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Old 09-15-2017, 10:55 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by jmaus View Post
I am in Ft. Laud and handle property damage claims throughout S. Fla and the Keys. I handle them on a contingent basis pre suit - 20% - same as PA. If they go into litigation, which sometimes you cannot control, Fla. Stat. requires ins. co. to pay atty fees. The 33 1/3% and 40% percentages are for injury cases, not property damage claims. My office handles the claims from date of loss thru trial.

Absolutely report it to your insurance company, do what you can to protect the property from further damage, and expect a lowball and alot of delays. If you have any questions regarding your claims, I am happy to speak with you about it whether you use my office or not.

Joe Maus
www.mauslawfirm.com
954.784.6310
Please also explain when the case settles, how much you take... Statute does require attorney's fees to be paid (if you win at trial), the problem is most of these aren't going to litigation and if they do, they settle before trial. So... what is your percentage of the repair amount settlement because the carrier isn't going to pay attorney's fees, a PA and expert just because you rushed to file suit.

Now, as an individual consumer, consider you are automatically giving away that amount based on the assumption that the carrier is going to screw you. If they do, then get counsel. If not, you're giving away money. Plaintiff attorneys who advertise, must do so through the Florida Bar with approval. I'd be careful Mr. Maus.
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Old 09-15-2017, 11:14 AM
  #22  
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State Road - this is not an advertisement. I responded to a question posted on here. I am well aware of Bar rules on advertising.

But since you asked, Fla. Stat. 627.428 allows for the recovery of attorneys fees by an insured once the claim goes into litigation and a recovery or judgment is obtained. Fla. courts treat a settlement after litigation the same as a judgment allowing the insured to recover his/her atty fees as part of the settlement. As a result, most, if not all, settlements after litigation are defined at the time of the settlement - a certain amount of money for indemnity (repairs) and a certain amount of money based upon an hourly rate for atty fees. Some cases will also settle for a certain amount of money for indemnity, then the atty and the insurance company will go to an attorney fee hearing and let the court decide an appropriate fee.

Additionally, the Fla. Bar requires that any contingent fee agreement be defined in the retainer agreement, so the insured will know ahead of time how the atty fee is to be calculated.
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Old 09-15-2017, 11:25 AM
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State Road, by the way, what insurance company do you work for?
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Old 09-15-2017, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by jmaus View Post
State Road - this is not an advertisement. I responded to a question posted on here. I am well aware of Bar rules on advertising.

But since you asked, Fla. Stat. 627.428 allows for the recovery of attorneys fees by an insured once the claim goes into litigation and a recovery or judgment is obtained. Fla. courts treat a settlement after litigation the same as a judgment allowing the insured to recover his/her atty fees as part of the settlement. As a result, most, if not all, settlements after litigation are defined at the time of the settlement - a certain amount of money for indemnity (repairs) and a certain amount of money based upon an hourly rate for atty fees. Some cases will also settle for a certain amount of money for indemnity, then the atty and the insurance company will go to an attorney fee hearing and let the court decide an appropriate fee.

Additionally, the Fla. Bar requires that any contingent fee agreement be defined in the retainer agreement, so the insured will know ahead of time how the atty fee is to be calculated.
Post your retainer agreement here so people can evaluate what they're giving away before allowing their carrier to do a good faith investigation and issue payment.

Look, plaintiff attorney's have a time and a place. I recommend people getting counsel when appropriate. Attorneys do a lot of good. However, sticking your nose out online right after a storm is trashy especially when people don't have all of the facts. Its no different than adjuster's running into a storm, promising the world, getting an AOB, and then doing nothing because they are in a volume / bulk business model --- and taking a cut for not really providing any value. Many times, the insured is going to be better off on their own. Claims resolve faster and they don't have to give away a chunk of their indemnity.

