Why Use a Public Adjuster
What is a Public Adjuster?
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’s involvement is essential to ensuring that proper identification and valuation of the loss is recognized by the insurance carrier. Most Public Adjusters charge a percentage of the settlement, with the average charge being between 10-15 percent, although some states cap that fee. Primarily, public claims adjusters appraise the damage, prepare an estimate and other claim documentation, read the policy of insurance to determine coverage, and negotiate with the insurance company’s adjuster.
There are three classes of insurance claims adjusters: staff adjusters (employed by an insurance company or self-insured entity), independent adjusters (independent contractors hired by the insurance company) and Public Adjusters (employed by the policyholder). “Company” or “independent” adjusters can only legally represent the rights of an insurance company.
Outside the United States, Adjusters are commonly called (or are translated into English as) “insurance loss assessors” (or simply “loss assessors”) and staff adjusters or independent adjusters are called or translated as “insurance loss adjusters” (or simply “loss adjusters”). However, there is a clear distinction between a loss adjuster, who works on behalf of an insurance company, and a loss assessor who works on behalf of a policyholder.
Why use a Public Adjuster?
A Public Adjuster works for the property owner, not the insurance company. The highly stressful period following a loss is a difficult time for individuals and businesses. A Public Adjuster can take those major headaches away and let you get back to your home or business. A typical fire or flood policy contains hundreds of provisions and stipulations, constantly changing forms and endorsements, and many complex details such as inventory appraisals and real estate evaluations that are required in case of a loss. Most policyholders do not know that the burden of proof is theirs. Public Adjusters know the insurance business and are familiar with all procedures so they can work quickly to expedite payments.
How Can a Public Adjuster Help Property Owners?
Public Adjusters are experts on property loss adjustment retained by policyholders to assist in preparing, filing, and adjusting insurance claims. Employed exclusively by a policyholder who has sustained an insured loss, these professionals manage every detail of the claim, working closely with the insured to provide the most equitable and prompt settlement possible. A Public Adjuster inspects the loss site immediately, analyzes the damages, assembles claim support data, reviews the insured’s coverage, determines current replacement costs, and exclusively serves the client, not the insurance company.
What Types of Claims Can a Public Adjuster Help With?
A sampling of the types of residential or business losses a Public Adjuster can assist with include:
- Hurricane and Wind Damage
- Riot and Civil Commotion
- Smoke Damage
- Vandalism and Theft
Often, physical damage loss can trigger additional losses for businesses. Among the business insurance forms, a Public Adjuster will assist with are:
- Business Income
- Builders’ Risk
- Leasehold Interest
- Mechanical and Electrical Breakdown
- Extra and Expediting Expense