Gregory V. Serio, the Superintendent of the New York State Insurance Department (NYSID) issued a warning to consumers yesterday to take precautions when dealing with insurance adjusters in the wake of the World Trade Center disaster.
“Although the vast majority of insurance industry representatives are licensed professionals,” Serio said in a written statement, “there are those who add to the misery and suffering of victims buy taking advantage of people when they are most vulnerable.”
He also noted that the work of both independent and public insurance adjusters, is extremely important in the wake of the tragedy, as they are the ones who evaluate claims, and make recommendations on payments.
Serio urged consumers to observe the following guidelines:
1) Ask to see an adjuster’s credentials, and if necessary verify if they are licensed by phoning the NYSID Licensing Bureau at 518-474-6630.
2) If you use a public adjuster make sure the fee charged is negotiated before any work is performed. Fees are negotiable, but cannot exceed 12.5 percent of any claim.
3) Note that an agreement with a public adjuster can be canceled at any time until midnight of the third business day after the agreement is made.
4) Independent adjusters are not permitted to ask for fees; the insurance company pays them.
The NYSID’s Disaster Hotline, 1-800-339-1759, is open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., seven days a week to answer any questions or concerns.
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