What is an insurance adjuster?
An insurance adjuster, also known as a claims adjuster, is someone who processes claims filed with insurance companies, either from insureds or claimants. They review the facts of each case and determine an appropriate claim settlement under the terms of the insured’s policy.
What does an insurance claims adjuster do?
Insurance adjusters process claims for many types of small business insurance policies. Their job is to:
- Confirm that the insured has coverage for the incident
- Create a claim file for each case
- Speak with everyone involved in the matter to verify the loss
- Personally inspect the damage and interview anyone with injuries
- Request reports from public safety officials
- Estimate the cost of settling the claim
- If the cost is at or below the adjuster’s authority, submit a settlement offer to the insured
- If the cost exceeds authority, seek approval from the insurer’s claims manager
- If the insured has issues with the offer, negotiate a settlement that is fair to both that person and the insurer
Are there different types of insurance adjusters?
There are three main types of insurance claims adjusters:
- Company adjusters are employees of the insurance company. Since company adjusters work for your insurer, they primarily serve the needs of their employer. Although they consider your concerns, they’re largely focused on settling claims quickly and reducing claim payouts for their companies.
- Independent adjusters are self-employed adjusters whom insurers hire in certain circumstances. Independent insurance adjusters also work for insurers, except on a freelance or consulting basis. Companies may use them in cases where they don’t have a claims employee in a geographic area, are overloaded with claims, or lack an adjuster with experience in a certain type of claim.
- Public adjusters are similar to independent adjusters, except they work for the insured, not the insurer. Because insurance consumers hire them, public adjusters are in a better position to provide objective advice on settlements, a percentage of which serves as their fee. And since larger settlements increase their compensation, a public adjuster’s interests will usually align with yours.
When should you consider hiring a public adjuster?
If your small business insurance claim is relatively small – a few hundred or thousand dollars – then it probably doesn’t make sense to hire a public adjuster.
If you have a larger claim but have faith that your insurer will handle it fairly, it makes sense to let your company adjuster determine the claim payout.
However, if you suffered a major loss that could be catastrophic to your business or personal finances, it may make sense to hire a public adjuster at the outset.
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