Port Authority hires firm for insurance fight
Adjusters International will take on companies


By DON HAMMACK
The Sun Herald
June 16, 2006


GULFPORT - Brian Revere acknowledged an "elephant in the room," but promised the Port Authority at Gulfport his team of public adjusters would beat the insurance companies.

The director of operations for Adjusters International, a Dallas-based disaster-recovery consulting organization, sold the port commissioners on hiring the firm to help get more money from their insurers. The board voted at its regular meeting Thursday to expand the company's role beyond its assistance in FEMA matters already in place.

The port has recovered $20 million in flood-insurance payments, the limit on that part of the $107 million insurance umbrella. It's been negotiating on the wind portions of the policies, most notably waiting for an engineering report to assess those losses.

The report from Lanier and Associates said there was $5.6 million worth of wind damage, creating the elephant in the room. Revere said he was so confident he'd get much larger chunks, his company would charge its 7 percent fee on money above $10 million recovered.

"That report, the insurance company will get a copy of. Your own experts that you paid for have just told you you have $5.6 million of wind damage, end of the story. Not $70 million, not $80 million, not $90 million," Revere said. "... I am so confident that we're going to kick their butt, I don't care about $5.6 million, $6.6 million, $8.6 million or $9.6 million."

Adjusters International also represents Harrison and Hancock counties, the Bay-Waveland school system and the Port of New Orleans. The engineers and insurance companies said there was $2 million to $3 million in roof damage, but they are pursuing $46 million now.

Commissioner John Rester asked the most pointed questions about the arrangement, trying to nail down exactly what that fee could wind up being. In the end, he joined the unanimous vote after pointing out what it meant.

"We don't know if we're talking about 7 percent of 10 million or 7 percent of whatever number, but understand folks, that comes out of our settlement," he said.

Commissioner Lenny Sawyer said he'd been in favor of hiring them since December, but the board had put it off while trying to get a handle on its FEMA reimbursements. The port has realized that insurance and FEMA are tied together, with many government claims put on hold until the settlements.

"I think we need to put them to work," said Sawyer.

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Copyright © 2006 by Sun Herald


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