Adjusters, depending on their case load, normally need 1 to 2 weeks to review your Demand Package after receiving it. It is imperative that you have your “real number” in mind before negotiating. Your real number is what you want to settle the claim for, which should be lower than your Demand amount, which you padded to give the adjuster room to work you down a bit.
Never lower your Demand twice in-a-row without the adjuster raising their offer. This is called bidding against yourself. It is a classic sign that you are desperate for the money and are in a rush to get the claim settled.
Characteristics of a Good Negotiator
Negotiating is an art form. Being good at it requires a good sense of self awareness and the ability to read other people. Some good characteristics of a good negotiator include:
- Positive Attitude – Be confident in your claim and your position regarding its value while at the same time conveying optimism that you can get the case settled.
- Good Listener – Listen more than you talk when negotiating with an adjuster. You are not going to make a counter-demand or respond to their arguments/concerns during the call. All negotiating conversations with the adjuster are for you to listen to the adjuster’s reasoning and arguments for their offer. You need to identify and understand all their “points” so that you can methodically rebut them in your Counter Demand Letter(s).
- Ability to Communicate – Be able to explain and justify your claim and what you think its worth. We take the approach that the best way to do this for most people is to write the adjuster rather than trying to debate on the phone. Writing a Counter Demand Letter gives you the time needed to organize your thoughts and choose your words rather than trying to think on the fly.
- Objectivity – Your claim is a business transaction. Remain unemotional to the best of your ability. The adjuster is looking at your claim as a set of data points. Getting upset or agitated will not change the adjuster’s analysis. Quite the contrary. Remaining calm and objective will set you apart from the majority of claimants.
- Organization – showing a command for your claim’s facts, numbers, and evidence gives the impression you are a strong negotiator. Of course, you have been reading since the very beginning that organization is an important key to your claim’s maximum value.
There is a saying that neither party is happy in a successful compromise. You are going to take less than what you wanted and the adjuster is going to pay more than he/she wanted. That is just the nature of compromise.
Threatening a Law Suit
Many people think that threatening to file a lawsuit will cause the adjuster to substantially raise their offer. While this may have worked years ago, it does not have the same affect today. The adjuster will be happy to have one last claim on their desk. Or, they are happy to deal with an attorney rather than an individual, because attorneys are generally more professional and non-emotional than your average individual handling their own claim. Insurance companies in the last several years have factored costs of litigation into their operations.