Dear David: The Adjuster is Making Me Frustrated! What Can I Do?

Dear David,

Talking to the adjuster has been frustrating! I am a contractor but also the policyholder.  My house suffered water damages and I feel like this adjuster has been playing games with me. I told them stop or I would get an attorney.  The adjuster told me to have my lawyer contact them and then hung up the phone.  What happened and what could I do differently? 

Dear Frustrated,

Suffering a loss is difficult.  It is an emotional experience that taxes a person beyond their comfort. Unlike most policyholders you likely have an understanding of what will need to happen to repair your home.  Just like almost every single policyholder you have no idea what to say, how to say it, or anticipate the reaction on the other side.  These circumstances feed the anxiety driven by the claim. All is not lost, dialog can be established. Let’s explore what happened and what could be done differently. 

What Happened

Adjusters go through training courses before they ever pick up the phone.  In this on boarding process and through out their career certain concepts are imparted upon them as being of the utmost importance.  One of those concepts is the notion of respecting an attorney client relationship.  In a lot of circumstances insurance adjusters are not allowed to speak with a person represented by an attorney.  For the adjuster to speak without the policyholder’s attorney present usually requires the written permission of the attorney. Just mentioning retaining or consulting with an attorney can result in the adjuster terminating the contact.  This seems to be what you experienced. 

Making an assertion of involving legal counsel is often done with an eye towards compelling the other side to give you what you have been seeking.  The idea that involving legal counsel will somehow motivate a desired action in the context of speaking with an adjuster is not a good one. Instead, a policyholder could do better by exploring the interests of both sides, the positions each side is taking, and developing questions to explore each of these categories. 

What Could Be Done Differently

Kids know how to identify interests, explore positions, and ask strategic questions. It is not hard to understand that when a kid wants a cookie, they ask for one and await a response.  If the response is against their interest, they ask a question—Why? The response can range from the classic “because I say so” to some type of a condition to receiving a cookie such as “if you clean your room, you can have a cookie.” As we grow older these skills become important to achieving goals and optimum outcomes when more than a cookie is on the line. 

The process of identifying interests requires contemplation. 

Want to have your question, comment, or concern addressed in an article or arrange a private conversation? Send inquiries to:

David Princeton

David Princeton, CPCU, AMIM, AIC, CSRP, is the principal consultant of, an expert witness, and contributing author of Be Intentional: Culture. He attends Marquette University Law School and previously served as a director of corporate risk and as a lead claim specialist.

Advocate Claim Service takes the anxiety out of claims. Our mission is the strategic presentation of claims to get policyholders the benefits owed under an insurance policy. Claim consulting services are provided to Policyholders, Brokers, and Attorneys. As licensed insurance professionals, we have over 35 years of insurance claims experience across a wide array of coverage lines. In addition, our Insurance and Risk Management consulting practice is well suited to provide clarity to just about any insurance program before a loss occurs.

Latest Posts
Most Popular

Hey there! We're glad you're here!

This content is only available for subscribers. Please enter your email below to verify your subscription.

Don't worry! If you are not a subscriber, simply enter your email below and fill out the information on the next page to subscribe for FREE!

Back to homepage