A public adjuster, also known as an insurance adjuster, is an independent claim handler/advisor who represents the policyholder on behalf of the policyholder in negotiating and helping the insured’s insurance claim with the insurer. The term “public” refers to any person of any age, whether employed or not, who may be involved in a transaction or activity on behalf of the insured. The insured may have been involved in such transactions and activities even before becoming insured. Public Adjusters is in fact independent third-party professionals who make insurance claims. In insurance terms, the term public adjuster is used in the same context as that of an insurance broker. However, public adjusters are allowed to negotiate and mediate with insurance companies on behalf of the policyholders.
Claims Management and underwriting firms offer public adjusters as part of their claim handling services. Public adjusters usually charge a fee for this service. However, some independent public adjusters may charge a fee for working on your insurance claims only. Generally, the fee that the public adjuster charge is not tax-deductible. The cost of services may be from a percentage of the policyholder’s excess or premium payment over the life of the policy or a flat fee.
Many public adjusters work in close association with insurance companies. They work in tandem with these companies and communicate with them on behalf of the policyholders. As part of their job, public adjusters must maintain records of all the business transactions involving the company, the policies held by the company, and the personal financial interests of the policyholder. These records are referred to as the internal records of the company.
There are two basic types of fees that public adjusters may be paid. If the claim has been submitted in good faith, the fee is usually a flat rate. However, there is an exception to this rule. In special circumstances, where the public adjuster has good cause to suspect that the loss should have been investigated before submission of the claim, the fee may be based upon the severity of the problem. For example, if there is strong evidence that the loss was caused by a dangerous person or situation, the fee charged may be more than the flat rate. The fee will be subject to negotiation between the insured and the insurance company.
Public adjusters generally contract with insurance companies to represent the policyholders and act on their behalf when they submit a claim for loss adjustment. Some insurers provide this service in addition to handling the claims themselves. Insurance company independent adjusters represent both the insured and the insurer. They can work on a contingency basis, which means they will get paid by the insurer only if they win their case.
Several factors affect how much a public insurance adjuster will get paid. The number of successful claims that they handle is one of the main determinants of the fee structure. The more claims that they have to pay out, the more they are going to get paid. In turn, the insurer increases their fees to cover the cost of this service. This is why it is often more affordable for the insurer to hire Public Adjusters rather than having to retain an in-house adjuster.
Public adjusters also receive a percentage of the total settlement amount as their compensation. In some cases, the insurance company reimburses the adjusters directly for their services. The insurer may also reimburse the adjusters through their commissions. A settlement broker is paid by the insurance company and not necessarily paid through a fixed commission or hourly wage.
Many people mistakenly think that they do not need an adjuster because they can just hire a friend or relative to represent them. While friends and family can be helpful, they are not as skilled as adjusters who are experts in their field. They are also more likely to try to settle a large claim for less than what they deserve and then try to deny the claim when they receive their check. Hiring an adjuster for your claims will ensure that you get a fair settlement.