Insurance Adjusters Advocate For Insurance Companies. Public Adjusters Are Leveling The Playing Field
When a disaster occurs — a fire, a flood, a hurricane — the last thing building owners should need to worry about is whether they will get the insurance money they are entitled to. They need to focus on getting their building, and the businesses inside it, up and running once again, while feeling confident that insurance professionals will give them the compensation they deserve.
In an ideal situation, an owner’s insurance policy would automatically cover all of the damages caused by an unforeseen event. But what many people may not realize is the burden is on the policyholders to measure and document their damages to receive a fair payout, and the amount they present to insurance companies is usually the result of what they think is covered under the policy. It is not the insurance company adjuster’s role to tell them what to ask for.
“What most people know about insurance is what they see in commercials, which tell them that the insurance companies are there to help you,” said Harvey Goodman, president and CEO of Goodman-Gable-Gould, a firm of public insurance adjusters. “The reality is that the adjusters that work for the insurance company are often overworked and may not have the time to go over all the numbers and documentation to make sure you’re getting what you deserve.”
Goodman and his team of public adjusters do not work for an insurance company, he said. Instead, they work for policyholders, taking the time to comb through all building documents and handling each step of the insurance claim, reviewing all of the details of the insurance policies to ensure that covered costs are included in claims, and that their client gets the settlement that allows them to most expeditiously and completely recover from the loss.
The company handles all types of asset classes, Goodman said, including industrial, hospitality, shopping centers, office and multifamily buildings, and equipment and personal property. The firm also works on single-family homes. And his team doesn’t just cover natural disasters, he added, but man-made ones like theft and cyber claims.
“We had a client, a shopping center owner, that was evicting a restaurant tenant,” Goodman said. “In response, the tenant destroyed the premises. The insurance company adjuster gave our client an estimate for a settlement that would basically restore the property to a white box build-out that had been delivered years earlier, despite the fact that a number of costly improvements had been made.”
Goodman said that the insured knew something was missing from the estimate, but they were unsure of how to convey that to the insurance company. They were referred to Goodman’s team, which was able to collect for all the improvements that had been done to the space, and for all of the equipment that had been damaged as well, since their lease had stipulated that when the tenant was in default, the equipment became their property. The next time they had a fire, they called GGG as soon as the fire engines left.
He gave another example of a client, Urban Atlantic, a Maryland-based commercial real estate development and investment company that experienced a major fire at one of its complexes a few years ago. Urban Atlantic wanted to bring Goodman-Gable-Gould in immediately to assess the damage, but it had institutional partners who wanted additional assurances.
Eventually, after a few weeks, Urban Atlantic, its partners and clients agreed to bring in Goodman and his team, who were able to streamline the process and get prompt asset recovery underway. Shortly thereafter, the institutional partners also separately engaged Goodman on a rental income claim they had made for one of their apartment complexes that was under construction in Pennsylvania. GGG was able to collect a more appropriate settlement of over six times what the company had been offered before his team got involved.
“We view GGG as our first go-to partner in proactive insurance loss resolution," Urban Atlantic Managing Partner Vicki Davis said. "They effectively manage the process for a win-win outcome for all parties, including proactively working to mitigate further loss, appropriate documentation, accounting, and a general consensus-oriented approach with our insurers."
Goodman said that as a result of these successful claims, most clients like Urban Atlantic will call GGG immediately after a disaster has occurred. Some owners, however, choose to wait a while to see how the insurance company will respond and then end up bringing in the GGG team later. In these cases, the team may be able to help them, but they may not see the same results.
“My father always used to say, ‘You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube,’” Goodman said. “When we’re brought in late in the game, sometimes we can fix things, sometimes we can’t. It's always best that we get involved from day one. That's when you get your best results.”
He added that while the company has a strong presence in the mid-Atlantic, it has 11 offices from Florida to New York, in places like Atlanta, Nashville and San Francisco. Goodman-Gable-Gould regularly handles claims across the country and has recently been working with several clients in Texas, Louisiana and California from various storms.
At the end of the day, he said, GGG is all about helping policyholders level the playing field. Insurance companies usually hire numerous consultants and adjusters to advocate on their behalf, but Goodman-Gable-Gould is there to advocate for the policyholder.
“We speed up the process and make sure our clients get what they need to move forward,” Goodman said. “That’s what our firm is all about.”
This article was produced in collaboration between Studio B and Goodman-Gable-Gould Adjusters International. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.
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