Alabama and Georgia Departments Assist Tornado Victims
Insurance departments offer advice to insureds and a plea for compassion by insurers.The National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA) applauds the Alabama and Georgia State Insurance Departments for their prompt outreach to property owners victimized by the recent tornadoes. In the Alabama Department's March 4 notice “How to navigate the insurance claims process after a storm” the Department provides important information on what to do after the disaster, how to start a claim, the claims process, and warns to be alert for fraud. The Georgia Department bulletin “Leniency for Georgia residents making premium payments in the wake of March 3, 2019” issued a day later calls for insurers to act compassionately when responding to claims from storm victims.
“We are greatly concerned that after a major disaster such as this that insureds may be approached by contractors attempting to act as a public adjuster or claiming to be able to provide public adjuster services without possessing valid credentials,” said NAPIA President Greg Raab.
NAPIA is working closely with national, state and local legislators, regulators and advocacy groups, including the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the Georgia Association of Public Insurance Adjusters, United Policyholders and the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud to protect policyholders from a variety of improper activities such as the unauthorized practice of public adjusting by contractors and other “unlicensed” individuals.
In conveying important consumer protections to Alabama residents, the Alabama Insurance Department communicates critical protections, including guidelines within which insurance professionals are to operate when dealing with storm victims.
In Alabama, public adjusters in partnership with attorneys, assist property owners in assessing, preparing and filing claims from storm damage with insurance carriers. Georgia licensed public adjusters work directly with insureds to provide the same services. The expertise of public adjusters is oftentimes crucial in the management of claims in widespread storm events like the recent tornadoes in Alabama and Georgia. Timely and accurate settlements of claims are the only priority of public adjusters when negotiating with insurers on behalf of a storm victim.
“If any claimant believes they are not being properly served by a public insurance adjuster, or that an adjuster is operating outside the guidelines established by state law or the Insurance Commissioner's regulations, we want to hear about it,” said Raab. “NAPIA is happy to assist claimants who contact the association with their concerns. We will then forward those complaints to the appropriate state authorities.” NAPIA also strongly urges claimants to report any suspected illegal adjusting activities by those purporting to be, but are not duly qualified, as public adjusters, including roofers and contractors.
“As is proper in such times, NAPIA encourages all insurance professionals to rise to the occasion and work with those impacted with quick damage assessments and timely claims payment relief. After all, it is largely the proceeds from insurance settlements that get most citizens back on their feet after such dramatic experiences. We all owe it to them to do the right thing,” Raab said. “Likewise, we strongly discourage unlicensed and untrained persons from preying upon storm victims by offering services which they are neither qualified nor legally authorized to provide,” he concluded.