Insurance fraud takes many forms ranging in severity from slight exaggeration or “padding” of claims to wholesale fabrication of claims, events, and conditions. Most insurance companies employ or contract for their own adjusters to evaluate property damage and assist in filing claims. However, in Colorado consumers can also hire their own adjusters to help negotiate insurance payments. Homeowners dealing with the aftermath of natural disasters may be contacted by public adjusters offering their service to help settle insurance claims.
Unscrupulous public adjusters will charge an exorbitant fee for their services and then disappear. Some may refer homeowners to disreputable contractors from whom they get a kickback, leaving the homeowner with shoddy repairs. Others will gain consumer’s trust in order to gather personal information like Social Security and credit card numbers and then use them to commit identity theft.
Consumers should try to work out a fair settlement directly with their insurance company. If the policyholder decides to use the services of a public adjuster they should be cautious in their selection.
Tips for Spotting A Public Insurance Adjuster Scam:
- Verify the Adjuster’s License. Public Adjusters must be licensed by the Colorado Division of Insurance. Verify the adjuster you are considering has a valid license and inquire if it is a resident or non-resident license.
- Check the Public Adjuster’s reputation. Ask the individual how long they’ve been an adjuster to get an idea of their experience level. Inquire about their permanent residence, some may be from out of state. Find out if there have been complaints against the individual or business by searching online. Ask the adjuster for local referral’s and contact them.
- Read Before Signing the Contract. Be sure you understand the contract terms including: if there is an initial deposit and the amount, the fee that will be charged or the percentage of the claim that is promised to the adjuster, when the public adjuster will receive payment, if there is a penalty if the contract is cancelled and the amount. Do not sign a contract unless you understand and agree to its terms.
To learn more about identifying and reporting insurance fraud please visit our Insurance Fraud Center. If you believe you have been victimized by an insurance adjuster scam or if wish to report fraud, file a complaint here.