Irene Storm Damage Reminds of Importance of Insurance Adjusters

As Irene pounds the east coast many people now remember how important it is to have a good insurance adjuster, when there is hurricane or storm damage. Under the law, insurance companies have to send an adjuster such as within a short time framework, some within 15 days. Adjusters must be available to inspect the damage quickly.

And most people don't know, that whatever settlement the adjuster gives, is binding upon the insurance companies. "Our average hurricane response time is 2 days" reported Ben Boothe, who is a licensed insurance adjuster in several states, a broker, and a licensed appraiser. Boothe represents national insurance companies, banks and also does adjustment, valuation and appraisal consulting for special projects. 

"It is very frustrating to people to have their commercial businesses, retail stores or homes a total mess, and the insurance company not respond. People want the insurance adjuster to be there and take photos and see how bad it really is. So we work day and night to help people out." Ben Boothe, Insurance Adjuster

News reports say that the 500-mile wide Hurricane Irene, with winds of around 80mph is moving slowly northwards. New York and other large cities are in its predicted path.

More than two million people have been ordered to leave their homes after warnings of storm surges and flooding.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced on Saturday afternoon that "over a million people have left the Jersey shore in the last 24 hours".

In New York City, 300,000 people living in low-lying areas have been told to leave in an evacuation.

However, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said many were choosing to ignore the evacuation orders. More than 90 shelters with room for about 70,000 people have been opened but by early evening on Saturday only about 5,500 people had checked in.

"This is going to be a very serious storm, no matter what the track is, no matter how much it weakens. This is a life-threatening storm," Mr Bloomberg warned.

"Staying behind is dangerous, staying behind is foolish and it's against the law."


For those thousands of property owners who have property destroyed by the storm, be sure your company does not have clauses that will allow them to avoid paying. Many distinguish "water damage" from storm damage, and will not pay for one or the other.

You do not have to accept the dollar amount that your insurance adjuster gives, indeed you can ask for another adjuster, or even hire a "public adjuster" to inspect your property. If the adjuster that you bring in allows $100,000 in damages and your insurance company adjuster allows $75,000 in damages, then they will negotiate a settlement that is fair and hopefully agreeable with you.

If you can find an adjuster that also has an appraisal license, then you have more credibility.

Ben Boothe, President of Boothe and Associates ( is both a licensed insurance adjuster and a licensed appraiser. If there is a value dispute, then an appraiser will be called in. If you already have a report done by an appraiser and an adjuster, you have more credibility. Did you know that 90% of the adjustments done by adjusters who are also licensed appraisers, stand up without alteration. So, our advice, is that if you can manage it, hire an adjuster with appraisal credentials. See this video for helpful hints on how to get a fair insurance adjustment during storms such as Irene: