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Property Law
confirm whether appraisal is appropriate under the circumstances of the loss. Filing a declaratory judgment action along with a motion for a temporary restraining order has successfully prevented an “empty-chair” appraisal to go forward.
 Tactic #5: Public Adjusters Submitting Inflating Estimates
 Public adjuster’s property damage estimate increasingly are at least double, if not more, than the carrier’s estimate for the covered damage. The estimates may come in the form of a contractor’s one line estimate or in Xactimate. In order to determine whether the estimates are the public adjuster’s attempt to fraudulently seek costs for damages unrelated to the covered damages or to fraudulently increase the cost of covered damages, carriers should obtain any and all information they can to determine whether the public adjuster is committing fraud. Some of my clients have taken the strategy of demanding the examination under oath of the insured, and if provided under the terms of the policy, the public adjuster as well. With the demand for the examination under oath, a request for production of documents led to uncover fraud committed by the insured and the public adjuster as well as the withdrawal of the claim or appraisal demand.
 See the chart on the previous page for results.
Karen K. Karabinos is an FDCC Defense Counsel Member and a Partner with Chartwell Law in the Atlanta, GA. Contact her at:
 Consider all of these strategies with your clients to show that in dealing with public adjusters, sometimes a good defense is a good offense.

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