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The Difference Between a Public Insurance Adjuster and a Company Adjuster

When it comes to navigating the complex world of insurance claims, it’s crucial to understand the roles of different professionals involved in the process. Two key figures in the insurance industry are public insurance adjusters and company adjusters. While they both deal with insurance claims, there are distinct differences in their roles, responsibilities, and affiliations. This article aims to shed light on the dissimilarities between public insurance adjusters and company adjusters, helping policyholders make informed decisions in their time of need.

  1. Definition and Affiliation:

A Public Insurance Adjuster is an independent professional who works on behalf of policyholders to assist them in filing and negotiating insurance claims. They are not employed by any insurance company and are licensed by the state in which they operate. Public adjusters work exclusively for policyholders, advocating for their best interests throughout the claims process.

On the other hand, a company adjuster, also known as an insurance or staff adjuster, is an employee of an insurance company. They are responsible for investigating and evaluating insurance claims on behalf of the insurance company. Company adjusters represent the insurer’s interests and are employed to minimize the financial liability of the insurance company while adhering to the policy terms and conditions.

  1. Roles and Responsibilities:

The primary role of a public insurance adjuster is to assist policyholders in the event of a claim. They assess the damage, review the insurance policy, gather evidence, document losses, and negotiate with the insurance company to obtain a fair settlement for the policyholder. Public adjusters act as advocates for policyholders and strive to maximize their claim payouts based on the terms of the insurance policy.

Company adjusters, on the other hand, work on behalf of the insurance company that employs them. They investigate the circumstances surrounding a claim, evaluate the damage, determine coverage limits, and calculate the amount the insurer is willing to pay for the claim. Company adjusters aim to protect the financial interests of their employers and ensure claims are settled within the guidelines set by the insurance policy.

  1. Loyalties and Objectives:

The fundamental distinction between a public insurance adjuster and a company adjuster lies in their allegiances. Public adjusters are loyal to policyholders and work exclusively in their best interests. They have a legal and ethical obligation to obtain the maximum settlement possible for the insured individual. Their goal is to ensure that policyholders receive fair compensation for their losses.

In contrast, company adjusters are employed by insurance companies and are inherently loyal to their employers. Their objective is to protect the financial interests of the insurance company by minimizing claim payouts and preventing fraudulent or exaggerated claims. While company adjusters strive to provide fair settlements, their primary duty is to the insurance company that employs them.

  1. Compensation:

Public insurance adjusters typically work on a contingency fee basis. This means they are compensated a percentage of the final settlement amount obtained for the policyholder. The fee structure is agreed upon between the public adjuster and the insured party before the commencement of any work. The fee percentage varies depending on the complexity and size of the claim but is usually around 10% to 20% of the settlement.

In contrast, company adjusters are salaried employees of the insurance company and do not receive a direct commission based on the settlement amount. Their compensation is determined by their employer and is not tied to the outcome of the claim. Company adjusters receive regular salaries and benefits as part of their employment agreement.

  1. Expertise and Experience:

Public insurance adjusters are independent professionals who specialize in insurance claims management. They undergo rigorous training, obtain licenses, and continuously update their knowledge to stay informed about industry trends and regulations. Public adjusters often have years of experience dealing with various types of insurance claims, allowing them to provide expert guidance to policyholders.

Company adjusters also receive training from their respective insurance companies. However, their expertise is often focused on specific insurance policies and procedures related to the company they work for. Company adjusters may handle a wide range of claims, but their knowledge and experience may be limited to the products and guidelines of their employing insurance company.
In conclusion, while both public insurance adjusters and company adjusters play vital roles in the insurance claims process, their affiliations, roles, and objectives differ significantly. Public adjusters work exclusively for policyholders, aiming to maximize their claim settlements, while company adjusters represent the insurance company’s interests. Understanding these differences can help policyholders make informed decisions when seeking assistance with their insurance claims, ensuring they have an advocate who will fight for their best interests throughout the process.

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