Gina Clause Lozier

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MIAMI—There's a right way and a wrong way to handle claims aftera hurricane. The wrong way could land you in legal trouble.

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GlobeSt.com caught up with Gina Clausen Lozierand Michael Higer, insurance litigation attorneyswith Berger Singerman LLP representing policyholders, to get some answers in part one of this exclusiveinterview. You can still read part one: After Irma, When Will Insurers Pay Your Claims?

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GlobeSt.com: Should I hire a publicadjuster?

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Lozier: During the insurance claim process, apublic adjuster can serve a vital role as your advocate. Publicadjusters are trained to assess the damage to a property, documentthe loss and communicate with the insurance company to effectuate asettlement of the claim.

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A public adjuster can also serve to expedite the claim processas they are familiar with the various policy terms and conditionsthat the insurance company may rely on in adjusting a claim.Documenting both the physical and financial damages followingHurricane Irma can be overwhelming and the assistance of a publicadjuster can assist in easing the burden by dealing directly withthe insurance company on your behalf.

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A public adjuster can bring value to any claim to ensure themost accurate claim payment is received however, the services of apublic adjuster are often crucial to a complex commercial orbusiness income loss. These losses require an in-depthunderstanding of the claims process and the tools that theinsurance company may employ to gather information about theloss.

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Commercial losses also require specific knowledge as to thetypes of coverage available including extra expenses and businessinterruption. As with any profession, it is important to review anddiscuss the qualifications of the public adjuster before executinga contract for services.

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GlobeSt.com: Can a contractor handle my insuranceclaim for me?

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Higer: It is a third-degree felony in Floridafor anyone other than a licensed public adjuster, or attorney, toaid in any manner on behalf of an insured in negotiating for oreffecting the settlement of an insurance claim. If a contractorapproaches you and advises that they could “handle your insuranceclaim,” they may illegally be engaging in the practice of publicadjusting and could be subject to arrest. Fla. Stat. §626.8738.

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