Public Adjuster Sought for Fraud
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, police are searching for a public adjuster who is accused of two counts of fraud. Steven Eric Chastain, 58, is accused of defrauding a business client after Hurricane Michael. Mr. Chastain allegedly pocketed multiple checks that were intended for a business that suffered hurricane damage.
This is not the first time a public adjuster has been accused of malfeasance, and it won’t be the last. If you have an insurance dispute, we recommend hiring an attorney instead of an adjuster. Bundza & Rodriguez, P.A. has represented many people in Volusia County after a hurricane, and we would be happy to meet with you.
What are Public Adjusters?
Making an insurance claim is often very complicated. Business people in particular want to focus on their business’ recovery following a hurricane or other natural disaster. Consequently, they often hire a professional to represent their interests in the claims process.
This is where public adjusters come in. They are independent professionals who are authorized to represent an insured in a claim for a fee. Of course, insurance companies typically provide an adjuster at no cost to the insured, but many policyholders want their own representative, especially if negotiations have stalled.
A public adjuster can try to negotiate a better payout from the insurer. They can help you document your loss and submit paperwork.
Do You Need a Public Adjuster?
If you have an insurance dispute, you can also hire an attorney to represent you. Unlike public adjusters, lawyers have more experience with the legal side of disputes and can help analyze novel legal situations. An attorney can also go into court and file a lawsuit, if necessary, whereas public adjusters cannot.
Both public adjusters and lawyers are regulated by public agencies. However, the legal profession is typically regulated very heavily. Lawyers owe certain duties to their clients and can lose their licenses if they violate the ethical code.
What Are Signs of Public Adjuster Fraud?
If you have hired an adjuster or are looking to, keep your eyes peeled for the following:
- Florida law limits public adjusters to soliciting business Monday through Saturday, 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. If you are contacted outside those times, you should avoid hiring the person.
- Unclear fees. You should know how much you are paying. Remember that Florida law prohibits fees in excess of 10% in a declared emergency (and 20% in other situations).
- Poor reputation. Perform an online search and check the Better Business Bureau. If there are many complaints about an adjuster, you should perhaps hire someone else.
- Communication problems. You should always be able to get in touch with your adjuster. If they are hard to reach, they could be untrustworthy.
Do You Have an Insurance Dispute in Daytona Beach?
Bundza & Rodriguez, P.A. has quickly established itself as a premier property damage law firm in the area. If you are struggling to get a claim paid, please contact our Daytona Beach property damage lawyers today. We will analyze your dispute and provide a solid game plan for getting compensation.