insurance personnel who investigates property or personal damage and determines the compensation amount paid for a claim settlement.
The claim adjuster will begin the negotiation process after filing a claim against a person you think is at fault for your incident. The insurance company's adjuster doesn't handle claims most of the time, but a firm of independent adjusters does. This is usually the case when the insurance company doesn't have a local office in your area.
When it comes to property damage, the adjuster's primary role is to investigate the claim. They will:
- Talk to the owners of the property.
- Inspect damage.
- Talk to witnesses.
- Review police reports.
It is a must for insurance claim adjusters to pass specific exams in some states like Florida. Also, they must hold professional qualifications. Unlike other states, adjusters are allowed to qualify according to Accredited Claims Adjuster Designation (ACAD). These adjusters don't need to pass the state licensing exam to operate.
You can judge the claims adjuster's performance by how quickly they can settle claims, the amount of money they spend on claim settlement, and the number of claims they can settle without involving a company lawyer or supervisor. The authority of the adjuster is to make sure you agree on the final amount of settlement. The adjuster will send you the paperwork to finalize the settlement and the claim amount.
Example of an Adjuster
Let's say a tree falls on the house, and the homeowner makes an insurance claim; the claim adjuster will first talk to the homeowner and then the witnesses. Then the claim adjuster will inspect the property and determine the extent of the damage. Concluding on the repair cost will be done after the extent of damage has been determined. Handing the insurance company the documentation that describes the incident and the recommendation for the amount claimed will be the next step. (The claim amount is that money the homeowner will receive to repair the house from the insurance company.)
After completing the investigation, the adjuster will determine the insurance company's potential liability to the insured. Usually, the owners are convinced to accept less money than their claim amount.
Types of Adjusters
Independent claims adjusters and in-house claim adjusters share similar operations. However, independent claims adjusters have a lower authority in case of a settlement, unlike in-house adjusters. The independent claim adjusters will therefore need approval from a claim supervisor. When it comes to the process of claim settlement negotiation, it is the same.
Since they receive claims in large numbers, most public entities have their own claim adjustment offices. The process of claim settlement negotiation is similar to private claims adjusters and government entity adjusters. The only difference is that, unlike the private claim adjusters, government entity adjusters tend not to compensate generously. Sometimes an attorney acting as a claim adjuster can negotiate your claim with you. Some self-insured companies and insurance companies that lack local claims offices will occasionally use their local attorneys or staff attorney to act as your claim adjuster.