While out on a storm, an adjuster will most likely come across all manner of people. Some will try to claim authority over the situations, others will try to deceive or stretch the truth, and some will be very helpful. It is up to the adjuster to know who these people are and what they are trying to do.
The roofer is an important piece on the board. When an adjuster is adjusting the damages of a storm to the roof, a roofer will most likely be present.
During a hail and wind storm, a roofer will be present at nearly every single claim. They will also be present during a hurricane, but they won’t appear until after the initial claims have been worked on for Ground Zero—the beginning of claims in a storm.
What does a roofer do?
A roofer is a contractor that is hired for a specific piece of the puzzle, per se. They may take on more of the loss if it’s a hail claim. They may do gutters and windows and siding and all that too, but they are hired to remove and replace the roof based on the damages being covered under the policy.
Some roofers may try to say they have authority over the insurance claim—that the homeowner has asked the roofer to represent them while discussing the damages. However, the roofer does not have any authority over the adjuster.
Quite commonly, a roofer will act as a representative of the claim. When in reality, the adjuster has an obligation to the policyholder to handle the claim with the policyholder—not the roofer.
The roofer doesn’t need to understand anything about coverages nor does he know anything about policy. The roofer is the roofer and nothing more. He is only paid to do the roof—the job.
Who has authority with the claim?
Only a few firms remain that give the adjuster—either the IA or the staff adjuster—authority to speak on behalf of the carrier and settle a claim.
When an adjuster is speaking to a roofer, the adjuster must understand that they do not have the authority to share information about the policyholder or the policy with the roofer—unless the policyholder has given the adjuster permission to do so.
The adjuster is obligated to the insured not the roofer. The adjuster should still be nice to the roofer and speak about what needs to be discussed. But the roofer is not owed the information, and you do not have to agree or disagree with them.
By obligation, the adjuster must release the information to the policyholder about what is being done and what is not being done with the file. However, at the same time, the adjuster does not have to be responsible for that because the adjuster does not have the authority to express coverage over the policy.
In addition to this, there are many stereotypes that surround roofers. One stereotype is that they are always pushing for the entire roof to be bought. This stereotype rings pretty true most of the time.
It’s safe to assume that nine out of ten roofers are going to tell the adjuster that the roof is damaged and needs to be replaced.
Sometimes, the roofer takes it a step further and convinces the insured that the roof needs to be replaced. In that instance, the adjuster should continue with documenting the roof.
Be prepared, however, the roofer knows the markings adjusters use on a roof. Once you mark it in a way that he disagrees with he will voice his opinions.
How to communicate with a roofer
In response to how he handles a disagreeing roofer, The Adjuster Guy said, ”My response to the roofer is, ‘That’s fine. I’m happy to document whatever you think is damage. I’ll document what I think is not damage, and I’ll submit that on my report. I will let the carrier decide how they want to handle the claim from that point forward.’ That’s the exact same way I lay it out to the insured.”
The adjuster should document everything—even if they don’t agree with it. They should let the carrier decide what to cover and what not to cover and let the insured know they documented everything—including the roofer’s opinions—and will be letting the carrier decide the fate of the claim.
As an IA, an adjuster is going to handle a roofer the same way he would handle a public adjuster. With the roofer, however, you are not responsible or obligated to share information with him. The adjuster does not owe the roofer anything—explanation, information, thoughts, etc.
The roofer is just there because he feels like he should be present for his customer. It doesn’t make any difference to the adjuster’s job whether the roofer is present or not during the inspection. The adjuster does the job the same way every time with or without the presence of a roofer.
Whereas the public adjuster becomes the source—or policyholder—the roofer is an outside source.