Individuals are often unaware of their rights when dealing with large insurance companies but Steve Patrick, of the American Adjuster Association, said aggrieved parties have the right to file official complaints against adjusters and engineers with the state licensing board.
Patrick said it’s one way that individuals can fight back against perceived wrongdoing.
Patrick joined Doug Quinn, the executive director of the American Policyholder Association, at this year’s International Roofing Expo, where they hosted an education session that advised attendees how they can protect themselves and their businesses from insurance fraud.
As part of a four-part strategy against insurance fraud Patrick said he is focused on having a proactive lobby, identifying the fraud, prosecuting the fraud, and publicizing the outcomes of investigations so consumers are aware of what’s going on.
Quinn said there is a degree of an uphill battle in combatting insurance fraud and said in some states, insurance fraud is not even acknowledged in the law.
“We have a whole team and we bring our team to the table because we have some very powerful people in this industry, who really know what they’re doing and really are involved,” Quinn said.
Quinn said he is trained to review body language and said sometimes he has been the first person to tell insurance companies that they are committing fraud.
“Here’s the deal, X amount of the American population is willing to commit fraud for a profit or to avoid a loss,” Quinn said.
Patrick said he is able to get the ears of legislators by bringing forward constituents who will share their stories about insurance fraud experiences.
“You bring Mrs. Jones up in front of the legislature and she tells her story,” he said. “It’s an emotional word picture. She explains how what the insurance company has done has impacted her life and how devastated she is.”
Quinn said anyone who makes money on claims in any form is not allowed to serve on the APA’s board of directors and he said no conflict of interest is tolerated in his organization.
“There can’t be any profit motive,” he said.
Quinn said his disassociation from the industry gives him moral high ground.
“They want to sometimes point and say, ‘Oh, you’re a shill for contractors,’” he said.
Quinn said the American Policyholder Association is not made up of contractors, attorneys, public adjusters, or engineers. Instead, he said the organization is an advocacy group that stands up for consumers.
He said contractors should join the American Policyholder Association because they can serve as eyes and ears that can catch insurance fraud early on.
“You’re the people that are in the field, that are in the trenches that see what’s going on,” he said.
According to the American Policyholder Association’s website, the organization is comprised of property owner policyholders, non profit organizations, and advocates. The organization lists their mission as being “to provide aid to property owners seeking benefits at the time of loss.”
Likewise, The American Adjuster Association lists their mission as being to “educate property owners, elected officials and the press that an insured must be afforded cost-balanced representation in the claim process.”