Fire loss advice and help


New member
Hey all, I had a fire loss at my house about 4 months ago, and I am still in the process of negotiating a settlement with the insurance company. Relevant points:
  1. House is located in Michigan, USA.
  2. I have hired a public adjuster (10% fee)
  3. I am a licensed builder in Michigan.
I have extremely limited prior experience with both the insurance claim process, and the remediation process. I do mostly renovation and addition work, I have only done one, very small, flood damage job and I did not perform the cleaning and mitigation work, just the carpentry and finish work.

My questions:
  1. What is the appraisal experience like? We're not there yet but we may get there.
  2. Is it normal in your area to not be able to get estimates for cleaning? I've asked several local companies for estimates, and I have yet to have one follow through. At this point, I'm not authorizing and billing directly to the claim. Will this preclude me from getting estimates?
I've tried to keep this as brief as possible, if I didn't include something relevant, please excuse my ignorance. I am happy to provide anything I can. I appreciate your time, thanks for replies!
@colbys Why is this taking so long? Has any work been done in this time? What was it that made you want a public adjuster and not just call a specialist restoration company?
@randytheoldguy Agreed- at four months if you haven’t done anything, you could be looking at no upholding your duties to prevent additional damages and mitigate.

Just getting a PA because - is not always the best idea. You aren’t getting any more money from insurance and that money comes out of your estimate.

Insurance loves when you get a PA - it means the person acts rational and no emotion in it. It’s nuts and bolts. Here is what is damaged and here is what we owe.
@sevenstars I am not at all concerned about "not upholding my duties." As far as legal exposure is concerned, or breaching the contract of the policy, I'm fine.

Do you have any experience with this type of stuff? Given your response, it sounds like your experience is limited as well.
@randytheoldguy I already addressed that concern in my comment above; that particular concern is not an issue in this specific instance. I have faithfully performed all the duties that were and are required of me as the insured. Duty to prevent additional damage means having the premises secured, water mitigated, and other reasonable steps to ensure that no additional damage occurs to the property as a direct result of a failure to perform such tasks. As I said, we're fine on that point.

Do you work for an insurance company? I understand that if you are employed by a carrier, underwriter, or related employer/industry, you are not able to effectively answer the questions I have, since they are more directed at insureds that have had similar experiences. I posed two fairly simple questions, and I am sure one or both of you have some actual useful, and relevant insight, if you have the experience(s) you claim to. Just to be clear, neither of you have provided anything close to useful so far. Your prerogative, to be sure, but not useful.
if you have the experience(s) you claim to. Just to be clear

OK. To be clear. You screwed up when you got a public adjuster. Property claims like this without a lot of personal property loss are really cut and dry. It costs what it costs to repair, that's it. Adjuster comes and does their estimate, release initial payment minus depreciation and work starts, if more money is needed you submit documentation to justify it and they release more funds. Very straightforward. If it costs $25k to repair, that's what they pay minus your deductible. It's a really simple process.

Unfortunately, a public adjuster is just going to take 10-15% of that $25k. They can't make the repairs cost more, all they are doing is filing the paperwork on your behalf and taking their cut. After 4 months if you don't have an estimate from the carriers adjuster and an initial payout, someone is holding up the process. It's either you, the carriers adjuster or your public adjuster. Find out who and start fixing everything.
@randytheoldguy *Sigh* let's break it down, since you're still not getting it apparently.
  1. I did not screw up by hiring a PA, and to suggest such only serves to demonstrate that you are not well versed in the usefulness of a PA to the insured. Your assertion that claim are '"cut and dry," incorrect structure of the idiom, by the way, it's : "cut and dried." Insurance claims are never 'cut and dried,' to the insured.
  2. There was a lot of personal property lost, almost $90k. You didn't ask, so I didn't think it was pertinent to mention. The PA helped tremendously with this portion of the claim, if nothing else by cataloging the loss items. Your commentary on the PA is not required, nor is it useful in any way. The PA in this situation has been attentive, responsive, correct and accurate with their filings and communications. In short, everything the carrier has not been. I can understand your wish to generalize PAs, but in this instance you are incorrect. A theme!
  3. It is not a simple process, like you suggest. No construction, remediation, or repair is, at least not in terms you outline. You clearly do not have any appreciable experience in construction or repair outside of the insurance adjusters' typical scope and job responsibilities.
  4. We are talking way, way more than $25k to repair. The fact that you would venture that amount speaks to your lack of knowledge on this subject.
  5. I already spoke to what I thought were the reasons the process is being held up, so this second-to-last sentence is nonsensical at best. Your commentary is again, not useful. I am seeing a pattern.
  6. You have yet to provide either any kind of credential indicating you have professional experience, and you have not refuted my supposition that you work for an insurance company. It sounds like you are at the very least, in collusion with the industry in some regard, whether or not that constitutes actual employment.
So I'll ask it again: do you have anything useful or pertinent to bring to the discussion? Before you answer, I'll remind you that in the original post, there were two specific and relatively easy questions posed that you have categorically ignored. If you want to bring something useful, maybe start by directly addressing those first. Or don't, whatevs.
@randytheoldguy It's taking so long partly due to my naivete, partly due to local labor and material shortages, partly due to the structure adjuster low-balling the hell out of the settlement.

As I said, I have very little experience with the processes here, and I felt it was a good idea to hire and advocate with much more experience than I have.

EDIT: The only work that has been done thus far is the fridge has been removed, and electrical power has been restored to the premises. The house is secured.

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