WDSU.com, News Channel 6 from New Orleans, recently reported the story of one policyholder in Louisiana who was assisted by a public insurance adjuster. The article, “Public Adjuster Can Help Insured Get Payments,” relayed the story of Mr. Henry Quintanila. Three rental units he owned were badly damaged by fire. The insurance company, which was not named in the article, paid less than $30,000.00 on the claim. Quintanila wasn’t happy, so hired Anthony Odeh’s public adjusting firm for a better resolution.
Recently, I spoke with Anthony Odeh about his assistance with this claim. I learned some additional information about this loss and Odeh’s background. Odeh started Claims Consulting, LLC, in 2005 after recognizing the need for insureds to have a professional assist them with claims. His strong construction background (he was formally a general contractor) helped build his public adjusting company, which now handles claims in Louisiana, Michigan and Florida.
When working Louisiana claims, Odeh explained how particularly difficult it can be to level the playing field for the insureds.
In Louisiana, insurers treat PA’s with a lot of resistance and I think this is because there is a misconstrued perception that PA’s are the enemy. Until 2007, the practice of public adjusting was not recognized in Louisiana. While other states have regulated and licensed public insurance adjusters for generations, public adjusting was something new for Louisiana. Since insurance adjusters were not accustomed to an advocate public adjuster helping and impacting claims, adjusting the damages with the insurance companies has been an uphill battle.
The resistance towards PA’s was clearly expressed in the comments posted to the article on WDSU.com. Several comments attacked public adjusting as a whole and cautioned insureds that the public adjusters were paid from the proceeds of the recovery.
Unlike many other news reports about insurance claims, Mr. Quintanila, the actual policyholder, was interviewed and quoted in the article. Quintanila explained his claim experience:
I had to get the plumber, I had to get the electrician. I had to get the permit from the city… regular citizens don’t know how insurance really works and the way I feel like now, I feel like they just, just give you this money and you have to be happy and satisfied with what they give you.
The online comments posted about the article were very critical towards public adjusting, but they failed to provide any response or solution for insureds in Mr. Quintanila’s position. Odeh, however, did provide a solution for this policyholder. In the end, the insurance company paid for loss of rents for the three apartments and paid a gross payment of more than $53,000.00 for the damage to the structure.