Public Adjuster Qualifications – How to Find Help After the Storm

There are three categories of adjusters – company, independent, and public. Their licensing requirements are usually the same. The difference is in how they are paid. You will need one or more of them when you suffer an insurance loss.

The first is a company adjuster. He’s a staff adjuster, working for your insurance company. He’s on salary and handles all kinds of claims in your area – either residential or commercial but usually not both. He’s been with the company long enough to be licensed and trusted with the company’s clients. He’s the one dispatched when you call your agent or home office to “report a claim.” Your agent represents you only until you have a claim. Now, the staff adjuster becomes the face of the insurance company. Within a few days after he’s done, he’s usually followed by a quality control adjuster who makes sure he did not overpay the claim and he worked hard to answer your questions. Many local staff adjusters have check-writing authority up to a limit determined by their skill and tenure. Some of them do “on-site settlements” or “table-top claims handling.” They work hard under strict guidelines, and they are good at what they do.

The second is an independent adjuster. He comes from a bureau of adjusters. Some of the large bureaus are Pilot, Crawford & Company, and General Adjustment Bureau (commonly called GAB).These men are also nicknamed “storm chasers.” A local catastrophe results in a call “Send us 100 adjusters.” They will be dispatched to the area and will put on your insurance company’s hat while they are in town. They are usually paid a sliding fee per claim. Their job is to finish as many claims a day as they can. They are paid per claim, and they are usually very helpful and thorough. They have seen all kinds of claims and they travel a lot. Their estimates are sent back to the regional office where the checks are drafted and mailed to the customers. The independent adjusters are the ones who want to settle your claim quickly, at least on the front end. Once they complete their work, you will probably not see them again. You will be dealing with someone in the regional office who reviews your file and processes supplement requests. hire a dallas public adjuster

The third category, and the most important adjuster for our purposes here, is the public adjuster. Most public adjusters work alone. Their license is issued by the same state insurance department that licenses the staff and independent adjusters. They are usually bonded, and they are held to high knowledge and ethics standards. There are few large public adjuster firms. Most are one man companies. They handle fewer numbers of claims than either of the other two categories because of the nature of their job. You will see why in a moment.

Public adjusters have been called the “checks and balances” in the insurance industry. Yet public adjusters are frequent targets of over-regulation, resistance, or even removal from their vital role in the settlement process due to monopolistic tendencies in the industry.

If you have a large claim, if you have a combination of flood and wind claims, or if you have a complicated claim, you should consider hiring a public adjuster.

Just like you need a good real estate agent, attorney, or certified public accountant, there may come a time when you need a good public adjuster. When you do, he’s worth any price.

I have been a licensed adjuster in all three categories. I have worked for a national insurance company as a staff adjuster. I have traveled with an independent adjusting firm. I have provided millions of dollars of estimates for public adjusters before becoming one myself.

I have seen inadequate settlements. I have seen unscrupulous people – both insurance adjusters and insureds. I have seen great hard-working adjusters in the insurance industry – both on the company side and on the public adjuster side.