What Do Adjusters Do?

man with clipboard inspects property damage

Insurance companies employ adjusters to help facilitate the processing of a claim. Whether you are seeking reimbursement for home, auto, health, or life insurance, odds are you will be working directly or indirectly with an adjuster.

In general, adjusters exist as a liaison between the policyholder and the insurer. The work of an adjuster can be broken down to accommodate various subtasks and specialties. We will take a look at three common types of adjusters and their typical responsibilities. 

Company Adjuster

A company adjuster is the most common type of adjuster. These individuals are employed by your insurance company to help process your claim. They gather information and file paperwork on your behalf; they also send out checks to contractors and to the policyholder once a settlement has been reached.

Company adjusters can further be broken down into two subcategories: field adjuster and desk adjuster.

Field Adjuster vs Desk Adjuster

The field adjuster, also known as the “outside” adjuster, physically inspects damage onsite. Among other tasks, a field adjuster will:

  • Travel to the site of damage
  • Perform a detailed inspection
  • Identify cause of damage
  • Document damage
  • Take photographs
  • Work with local law enforcement and contractors
  • Writing reports

Because field adjusters may need to perform physically demanding or dangerous tasks, such as climbing ladders and inspecting roofs, they are often required to obtain additional safety certifications. 

Desk adjusters, or “inside” adjusters, typically work in an office setting. They are often the first point of contact for policyholders who call to report damages. Desk adjusters can generate estimates and resolve smaller and less complicated claims, like minor water damage, entirely over the phone or internet.

In many cases, desk adjusters and field adjusters work together to resolve a claim. The desk adjuster will receive and file all the information that is collected by the field adjuster. This can increase efficiency by allowing one party to physically inspect the property and another to file paperwork and process documentation as soon as it is received. This is a popular tactic when dealing with especially large or complicated claims. 

Independent Adjusters

In some cases, your insurance company will hire an independent adjuster to handle your claim or to consult on certain aspects of your policy. These adjusters work for the insurer but are employed through a third party organization. Typically, they will specialize in a particular area of coverage, like fire damage or roof damage. 

Independent adjusters are most often contracted when there is a high volume of claims, such as after a natural disaster. They may also be hired to handle claims in an especially remote area, or if a highly specialized consultation is required.

Public Adjuster

While company and independent adjusters are employed by the insurance company, public adjusters are hired by the policyholder. Public adjusters usually charge a fee that is a percentage of the claimant’s final settlement amount. 

There are several instances when a claimant may choose to hire a public adjuster: 

  • The claim is large or overly-complicated
  • The policyholder does not have time to handle the claim themselves
  • The claimant feels the company adjuster’s estimates are inaccurate
  • The claim is taking longer than expected

Public adjusters perform many of the same tasks as a company adjuster; however, they typically have a much lower case volume and are therefore able to dedicate more time to examining and filing your claim. 

Help Filing a Complicated Insurance Claim

Adjusters exist to help facilitate your claim and, in most cases, this process goes smoothly. However, there are certain instances when a claim may be unfairly denied, prolonged, or underestimated. In these cases, it is a good idea to speak to a qualified insurance attorney.

David Roth is the principal of The Roth Group. He has helped hundreds of policyholders seek justice in the event of mishandled or bad faith claims. Contact our office today or go online to schedule your free consultation.