So I reiterate, if you are having a hard time, talk to counsel Otherwise keep the 20 - 40% in your own pocket (and yes they do go as high as 40% regardless of what some have posted here).
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Old 09-15-2017, 11:59 AM
  #25  
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State Road, you are really jaded, and your argument is nonsensical. Correcting your misinformation on this post is the same as a public adjuster that "runs into a storm, promises the world, getting an AOB, then ...taking a cut for not really providing any value"???

You are obviously an adjuster for an insurance company so at least admit it so people can consider your bias, rather than attacking attorneys that fight with insurance company delays and non-payments every day. Maybe tell people about how insurance companies issue indemnity checks with Release language on the back of the check so that if the check is cashed the insured has released their claim?
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Old 09-15-2017, 02:51 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by jmaus View Post
I am in Ft. Laud and handle property damage claims throughout S. Fla and the Keys. I handle them on a contingent basis pre suit - 20% - same as PA. If they go into litigation, which sometimes you cannot control, Fla. Stat. requires ins. co. to pay atty fees. The 33 1/3% and 40% percentages are for injury cases, not property damage claims. My office handles the claims from date of loss thru trial.

Absolutely report it to your insurance company, do what you can to protect the property from further damage, and expect a lowball and alot of delays. If you have any questions regarding your claims, I am happy to speak with you about it whether you use my office or not.

Joe Maus
www.mauslawfirm.com
954.784.6310
This guy.

I have had spotty luck with public adjusters. Sometimes they do "ok" other times I swear they get together with the adjuster on the other side and work it out so they both come out "good".

IMHO there are two ways to handle it.

1) Squeeze the insurance company the most you can, then hire atty when they don't give you enough (this can be good if you want to keep the 20% of the part that you can get -- however it may turn some attys off since they generally to from the start...).

or...

2) Just hire a good insurance atty and let them get you the right number from the start.

FYI: I've done appraisal (umpire)... I've done trial... PA... and Atty. At the end of the day the big dog, atty, does the best.

At the end of the day, get an atty, tell him/her that you want to cover the cost to repair your property and the rest is theirs. They'll fight for their piece.
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Old 09-15-2017, 08:45 PM
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As a restoration contractor for 20 plus years I will tell you that hiring a PA or attorney early in the claims process is a mistake. First of all, get the most out of your insurance company so you are only paying on the difference. A good restoration contractor can usually but not always work out a fair settlement-if he can't get enough to do the job, he won't. Sometimes you will need a PA or attorney to get over the hump but that should be a last resort. I can't tell you how many times we've started a large fire job only to lose it to a PA who came in with promises of how much an insured could make only to have the whole process grind to a halt. The job could have been completed in 4 to 6 weeks but a PA convinces them they can profit from a loss, they jump ship thinking they will get their deductible covered and more= the job takes 2 years to resolve. Oh by the way, you're paying me to store your contents that we cleaned long ago, you're having to make mortgage payments and taxes and insurance on a house you can't live in...if it sounds to good to be true....

If anybody needs some help in between, send me a pm. Obviously, I don't have a ton of time as I'm up to my eyeballs dealing with damage in my area but I'm happy to give some pointers and send you in the right direction. I won't charge you 10% either but I'm pretty sure I'm worth a pitcher of beer and some fish dip at Sparky's the next time I get down there. By the way I've got to work through things with my vacation rental agent who wants me to try got get my money back for next week's rental with my travel insurance policy rather than just give me a refund. I have a lot of answers but not all. I lived in Key West in the 60's when dad was in the navy and have been back at least once a year since then, this place is my second home. I've just not been blessed, or in this case cursed, to afford my own place. I want to do whatever I can to help people rebuild and restore our piece of paradise.
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Old 09-16-2017, 05:59 AM
  #28  
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With Harvey and Irma at basically at the same time, I would speculate that these disasters will leave some insurance companies insolvent. Depending on your insurance company, I would be a little reluctant to have a drawn out claim process. I would be willing to sacrifice a few $$$ to get paid first. In any case many of the homes look like they will be totaled anyway since they are more than 50% damaged and the claimant will only get paid the maximum value of their policy anyway.
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Old 09-17-2017, 07:46 AM
  #29  
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I'm also a first party insurance attorney her in Florida and JMaus is spot on. State Road, you have no idea what you speak of on this. I can't stand misinformation and it usually comes from those that have an axe to grind or know nothing about reality.

