On September 8, 2013 a substantial fire broke-out at this upscale home located in the Greater Northdale area of Tampa causing significant fire, water, and smoke damage to the building structure, furniture, and personal belongings. As the fire was going on and in the hours subsequent, the homeowner was bombarded by many contractors and public adjuster solicitors offering their insurance claim adjusting services to the property owner. Resisting the high pressure tactics of some, the owner keenly recognized that it was in his best interest to stay away from the majority of these people simply because he did not know who they were. He also knew not to sign anything until he had a chance to check references, do his research and think about it.
In this particular case, the homeowner was an extremely smart businessman. However, since he had never dealt with a property insurance claim of this magnitude before, his attorney recommended he hire a well established public adjusting firm and gave him the name of public adjuster Mr. Rick Tutwiler, P.C.L.S. of Florida based Tutwiler and Associates Public Adjusters.
Immediately after being retained, Mr. Tutwiler quickly informed the insurance company of his representation that same day and requested an advance claim payment in the amount of $150,000 dollars, which was paid. However, the following day, the insurance company sent out an Independent Adjuster who wanted to take a recorded statement. While the insured wanted nothing more than to cooperate with his insurance company, he was still shaken from surviving the fire and could barely talk. In addition, it took the insurance company over 8 months to finally settle the claim. “It was ridiculous, said Public Adjuster Rick Tutwiler. We went through multiple adjusters and a bureaucratic nightmare trying to resolve a legitimate claim with one of the State’s largest insurance companies.”
About the same time, a local news channel was running an investigative story on insurance claims about another family who lost their home to a fire in St. Petersburg, FL. Since there were multiple homeowners around the Bay Area who found themselves in similar situations, they decided to interview a few more.
“It’s amazing what an insurance company will do when they are put in the spotlight, said Mr. Tutwiler. All you see on TV is great marketing supported and endorsed by professional athletes, but when it comes time to pay a claim its like they run for the hills. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great insurance companies and independent adjusters out there who do a great job, but there are also some who take advantage of their policyholders.”
All in all, Mr. Tutwiler was ultimately able to recover $257,700 for the loss and damage enabling the insured to fix his home and replace all his personal belongings.