You did the job. You hired the guys. You put in the sweat and tears. Now the insurance company wants to cut you a deal. Wait a second. A deal for who?
Don’t back down. The insurance companies are all bark. If you stand your ground, they will be forced to pay you in full.
Still don’t know how? Well, first you have to pull on your big boy pants. Don’t think you can? We can certainly do it for you. Our pants are big, indeed.
You can roll over and show your belly. You can take the offered 80%. Before you do that, think of how that will affect all of us. The insurance company gets used to screwing the little guy.
We want you to take the third option. We want you to fight back.
Are you ready?
STEP ONE: Set the tone and proper expectations.
The insurance company doesn’t want to pay you in full. Everybody knows that. To think otherwise is just crazy talk.
Out of the gate, they’ll try to pay you less. Here is an example of the types of emails I exchange with insurance companies all the time.
They are quick to throw the first punch.
“Your case is under review” they say. That’s all fine and good. You can review the case as much as you want, but you still need to pay the invoice.
This is not a negotiation. If they want to negotiate, they can take it to court. We know full-well that we would win a case if it went to trial. Properly documented losses never go to trial.
Xactimate shows in detail all the work that was done, along with what that work is worth.
There’s a term for this. It’s an “open and shut case.”
Your first email back to the insurance company should cover the following points:
You signed a contract with the insured.
- They are legally not able to change the contract.
- The invoice that was sent is for services rendered and is non-negotiable.
- If they don’t pay promptly, there will be late fees.
STEP TWO: Maintain pressure and stay the course
Let me repeat: The insurance company does not want to pay you in full. We all know this. We expect this.
Their next email will list some reason why they can’t pay you in full.
This is a lie. They are likely a billion-dollar company. The way they became a billion-dollar company is by ripping off folks like you and me.
Your next email should remain firm and non-negotiable.
Include the following in email #2:
- You don’t care what the given reason is.
- You signed a contract with the insured, not the carrier.
- This is an invoice and not an estimate.
- You cannot change your line item by law.
- Making a change to a signed contract is a felony.
- You stand behind your quality, and you are fully certified.
Remember: The insurance is playing a game with you. They want you to back down and take their low-ball offer. They have no teeth in their threats.
Under no circumstances should you accept their first offer unless that is an offer of payment in full (hey, it could happen!). Or you can decide you are willing to accept it.
STEP THREE: Count Your Folding Money
We aren’t doing anything illegal. We aren’t doing anything immoral. We’re getting paid for work we already performed.
Usually, after putting up a small fight, the insurance company will pay you in full.
Really, it’s not much of a fight.
If they thought they had a leg to stand on, they would take you to court. Since they know they would lose that battle, there is no legal fight.
Most legal battles are not started by the insurance carrier. Instead, they are started by the insured party. When they realize that they’re on hook to pay the contractor invoice, they sue the insurance company to get full restitution. If the insurance company is smart, they would settle at this point.
Some aren’t so smart. As a contractor, that isn’t your fight.
ABOUT CLAIMS DELEGATES
In 2012, Andy McCabe founded the property claim estimating and claims consultancy called Claims Delegates. Claims Delegates retains an army of dedicated professionals who write Xactimate® estimates for contractors, attorneys and adjusters across the country. They also consult on Large Loss and CAT events. They are currently accepting new client applications. Contact us today!
Also published on Medium.