How to Make the Most of an Underinsured Loss

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...still be issues if both the insured and the carrier are pursuing a third-party claim. Since most cases settle prior to trial, if the offer is enough to satisfy the insured but not both the insured and the carrier, the carrier may reject the settlement offer and thus stymie a favorable settlement for the insured. Additional complications can arise if there is no agreement as to the total amount of the insured’s loss, since there will be issues and possibly additional litigation on how to apportion a final award.

There are some actions the insured can take to minimize the conflicts with the carrier in pursuing a third-party claim. First, the insured’s attorney should carefully review any subrogation receipts that are presented to the insured to sign. If they contradict the made-whole doctrine, then they should be revised. Also, in some cases, it may be better for the insured to negotiate an agreement to split any settlement or award proceeds on a percentage basis that is fair under the facts of the specific case. That allows the insured and the carrier to work together and usually achieve a more prompt settlement. Also, when the insured is willing to agree early on to a percentage split with the carrier, typically the carrier will be willing to cover the costs (not fees) of litigation. In short, an early agreement with the carrier can be beneficial for both the insured and the carrier.

5. Ask the Insurance Company Adjuster for Help

Despite the sometimes-negative perceptions of insurance company adjusters, it is often simply their tremendous caseload or the negative attitude of an insured that will prevent them from pointing out ways to maximize coverage. Ask themwhat you can do to maximize coverage, and they may be able to point out coverages of which you were unaware. Also, adjusters have a separate category for loss adjustment expenses. Sometimes they can pay for some of the costs as a loss adjustment expense. Have them explain exactly howmuch documentation they need to pay limits, so you do not spend an unnecessary amount of time documenting a claim and thus delaying payment.

6. Request Advance Payments

This may seem like an obvious need on the part of policyholders who have just experienced a major loss; however, even in clearly underinsured claim situations, insurance company adjusters do not always offer to make payments prior to the claim being submitted. It is important to ask for advances immediately, in as large amounts as possible. Better that the insured have use of the money. Also, the availability of cash will help the insured to acquire better deals with vendors and make decisions more quickly, which will also help to minimize the loss.

It is important to ask for advances immediately, in as large amounts as possible. Better that the insured have use of the money.


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