If you have any questions about the process feel free to PM me. happy to help where I can
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Old 09-20-2017, 06:53 PM
  #30  
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the insurance company is mighty all they have 2 do is refuse to pay- sounds like a fl bar certified attorney is the ticket.
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Old 09-21-2017, 06:02 AM
  #31  
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PA are highly recommended, specially those that work with attorneys. The know the ins and outs.

My wive's company owns a building that is rented to the county. It sustained major interior damaged. The PA she is working with works with well known attorneys in SFL.

PM me if you need contact info.
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Old 09-24-2017, 08:47 AM
  #32  
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As an update, I received the offer from the insurance company. It was a joke. As just one example, they calculated $3.65 in sales taxes on over $3,000 worth of materials. I don't know how they could even let that estimate leave their office. Pretty scary. The insurance adjuster inspected the damage for less than 15 minutes and looked at the roof for less than 5 minutes. We are over $30,000 apart right now. But I made a counter offer with backup estimates, pictures, etc. We will see how they respond. To anyone making a claim, be sure to get estimates and review the insurance company's offer carefully.
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Old 09-24-2017, 09:41 AM
  #33  
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Sounds about right. Between Houston and Fla., insurance adjusters are stretched pretty thin right now. They are literally cris-crossing Fla. doing estimates. I talked to an adj on Friday regarding a Broward County claim - the adjuster was starting his day in Jax doing 2 estimates, had two more between Jax and Broward County, and was supposed to get to Broward by 4 pm to do another estimate. He was spending the night in Ft. Laud, then starting it all over on Saturday.
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Old 09-25-2017, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by rkatz View Post
I'm also a first party insurance attorney her in Florida and JMaus is spot on. State Road, you have no idea what you speak of on this. I can't stand misinformation and it usually comes from those that have an axe to grind or know nothing about reality.

If you have any questions about the process feel free to PM me. happy to help where I can
Both of you are marketing on the internet and neither of you have posted your retainer agreement which is extremely telling. As I have said, attorneys have a place and a time. But PA's "associated with law firms" are just marketing tools that go from door to door soliciting business. You are asking for a kick in the shin if you work with these people. I have seen them burn "clients" time and time again. Litigation costs get run up and the homeowner's "settlement" ends up being a fraction of what it ought to be because the attorney and PA take a big cut. These same people are also prone to filing exaggerated claims which can lead to fraud denials (so now you get nothing). That is the legitimate concern that you don't want to acknowledge. And no, most settlements do NOT leave "attorneys fees" for later resolution. That is blatant misinformation.

Insurance fraud is why insurance rates are high. Portions of the Plaintiff's Bar are responsible for this (not all). South Florida is the epicenter.

NOW, as I have already said a few times, there is a time and a place for legal counsel. Especially, competent counsel that discloses their fees and doesn't go around soliciting business on the internet. If the carrier is screwing you, then make them suffer. Not all insurers are the same though and many adjust claims in "good faith" as is the law.

Re: "release" language on checks--- this is also inaccurate and not common practice. If a release is sought, it is a separate document with specific provisions on reading, understanding and acknowledging the right to counsel. So again, misinformation, about the "big bad insurers" from the guys who live on the blood of others. And located in South Florida....
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Old 09-25-2017, 10:49 AM
  #35  
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Had the insurance adjuster by my house last week, he said they work on a commission. Commission on what? The bigger the claim the more he makes? I hope thats the case.
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Old 09-25-2017, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by jbnport View Post
As a restoration contractor for 20 plus years I will tell you that hiring a PA or attorney early in the claims process is a mistake. First of all, get the most out of your insurance company so you are only paying on the difference. A good restoration contractor can usually but not always work out a fair settlement-if he can't get enough to do the job, he won't. Sometimes you will need a PA or attorney to get over the hump but that should be a last resort. I can't tell you how many times we've started a large fire job only to lose it to a PA who came in with promises of how much an insured could make only to have the whole process grind to a halt. The job could have been completed in 4 to 6 weeks but a PA convinces them they can profit from a loss, they jump ship thinking they will get their deductible covered and more= the job takes 2 years to resolve. Oh by the way, you're paying me to store your contents that we cleaned long ago, you're having to make mortgage payments and taxes and insurance on a house you can't live in...if it sounds to good to be true....

