A public adjuster is an insurance claims adjuster who advocates for the policyholder in appraising and negotiating a claimant’s insurance claim. Aside from attorneys and the broker of record, public adjusters licensed by state departments of insurance are the only type of claims adjuster that can legally represent the rights of an insured during an insurance claim process. A public adjuster will be most beneficial when it is clear that the insurer will pay the claim and the only issue is the proper identification and valuation of the loss. Most public adjusters charge a percentage of the settlement. Primarily they appraise the damage, prepare an estimate and other claim documentation, read the policy of insurance to determine coverages, and negotiate with the insurance company’s claims handler.
There are three types of insurance claims adjusters
It is important to understand the difference between them.
1) Staff adjusters (employed by an insurance company or self-insured entity)
2) Independent adjusters aka Company adjusters (independent contractors hired by the insurance company)
3) Public adjusters (employed by the policyholder)
It is ALWAYS better when a policyholder immediately contacts a public adjuster in the event of a loss. Shortly after the insurance company receives notice of a loss, an insurance adjuster representing the insurance company will visit the policyholder to gather facts about how the loss occurred, the magnitude of the loss, and the possibility of subrogation. Incorrect, incomplete or inadequately expressed answers to the adjuster’s questions may reduce the amount that can be claimed. A public adjuster engaged early in the process, before the fact-finding stage, will have a better opportunity to help the policyholder receive a fair settlement for all losses legitimately covered under the insurance policy. However, any time during negotiations with the insurance company and even after a settlement has been received by an insured; a public adjuster may be able to negotiate for a higher amount.