A recent study by the Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability indicates that while public adjuster representation is associated with longer settlement times, it also leads to higher average payments, sometimes far higher. For example, the OPPAGA study the average compensation for 2005 hurricane claims in Florida were 747% higher when a public adjuster was involved versus when a policyholder filed the claim themselves. Even after the adjuster’s fee, this represents a substantially larger payment. It can be the difference between a financial band-aid and total recovery from personal loss.
The OPPAGA study did not determine why these claims typically take longer to settle. Some factors suggested include higher complexity, older cases being re-opened, and more investigation than average. Perhaps it can be summed up as: a “no” is easier and quicker to get than a big check. It takes time to adequately assess damage and properly compensate the claimant.
There was an additional salient point made in the OPPAGA study appendix: Public adjusters solely represent the policyholder and make their money by making sure the policyholder gets paid. Since the fee is a percentage of the settlement, the larger the settlement the more money the adjuster earns. Thus, their interests are aligned with the interests of the policyholder. They want you to get every penny you are rightfully due because they will make more as well. In contrast, insurance companies experience a conflict of interest between paying the customer and making a fatter profit.