If anybody needs some help in between, send me a pm. Obviously, I don't have a ton of time as I'm up to my eyeballs dealing with damage in my area but I'm happy to give some pointers and send you in the right direction. I won't charge you 10% either but I'm pretty sure I'm worth a pitcher of beer and some fish dip at Sparky's the next time I get down there. By the way I've got to work through things with my vacation rental agent who wants me to try got get my money back for next week's rental with my travel insurance policy rather than just give me a refund. I have a lot of answers but not all. I lived in Key West in the 60's when dad was in the navy and have been back at least once a year since then, this place is my second home. I've just not been blessed, or in this case cursed, to afford my own place. I want to do whatever I can to help people rebuild and restore our piece of paradise.
^^^^ This, so much this.
1. Use your insurance company and their adjuster to see if they can get the adjustment right the first time. Most really do want to offer a fair settlement if it's a covered loss.
2. Secure an agreed cost of repair with your contractor.
3. Work with your insurance company and contractor to come to an agreement. Remember, you may not have a full replacement policy.....sometimes depreciation is recoverable after repairs have been completed. Your deductible is your cost of the claim.....your contractor is the best place to work on this. The insurance company is not going to throw in a wish list of things to fix.


Originally Posted by gameon View Post
Had the insurance adjuster by my house last week, he said they work on a commission. Commission on what? The bigger the claim the more he makes? I hope thats the case.
It depends, but yes. Independents usually work for some kind of commission. The higher the claim the more the IA makes.....but that should not be the driving factor in writing a fair settlement for you and the insurance company. Staff adjusters are usually salary and have a company vehicle.

Insurance companies are not really fond of paying 20-30% over the actual damage to cover the PA's fee.
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Old 09-25-2017, 11:33 AM
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I called the insurance company today to ask why their website indicates that my claim is closed. She stated that a check was mailed, with the amount that I already said last week was far from reality. I asked to speak with the person that reviewed and approved the "independent" adjuster's estimates. She seemed confused -- almost like no one had reviewed it -- even though the insurance company wrote a check and "closed" the claim based on that estimate. She also said that they had not received the estimates that I sent last week via email. I was finally then given the extension of the in-house adjuster that is supposedly handling my claim. Of course, no answer. I have left a voice mail for him.

I am still working on this myself, but the insurance company is not off to a good start. I can't wait to hear the explanation of how $3.65 in sales tax was calculated on over $3,000 worth of material for the roof -- and how no labor, profit, or overhead was included in the roof repair estimate. Literally -- the estimate they provided has $0 listed for labor, profit, and overhead when calculating how much it will cost to repair the roof. All that is included is what they estimate materials will cost (including the $3.65 in sales tax)
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Old 09-25-2017, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Portugal View Post
I called the insurance company today to ask why their website indicates that my claim is closed. She stated that a check was mailed, with the amount that I already said last week was far from reality. I asked to speak with the person that reviewed and approved the "independent" adjuster's estimates. She seemed confused -- almost like no one had reviewed it -- even though the insurance company wrote a check and "closed" the claim based on that estimate. She also said that they had not received the estimates that I sent last week via email. I was finally then given the extension of the in-house adjuster that is supposedly handling my claim. Of course, no answer. I have left a voice mail for him.

