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If you’ve been in the Emergency Restoration field for any amount of time you know the frustration of navigating negotiations with Insurance Adjusters. Perhaps you’ve been on that call, the adjuster doesn’t seem to understand the time you’ve invested into this project, and they send you back a low-ball offer to cover the cost of your work. More than likely, that amount won’t cover all the costs of your project.
The frustration is the lack of negotiation. From your perspective the adjuster is the one who holds all the cards, they say, “we will only pay this much for this work” and then you’re left with taking whatever they’re willing to give.
In this blog, we explore two outlines:
Oftentimes the adjuster’s aim is to make you think that you have no say in the final terms of an insurance claim. They’ll simply say, “this isn't negotiable and this is what we’re able to do.”
The reality is, each claim is negotiable and adjusters have levels of authorization they’re pre-approved to sign off on. They may not want to negotiate with you, but they are able. If you find yourself in a situation like this, ask them to justify their low offer and then respond by making the case for why you believe your counter-offer is the fair value of your work.
The typical strategy of any negotiation is to make an initial low offer. This is how bartering has happened throughout all of time. Someone asks high, another counters low and they find some place in the middle to agree. Insurance adjusters are no different.
This first low offer is where the negotiation process begins. Depending on the adjuster you’re working with, it’s not unusual to have adjusters beginning the negotiation process at fifty to seventy-five percent of their settlement authority. Typically, an adjuster will aim to eventually settle at a 10 percent savings for their company.
The key in these moments is not to take the negotiation personally. When they offer you only half of your value remember this is a tactic, and not a personal attack.
When an adjuster offers you a sum of money that is substantially lower than what you believe is an honest valuation for the work, ask them to justify their low offer. Ask the adjuster to give you specific reasons why the offer is so low. Make notes as to what they are saying, then respond to their points and their objections.
Once you’ve sent this reply, give them time to process through your objections and then get them on the phone. Experience says they should give you a more reasonable offer at this point.
In the midst of negotiations there are often many opportunities for frustration and offense. An adjuster might diminish the scope of the work you did, or they might suggest that you did more work than you should have. Possibly, there’s some hint that you’re trying to do something unscrupulous.
In all this, do not be dissuaded. Your goal is to be relentless and consistent. Nothing that is happening here is personal, it’s simply a business transaction and you need to keep that in mind. Your aim is to be diplomatic and professional. Aim to persuade the adjuster you are being level-handed, your aim is to ensure that everyone is served well, the homeowner, the insurance company and yes, yourself.
In your persistence, it's possible the adjuster will eventually give in, simply to find a resolution.