What Does A Public Adjuster Do?

A Public Adjuster is a licensed insurance professional who is hired by a policyholder to manage, negotiate, and settle a property damage claim against their insurance company. During the claims process, the public adjuster advocates for the interests of the policyholders to facilitate their full and expeditious recovery from a property loss event.

In New York State, a public adjuster is the only insurance adjuster that is licensed to represent the interests of policyholders. Every other type of adjuster is licensed to represent insurance carriers.

How a Public Adjuster can “Expedite” and “Maximize” a Property Claim Recovery

  1. A public adjuster may hire a knowledgeable insurance restoration estimator or builder to prepare an Xactimate estimate of the property damage to your home or business, which can be presented to your insurance company. Unfortunately, each insurance company has designed processes designed to underpay claims. Some of those processes include conservative estimating guidelines,  forcing homeowners to use “company-approved” contractors who do the work for a fraction of what it’s worth, and over-depreciating damaged building materials or personal property items to reduce the claim payout.
  2. A public adjuster will take on much of your stress related to the insurance claims process. They can help you find emergency services contractors. For example, if you sustained water damage, a public adjuster can help you hire a reputable water damage restoration company to mitigate your damages.
  3. If personal property items sustained damaged during the loss, a public adjuster can hire a contents inventory specialist to itemize and appraise your damaged personal property.
  4. A public adjuster can negotiate your final claim settlement to ensure incidentals get addressed adequately. For example, electrical or HVAC inspections.
  5. A public adjuster will answer your coverage questions, help you avoid many pitfalls of the claims process, and manage all correspondence with your insurer.

Types of Adjusters in New York

In New York state, there are several types of adjusters:

  • Independent Adjuster (IA) – Independent adjusters are independent contractors who work with independent adjustment firms. They can work with as many firms as they like. Independent adjustment firms are the businesses that insurance companies outsource their claims handling to. These firms may be national or local, and they mostly hire Independent Adjusters who handle claims while the firm manages the claim and reviews the adjusters’ paperwork. After reviewing their paperwork, the firm sends their settlement recommendations to the insurance company.
  • Staff Adjusters – Staff adjusters are employed by insurance companies, with their salary, benefits, and car often paid for by the company. They inspect damages, determine coverage, and make payments to the insured for damages sustained. Staff adjusters are also known as “field adjusters.”
  • Inside Adjuster – Inside adjusters do not venture into the field to inspect claims. Instead, they review the work performed by independent adjusters and their firms. Inside adjusters are often the contact for policyholders within their insurance company, and they’re responsible for making payment to the insured.
  • Catastrophe Adjuster (CAT Adjuster) – Catastrophe adjusters mostly handle catastrophe claims. As a result, they’re often from out-of-state, only traveling to an affected area after a large storm or other event with dozens of claims in their docket. Their goal is to inspect and settle as many claims as possible in a short amount of time. Catastrophe adjusters are mostly independent adjusters, but some insurance companies also employ “catastrophe teams.” Catastrophe adjustment firms are companies that specifically recruit and manage catastrophe adjusters. They contract with specific carriers to handle their claims within a certain territory. These firms manage and review the cat adjuster’s paperwork before sending it to the carrier with payment recommendations.
  • Public Adjuster – A public adjuster is hired by the policyholder to manage their claim with their insurer. A public adjuster is the only adjuster licensed to advocate for policyholders.

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