For 20 years, FAPIA and its members have served residential and commercial policyholders throughout Florida by being their advocates through the insurance claims process. This site, part of our Who’s Your Public Adjuster? campaignfeatures the testimonials of policyholders whose property was damaged during hurricanes, fires, sinkholes and other damaging events. We invite you to read the experiences of fellow policyholders who benefitted from the help of public adjusters, and we invite you to share your story as well. Together, we can raise awareness about the importance of securing a reputable public adjuster as part of disaster preparations.

Click here to find a public adjuster near you.

Jack and Sharon Lennett’s Story

Jack and Sharon Lennett of Delray Beach, Florida and New York:

“My public adjuster is Steven Venook. It was so important to have someone on my side. He read my policy, he knew what my rights were as well.”

Their story:

When one of the fittings popped off the Lennetts’ kitchen sink plumbing in February 2013, the resulting leak flooded all but the master bedroom and bathroom in their 1,400-square-foot Delray Beach condo.

Their first call was to their insurer, MetLife. Then Jack Lennett called a restoration service to dry the water out and check for mold. The contractor asked Lennett the amount of his insurance policy deductible, and then charged that amount — $1,000 — to Lennett’s credit card.

“It took about three or four days for them to dry out the apartment,”  Lennett says.LennettsDamage

It wasn’t until Lennett contacted public adjuster Steve  Venook at the urging of a friend, that Lennett learned he had been taken advantage of by the contractor in paying him that $1,000.

Meanwhile, the insurer proposed paying about $10,000 for the Lennetts’ claim – not enough to cover replacing the condo tile flooring and cabinets damaged by water.

Venook took pictures of the damage, read carefully through the elderly snowbirds’ policy, and developed a cost estimate for repairs based on his years of training and experience in handling claims.

“I’m a neophtye in this,” Lennett says. “It was so important to have someone on my side. He read my policy, he knew what my rights were as well.”

Ultimately Venook helped the Lennetts get $31,500, which covered the repairs.

“If not for my public adjuster, I’d still be haggling for the claim money.”

Brian Goldsmith’s Story

Brian Goldsmith of Clearwater, Florida:

My public adjuster is Gary Rowland. I would have never thought about some of the things the public adjuster brought up, and they got estimates on things that I would have had no idea I needed. That added up to a pretty good sum that I would have had to pay out of pocket had it not been for my public adjuster.

His story:

Brian Goldsmith returned home four years ago from his three-day weekend celebrating the  Fourth of July to discover that a household plumbing break had left him swimming in expensive property damage. The water intake valve in one of his bathrooms busted during the middle of the night, and by the time he opened his front door, four inches of standing water greeted him.BrianGoldsmith1

He was just starting his claims process when a fellow parishioner urged him to enlist the help of a public adjuster. It turns out that he needed Gary Rowland’s help more than he ever anticipated. At the insurance company’s recommendation, the initial cleanup crew didn’t take the carpet out, and BrianGoldsmith2as a result dangerous mold began to form, forcing Goldsmith to move into a rental property for several months. All of the plaster had to be removed, and Goldsmith had to replace all of the cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms.

But the insurance company wanted to just cover the costs of cleaning and painting.

“The insurance company was willing to pay for the cleanup costs, but until the public adjuster came in, they were not willing to pay for my relocation and housing and everything I needed,” Goldsmith says. “That’s where he really helped.”

Rowland hired a mold specialist to fix the problem, and helped Goldsmith get $92,000 for his claim – more than 12 times the $7,600 originally offered by his private insurer.BrianGoldsmith3

“I would have never thought about some of the things the public adjuster brought up, and they got estimates on things that I would have had no idea I needed, like wood behind the plaster that had water damage,” Goldsmith says. “That added up to a pretty good sum that I would have had to pay out of pocket had it not been for my public adjuster.”

Elda Moyer’s Story

Elda Moyer of Snapper Village in Miami, Florida:  

“My public adjuster is Maria Triana. She represented my community through a very complicated claim. We took out a $2 million loan just to begin the repairs; our claim settled for over $5 million. Without the help of our public insurance adjuster, we could not have survived this financial burden.”

Her story:

snapperfish3I can tell you from personal experience that public adjusters work as consumer advocates on behalf of policyholders like me. I was president of Snapper Village Condominium Association in 2005 when Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma brought millions of dollars in damages to our 783 units and 93 buildings, including $1 million in debris removal alone.

Our claim was complicated due to the multiple buildings and units in our community. Because it was a condo, some damages were covered by the master policy and some were covered by the individual unit owners’ policies. Nobody on our volunteer board had any clue how to handle this.snapperfish1

We contacted a member of the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters, Maria Triana. She helped us through all the inspections with the insurance companies. She coordinated with contractors and roofing experts to document the claim.  Her team photographed every inch of the community, wrote a comprehensive estimate of the damages and met with the insurance company adjuster.  Whenever a resident or board member had a question, she explained where we were in the process.

We took out a $2 million loan just to begin the repairs; our claim settled for over $5 million. Every homeowner in this community would have had to be assessed many thousands of dollars if we had tried to make the repairs from our claims without the help of our own public insurance adjuster.snapperfish2 It would have caused a great deal of financial burden to our residents.

 

 

Diane Bertrand’s Story

Diane Bertrand of Miami, Florida: My public adjuster is Nancy Dominguez. When you find somebody that knows your policyholder rights, it is so comforting. It gives you hope that you’ll be protected. Before I had her, I just felt like I didn’t know my rights.

