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Arnett & Arnett, PC Dec. 14, 2017

When an insured files a claim with his insurer to recover for a loss, the insurer may pay the amount requested without question, or it may begin the “adjustment” process. This is the process by which the claim is resolved. Various types of “adjusters” may assist in the adjustment process.

A “staff adjuster,” or “company adjuster,” is a claims official employed by the insurer. When a claim is filed, a staff adjuster may visit the insured property for a property claim, determine whether the policy provides coverage for the loss, ascertain the amount of the loss incurred, and evaluate the insured’s evidence.

The insurer may hire an outside “independent adjuster,” who is not an employee of the insurer, to perform the functions of a staff adjuster for a particular claim.

Staff and independent adjusters usually possess experience with and knowledge of insurance policies, insurance laws, local adjustment customs, costs for construction and materials, and accounting principles.

An insured may also employ a “public adjuster” on his behalf if he lacks knowledge of the matters regarding assessment of losses and claims procedures. A public adjuster is likely to be familiar with all the areas of expertise of staff and independent adjusters. The insured employs a public adjuster so that both sides have the same level of knowledge when negotiating the claim. The public adjuster’s goal is to prepare the claim in such a way so as to maximize the recovery of the insured.