When a person has an insurance loss their insurance company will assign an adjuster to the handle the claim. Insurance departments in (almost) all states license three different kind of adjusters: company, independent, and public. It is important to understand the difference between these adjusters when handling your claim. This is a confusing concept for many people because in initial contact with the insurance company the insurance company representative will state that they are sending out “your” adjuster. However, what they actually mean is “their” adjuster who will be adjusting your claim.
What is a Company Adjuster?
A “company adjuster” means the insurance adjusters who are employees of an insurance company. They represent the interest of the insurance company and are paid by the insurance company. They will not charge you a fee.
What is an Independent Adjuster?
An “independent adjuster” means the insurance adjusters who are hired on a contract basis by an insurance company to represent the insurance company’s interest in the settlement of the claim. They are paid by your insurance company. They will not charge you a fee.
What is a Public Adjuster?
A “public adjuster” means the insurance adjusters who do not work for any insurance company. They work for the insured to assist in the preparation, presentation and settlement of the claim. The insured hires them by signing a contract agreeing to pay them a fee or commission based on a percentage of the settlement, or other method of compensation. The insured is not required to hire a public adjuster to help the insured meet his or her obligations under the policy, but has the right to do so; The public adjuster is not a representative or employee of the insurer; and the salary, fee, commission or other consideration is the obligation of the insured, not the insurer.
The biggest difference between a company adjuster and an independent adjuster is that an independent adjuster works on a contract basis. Independent adjusters are typically used in catastrophe circumstances or for smaller insurance companies that do not have local offices. While they are hired on a contract basis they do work for the insurance company and they work on their behalf. If an insurance company hires an independent adjuster to adjust the claim for them and you do not hire a public adjuster you are representing yourself on the claim just as you would if it was a company adjuster.
The central difference between a company and independent adjuster and a public adjuster is that the insured hires a public adjuster directly. The company and independent adjuster is hired by the insurance company and they are paid by the insurance company. The public adjuster is hired and paid by the insured and therefore the public adjuster represents the insured’s interest whereas the company and independent adjuster represent the interest of the insurance carrier.
If you only have a company or independent adjuster on your claim you need to be heavily involved in your claim to make sure you are representing yourself on your claim. Alternatively, you can hire a public adjuster for Arizona and Oklahoma to handle the claim to represent your interest.