I am still working on this myself, but the insurance company is not off to a good start. I can't wait to hear the explanation of how $3.65 in sales tax was calculated on over $3,000 worth of material for the roof -- and how no labor, profit, or overhead was included in the roof repair estimate. Literally -- the estimate they provided has $0 listed for labor, profit, and overhead when calculating how much it will cost to repair the roof. All that is included is what they estimate materials will cost (including the $3.65 in sales tax)
I had the same problem with my initial when it was marked closed. It is just closed for the claim amount their adjuster approved so far it does not mean your case is permanently closed it can be reopened unless you sign a check that says full and final or sign a release on the claim. Now that the first check is issued I would recommend getting a PA to start working on it. Although my insurance company was a pain in the ass the real pain in the ass ended up being my mortgage company. They held my checks up and I lost some vendors and time in the repair because of the way they distributed checks. I ended up just fronting the repairs halfway through and still have yet to receive the balance of my claim check from them.
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Old 09-25-2017, 08:36 PM
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Make sure your contractor estimate is not just one of those proposal kind of deals. If it's a roof, they want to see how many squares are on the roof that need to be replaced, how much roof decking (if any) need to be repaired or replaced.

I hate voice mail. No.....I loath voice mail. I want to talk to somebody to get my questioned answered. Get an email address and send emails. I get better response to all my questions. It also is a record that can be attached to the claim file.

Profit and Overhead. Unless 3 trades are involved, you may not get profit and overhead, unless the work is being overseen by a general contractor that subcontracts the work.

Roofs. You might could expect 10% waste on a 20 or 25 year shingle, up to 15% waste on a laminate shingle. If you don't already have a laminate shingle, expect to be paid for like kind and quality....might get lucky and get a 25 year on a 20 year shingle because 20 year shingles are difficult to find. Sometimes roofers will work with you on price to get the 30-35 year laminate shingle.
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Old 09-25-2017, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by StateRoad42 View Post
Both of you are marketing on the internet and neither of you have posted your retainer agreement which is extremely telling. As I have said, attorneys have a place and a time. But PA's "associated with law firms" are just marketing tools that go from door to door soliciting business. You are asking for a kick in the shin if you work with these people. I have seen them burn "clients" time and time again. Litigation costs get run up and the homeowner's "settlement" ends up being a fraction of what it ought to be because the attorney and PA take a big cut. These same people are also prone to filing exaggerated claims which can lead to fraud denials (so now you get nothing). That is the legitimate concern that you don't want to acknowledge. And no, most settlements do NOT leave "attorneys fees" for later resolution. That is blatant misinformation.

Insurance fraud is why insurance rates are high. Portions of the Plaintiff's Bar are responsible for this (not all). South Florida is the epicenter.

NOW, as I have already said a few times, there is a time and a place for legal counsel. Especially, competent counsel that discloses their fees and doesn't go around soliciting business on the internet. If the carrier is screwing you, then make them suffer. Not all insurers are the same though and many adjust claims in "good faith" as is the law.

Re: "release" language on checks--- this is also inaccurate and not common practice. If a release is sought, it is a separate document with specific provisions on reading, understanding and acknowledging the right to counsel. So again, misinformation, about the "big bad insurers" from the guys who live on the blood of others. And located in South Florida....
Not debating marketing or not. Answering a question. Sounds like you've been jaded and yes, there are some bad players. I'd be happy to show you my retainer but I'm not posting it on the internet.

As for your concern for lawyers fees and costs eating into the clients' settlement - that is a legitimate concern and a trap many clients and lawyers fall into. Insurers like to settle cases "globally". This means they lump the claim and fees and costs together. Then the lawyer and the client have to come up with a split that works. The simple solution to this problem, which insurers hate and which I typically insist on, is to require settlement of the indemnity (client's money) portion first and then and only then discuss settlement of fees and costs separate and apart - as it should be.

Maybe you should take a step back and stop assuming all attorneys are vipers out to screw a client. PAs also have a place and can be very effective. Bottom line is consumers have choices and by reading above, you will see that insurance companies don't always do the right thing, whether intentionally or negligently or by design.

Just food for thought.
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