professional consultants, public adjusters offset their fees in the time they save their clients and in the amount of the claim recovery. The public adjuster does not receive a fee until the insurance company pays your claim.

# # #

Don’t be fooled: Public adjusters MUST be licensed!

In Portrait of a funny bearded man writing notes on clipboard and looking at camera isolated on a white backgroundTexas, public adjusters are licensed by the state. If someone tells you they are a public adjuster (PA), make them prove it. Sadly, you can’t just take their word for it. Ask for a photo ID and their Texas license number. It wouldn’t hurt to snap a photo of both for your documentation.

All TAPIA members are licensed (it’s required for membership). If they’re on TAPIA’s Member Roster, you can trust they are licensed. If they haven’t joined TAPIA yet, you can still verify their license status on the Texas Department of Insurance website. (Scroll down until you get to public insurance adjuster.)

Don’t feel shy about getting verification! Real public adjusters will understand your caution and be glad to provide documentation.

If you believe someone is practicing Unauthorized Practice of Public Adjusting (UPPA), report it!

Also remember, it is illegal for roofers and other contractors to represent you to your insurance company. Only licensed public adjusters and attorneys can do that. Don’t be fooled!

For more information, contact TAPIA at TAPIA@mytapia.org  or 512-299-6690.

# # #

TAPIA Urges Hurricane Harvey Victims  to Get the Facts BEFORE Hiring Contractors to Rebuild or Repair

AUSTIN, TX August 25, 2017 — The Texas Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (TAPIA) cautions Texans coping with significant losses from Hurricane Harvey to “look before they leap” into arrangements with roofers or other contractors to repair their homes and businesses.

One of the most important things an insured property owner needs to know is who can—and can’t—negotiate your claim with your insurance company. In Texas, it is illegal for contractors—including roofing and restoration contractors—to offer to negotiate your claim with your insurance company. Contractors may not hire adjusters to handle your claim. Insurance adjusting—especially public adjusting—requires special training and a license issued by the Texas Department of Insurance.”

Insured property owners should be wary of contractors who offer to handle their claim “for free” if you let them do the work. This is sometimes called a “contingent agreement” and is illegal.

Likewise, beware of contractors and public adjusters who try to push you towards a lawyer when there is no sign of a legal problem. Most property insurance claims can be settled if both parties act professionally. On rare occasions, it may be necessary for an attorney to get involved if a coverage disagreement arises, or if the insurance company is simply not living up to its end of the bargain.

Insurance companies put the burden of proving a property loss on the policyholder; but most people don’t know a lot about their insurance policy, says Curtis Hordge, Jr., TAPIA president. “A time of crisis is a hard time to figure things out. That’s why many people turn to a public insurance adjuster (PA) for help.”

A PA works only for the policyholder–not an insurance company, roofing company, repair company, or general contractor. In Texas, as in most other states, PAs are required to be tested, licensed, and current on continuing education requirements. The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) regulates public adjusters.

Visit the TAPIA website (mytapia.org) for more information about PAs; a list of TAPIA members; a Q&A document, What You Need to Know about Public Insurance Adjusters; and other helpful information. For immediate assistance, send email to TAPIA@mytapia.orgor call 512-299-6680.

  • HURRICANE HARVEY INFO

  • UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Services

    Typical Claims Handled by Texas Public Insurance Adjusters
    Public insurance adjusters in Texas handle all types of insurance claims including:
    • Hurricane losses
    • Hail storm losses
    • Tornado losses
    • Flooding
    • Fires
    • Wind damage
    • Water damage
    • Smoke damage
    • Vandalism
    • Civil unrest
    • Earthquake losses
    • Building collapse
    • Explosions
    • Vandalism
    • Theft
    In addition to the many types of insurance losses covered, public insurance adjusters also help with losses associated with covered business losses such as:
    • Builders’ risk
    • Business income
    • Electrical and mechanical breakdowns
    • Leasehold interest