The Independence Team – from left, Steve and Sandy Boydstun, Erin and Tony Astone, with little Nigel.
By Allen Payton
There’s a service being offered by a local business that property owners may not be aware of. I know I wasn’t, until now. Independence Public Adjusters, Inc. (IPA) can go to bat for you with your insurance company when you have a claim for fire or flood damage, to make sure you get the maximum settlement you deserve.
It was started in October, 2012, after company President Tony Astone spent 20 years in the insurance industry, including working for Safeco, as an adjuster handling multi-million dollar claims, and five years with one of the largest public adjuster companies in the nation.
He’s brought his expertise to Antioch, in this family owned and operated business, with his new wife Erin (they got married, last year), who works there part-time, and partner Steve Boydstun, who handles sales management, and Steve’s wife Sandy, their office manager.
For usually 10% of the total settlement, IPA is licensed by the state to handle property claims and represent a property owner’s interests, to ensure the insurance company fulfills its obligations in your policy and “have things put back the way they were before the damage,” Tony said.
“Ninety-percent of what we do is residential,” he shared. “House and contents, mostly fire or cars that run into homes, or flooding from pipe breaks.” But, they also handle commercial claims, as well.
The insurance company pay to fix it, but not always the way it should be, according to the Fair Claims Practices with the California Department of Insurance, he added.
Get the most money you deserve from your insurance
IPA has consistently been able to get clients a higher percentage of recovery by not allowing the insurance company adjusters to take short cuts. That’s because they take more time, do the detail work and have their own estimators, content specialists and forensic accountants who use their expertise for the property owner, not the insurance company’s bottom line.
“The insurance company adjuster is overworked and underpaid, handling a high volume of claims,” Tony said, who knows from his years on the insurance company side of the business. “So, we take the time to get it right.”
For example, one of their clients was offered a $25,000 settlement by his insurance company, for repairs after experiencing a pipe break and flood damage to his home. Independence was able to get that homeowner a settlement of $213,000 in repairs, after doing their analysis of the damage.
On another claim, by a church, for water damage due to flooding from a pipe, Independence was able to increase their settlement from the initial offer of $75,000 to $320,000 instead. Why? Because they discovered the complete amount of damage to the walls and carpeting, as well as from mold that the insurance company’s adjusters had overlooked.
It’s best to get Tony and his team involved at the beginning. If people wait to hire them until after the insurance company gives them their estimate, it’s usually lower and too late.
“You may have shot yourself in the foot, by saying something that becomes a coverage issue,” Tony said. “You won’t even know that you left money on the table and it will take longer to settle the claim.”
The company can even help those who have already settled their claim up to three years later. They can do an audit and determine if the settlement should be greater and they only get paid their fee if you get more money from your insurance company.
They deal with your insurance company for you
IPA not only adds financial value to your insurance claim, they also save you time by being the ones on the phone or at meetings with the insurance company.
It simply starts with signing a Letter of Representation, then Independence takes it from there.
The fact that they work on a percentage basis, means they have an incentive to get the maximum settlement for their client’s claim.
Now, after his years in the business, Tony has established credibility and good working relationships with insurance company adjusters by gaining their trust. That’s because Independence can always defend anything they claim on behalf of the property owner. Some times an insurance company adjuster, who has worked with Tony and the IPA team will just ask him what their settlement offer should be and go from there.
What Antioch residents say about Independence
They have many satisfied clients, whose testimonials can be read on their website at www.independencepublicadjusters.us.
One Antioch resident, named Helen had this to say: “Not only did they secure for me what was due on the insurance company; but they exceed my expectation in every way. Tony and Steve are A-1 professionals and awesome individuals; extremely helpful. I can’t say good enough for IPA.”
Antioch residents Robert and Tracie Hill shared their experience with Independence: “On Sept. 15, 2013, we had a fire at our home, which totaled my Garage and Laundry Room. Upon getting home to view the damage, I was met at my car by a person from a Restoration Company. He wanted me to sign this and that before I could even think about anything. A neighbor put us into contact with Steve from IPA right away. He told me to wait and think my options through. Steve told me what he does and represents with IPA. I felt comfortable with him not rushing me into a decision. The next day, my wife and I met with Steve and Tony. I was really impressed with their knowledge and experience. We signed with them, and it was the best decision that we made for our claim. Tony, took over the claim, and hit the ground running! He took care of everything and kept us informed of all things via email, texts and phone. He was able to get us an advance for living expenses and a place to stay right away. Tony was able to get us all that we were entitled to. My wife and I absolutely recommend IPA to anyone that is in need of some experts to work their claim.”
So, now that you know that this service exists, and right here in Antioch, if you experience property damage from a fire, accident or flood or know someone who has, do as their slogan states. “Claim Your Independence” and give Tony and his team a call at (925) 325-4989.