So the safe thing to do is don't mention any contractor. How do you adjust a property loss without mentioning a contractor?
Normally it involves getting an "agreed cost." That means with a contractor 99% of the time. Who chooses this contractor?
If you want to keep at arms length through the whole process, the only way I can think of is to:
1. Hand your estimate to the insured and say "Here is what I think it will cost, it is your decision to choose whoever you like to do the work."
2. Or the insured has a contractor there to meet you. You then negotiate an agreed cost with him, and have the insured sign off on it.
The fact is, insureds can become extremely dense when it is in their interest to do so. When you hand this insured an estimate his first question will be "Who will do it for this price?"
Then, since it is apparently a bad idea to give three names, you say "There is the phone book. You find one." Oh, really? The agent will be on the line complaining in a flash (as soon as the insured calls him to say how he's being treated by you).
In the insured contractor scenario, the problem is, many contractors get with the insured and massage the adjustment, work up the costs, and generally make things difficult for you, by inflating the scope/price so that your principal will not pay it or you will look like a sap/incompetent/in bed with the insured/contractor if you recommend paying it.
The insured is of course usually complicit in this, so that his complaints to the carrier about your unfeeling difficult unfair adjusting are hypocritical to say the least.
Appraisal, of course.
The bottom line to this is, is your company/principal ready to go to appraisal whenever necessary to maintain the arms length distance and the integrity of the claims process? I don't think so.
So how do you avoid bringing in your contractor and/or recommending contractors?
The truth is you as an IA will be left to swing in the wind with your E & O carrier. Your principal will have no compunctions about squeezing you and your E & O carrier for everything it can get in the ensuing litigation.
The integrity of the claims process means the carrier stands behind the adjuster when he stands up for the integrity of the claims process. Does the carrier support the adjuster when the stuff starts to fly? When the insured complains to the agent? When the agent complains to the carrier?
I’d actually not sure how often the carrier supports the adjuster. As the adjuster, you don’t tend to hear about what is going on in the background complaint-wise–although sometimes of course you hear quite a bit.