Many associations know the complexity of a large insurance claim all too well. Whether it is a fire, hurricane, earthquake, or water leak, dealing with adjusters, tenants, and other board members can be difficult and confusing at times. In most cases, best practices dictate that a single director should be appointed to “head up” the insurance claim effort. While the whole board should make decisions together, having a single individual as the contact person for the insurance company and/or its adjusters can relieve stress and avoid confusion.

Another important aspect of having a single individual as the board’s representative is that that director can better keep a comprehensive record of the events and dealings with adjusters and other insurance representatives. This can be very important with large, and often complex, community association claims where communications with the insurer are often frequent and important.


While each conversation with the insurer or its representatives should be documented and, if possible, confirmed in a letter back to the adjuster, this is vital when there is any type of agreement reached.


While many policyholders are hopeful when an insurance adjuster agrees that a loss is covered or that a certain amount will be paid, occasionally the carrier may disagree and attempt to back out on the deal. This can delay a claim even further and can cause frustration and confusion in a delicate time that should be devoted to repairing the property.


As courts have recognized, “[a]n adjuster by definition is a “representative of the insurer who seeks to determine the extent of the firm’s liability for loss when a claim is submitted.” See Bankers Sec. Ins. Co. v. Brady, 765 So. 2d 870, 872 (Fla. 5th DCA 2000). If an adjuster holds himself out as a representative of the insurer with full authority to make decisions and act on the insurer’s behalf, the insurer is bound by these agreements.

In Bankers, the issue arose when the insurance adjuster and policyholder’s retained public adjuster agreed on the amount due under the contract. Unfortunately, the insurance company dismissed its adjuster shortly thereafter and refused to honor his previous agreement.

The court denied the insurance carrier’s attempt to revoke the previous settlement agreement and found that the settlement was binding based on the oral stipulation of its adjuster. Thus, the carrier was required to pay the amounts previously agreed upon.

In large, complex, community association claims, it is important to document each conversation with the insurer. Doing so can help avoid disagreements later as to what was agreed upon by the adjuster and can prove invaluable if an agreement is later retracted.

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Why choose Merlin Law Group?

Founded in 1985, our law firm continues to be dedicated to representing insurance policyholders throughout the United States. Collectively, our lawyers are licensed to practice in 25 states. In fact, many of Merlin Law Group’s attorneys worked for the insurance industry before joining the firm, so they bring a strong understanding of insurance company practices. Anyone can file a claim, but it takes experience, knowledge, and savvy to achieve a truly successful outcome. As The Policyholder’s Advocate®, Merlin Law Group aims to drive positive change within the insurance sector by obtaining justice for our clients and educating policyholders on how to navigate insurer bad faith tactics.

When we handle property insurance claim disputes, we hire the most experienced and qualified expert witnesses to evaluate your insurance claim and testify on your behalf. In most cases, we can advance the fees for this. Typically, we hire experts such as engineers, contractors, independent roofing consultants and other professionals to perform a thorough assessment on all possible causes of damages. This is a process that provides us with a very detailed and all-inclusive estimate for determining and justifying a proper settlement. Our use of these professional expert witnesses sets us apart from other insurance law firms.

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