Wisconsin injury attorney and former insurance claims adjuster Sally A. Hestad offers a free consultation to anyone who has questions about the claims process after an auto accident. You may contact her at (608) 273-1600 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Read more about Sally A. Hestad)
Typical complaints about adjusters:
• S/he won't pay for (-----) and this is really unfair to me!
• S/he won't pay what I think my car/car repair is worth.
• S/he wants to use an after market part on my car.
• S/he's extremely rude.
• S/he's pressuring me to settle.
The insurance adjuster is an employee of a large insurance company or an independent adjustment company. The adjuster's job is very stressful. He or she has job responsibilities which often conflict.
One part of the adjuster's job is to make you happy and settle your claim as quickly as possible.
The adjuster also has a bottom line responsibility to the policy holders of the insurance company. The valuable premium dollars which have been collected must be stretched to cover all the claims or else insurance rates will go up.
The adjuster also has responsibilities to the company which employs him or her. The claim must be properly documented and handled according to the company's rules. Sometimes the adjuster refuses to pay for something you request. If the adjuster doesn't give you what you want, your request may go against the insurance policy, the company's procedures for handling claims or the boss' directions.
If you have a conflict with an adjuster, decide whether the issue is important enough for you to pursue. Your time and energy are valuable. The claims process is often an extremely stressful process for accident victims. Your car has been damaged and you are injured and inconvenienced. You did not ask for any of this! Sometimes accident victims are very angry at the person who did the damage, and this anger turns toward the claims adjuster.
If you feel your car is worth more than the adjuster wants to pay, give the adjuster a reason to change his or her evaluation. Research the price of similar cars yourself, and send the research to the adjuster. Turn in copies of receipts showing you just put $1000 into this car. Submit pictures showing the condition of the car before the accident.
For other conflicts, ask for an explanation of your claim handling in writing. Also write down what the adjuster says and the date of each conversation. You can go over the adjuster's head and present your complaint to the claims supervisor, the divisional manager, or the president of the insurance company. Send your complaints to the insurance company in writing via certified mail. Always keep copies for your file.
You can also present your complaint to the Insurance Commissioner of the State of Wisconsin. Responding to a call from the Insurance Commissioner is an adjuster's least favorite activity. But carefully consider your strategy. You may need the adjuster's goodwill later on in the claims process. If you have an injury claim, you can put the entire matter into the hands of a personal injury lawyer, and s/he will deal with the insurance company on your behalf. This is a great relief for most clients!