 

Her story:

Diane Bertrand considered herself fortunate after three storms, including Hurricane Wilma and what would later devastate New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina, left her townhouse in southwest Miami-Dade County mostly unscathed in 2005. But the following spring, as the mortgage broker cared for her dying mother, her private insurance company notified her that she would have to replace her damaged, aging wooden shingle roof – which she had last replaced with her own money after Hurricane Andrew.

The problem: It would cost $10,000, and the insurer was only willing to pay her $5,000. Already, Diane’s annual premium following the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons had skyrocketed from $2,000 to $6,000 for the 1,200-square-foot townhouse. With the roof dilemma, Diane panicked about her finances – her mortgage commissions from JP Morgan Chase had mostly dried up while she commuted to Naples to tend to her mother. Read more ›

Douglas Kier’s Story

Douglas Kier of Miami: My public adjuster is Manny Ferro. Manny did an excellent job for me. Once I contacted him, I really didn’t have to do much of anything. Even when I had to meet with Citizens, he attended the meetings with me. I was impressed. He really handled everything and saved me thousands of dollars.

His story:

The Miami home that Douglas Kier inherited from his parents escaped Hurricane Andrew relatively unscathed, but in February 2012 he and his wife discovered that a broken sanitary pipe underneath the slab of the house had caused extensive water damage behind the kitchen walls and under the tile floors. The water also damaged part of an adjoining dining room wall and the lower kitchen cabinets. Kier, who works in construction, typically handles his own home repairs but this was more extensive than he could manage.

When his brother-in-law learned of the situation, he urged Kier to contact a public adjuster to help him through his claim with his insurer, Citizens Property Insurance.

“If I hadn’t called I probably would have had to take what they wanted to give me and paid thousands of dollars out of my own pocket,” Kier said.

Citizens offered to pay Kier less than $15,000, or roughly half what it cost him to make the necessary repairs.  Ferro, a longtime adjuster, helped Kier get reimbursed for his full costs.

“Manny did an excellent job for me,” Kier said. “After I contacted him, I really didn’t have to do much of anything. I was impressed. He really handled everything.”

Steve Heuerman’s Story

Steve Heuerman of Palm Beach Gardens: My public adjuster is Pete Johnson of Fair Claim Settlement. The insurance company originally wanted to give us a dollar amount for my claim that would not even come close to covering the expenses. Pete got what we needed to cover the expenses, close to $40,000. His insight and opinion was always right on target. We put our trust in him and he did not disappoint us in anyway.

His story:

I was out of town for vacation when a water pipe broke and sent water all through my house. We don’t even know how long it was going before the landscaper came by and noticed water literally coming out of the doors. He called me and we got the water turned off, but by the time I came home the next day, it was just a mess. It was really bad.

A good friend of mine heard what had happened and he said right away, “You need to get a public adjuster.” I had never heard of one. So I did some research and interviewed a few before I selected Pete. I’m a schoolteacher, so I had no idea how the claims process works. I turned it all over to Pete. He did all the documentation, and he took all the pictures. He made the appointments with my insurance company; he met with them.

When I left it up to him, I felt safe. He knew the standard prices for damaged property value and renovations. He knew what to ask for and the steps to take. He could anticipate the problems that would come, like if the studs were warped in the wall that I would need new dry wall. He knew all the ins and outs.”

The insurance company originally wanted to give us a dollar amount for my claim that would not even come close to covering the expenses. Pete got what we needed to cover the expenses, close to $40,000. The small fee that he got as a percentage of that claim was well worth it for all he did to get me through the process.

His insight and opinion was always right on target. We put our trust in him and he did not disappoint us in anyway.

George Larry Reddish’s Story

Burnt house

George Larry Reddish of Starke, Florida: My public adjuster is Pat Cuccaro of Goodman-Gable-Gould Adjusters International. If I had not hired Pat and the group after my restaurant caught on fire, I don’t know that I would ever have been able to open up. From day one, once they got involved, the whole ball game changed. They made everything very clear cut. As a small business owner, one of your first calls within 30 minutes after any kind of disaster needs to be to your insurance company, and then you need to call your public adjuster.

His story

After more than 20 years of operating his Sonny’s Real Pit BBQ franchise in Starke, George Larry Reddish was enjoying loyal customers and a “booming” business. Then came the fire in March 2008 that began in his kitchen and caused extensive damage to the restaurant. After the fire, Reddish said he was confident his insurance company would take care of him, given his large policy coverage.

“I’ve never been skimpy in terms of the amount of coverage I bought,” Reddish said. “I just wanted to make sure I could sleep well at night and that if I ever had problem, I could get what I needed.”

Read more ›

Sharon Carter’s Story

carter

Sharon Carter of Orlando: My public adjuster is Jim Toukatly. Just having someone you know you can trust, who knows what you’re supposed to be doing for your claim, it is like that doctor you trust. I felt like I could finally exhale. When I found him I was in tears because it was such a relief to finally have someone actually help me, and I was finally making progress.”

Her Story

Sharon Carter’s home was infested with so much mold following the devastating domino of serious 2004 hurricanes – Charley, Frances and Jeanne – that blew through Central Florida, she developed bronchitis and had to temporarily move out of the home. It took three land-clearing crews months to deal with the tree damage on her large property. She had never faced such damage before, and initially tried to file the damage claim with her private insurance company on her own.

Read more ›

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