What’s the Difference Between Independent and Public Adjusters?
There’s a lot involved when it comes to owning your home or a commercial building. You can keep it in tip-top shape with regular maintenance and care, but unfortunately, unexpected incidents often occur. For these unpleasant and often expensive situations, your insurance can provide a peace of mind, knowing you are protected. However, the process to determine what is and isn’t covered by your insurance can complicate matters. When your home or building has suffered damage and requires aid from your insurance, insurance adjusters will evaluate and assess the damage to deem what is to be covered. But not all insurance adjusters are the same, and knowing the difference between independent and public adjusters can be extremely important.
An independent insurance adjuster is a bit of a misnomer; though it would imply otherwise, independent adjusters work on behalf of the insurance company, and not for the policyholder (you). Though many insurance companies will have their own in-house claim adjusters, independent adjusters are often contracted to evaluate a claim. These adjusters can work for multiple insurance companies, and as their contracted representative, often try to minimize the amount being claimed. In fact, they are trained to help save the insurance company money.
Public adjusters work for the policyholder, rather than an insurance company. Each type of adjuster is required to have a specific license that designates who they can work for. Public insurance adjusters are hired separately by the policyholder, and work similarly as an “attorney” to help you receive the best settlement in the case of an incident.
So what’s the difference between independent adjusters and an insurance agent? Both work for the benefit of their employer, which is the insurance company. The job of an insurance agent is to work as a liaison between you and your policy. They are your primary source of contact when you have questions about your insurance policy and coverage, and for any claims. Typically, insurance agents do not make field visits to assess damage, but will appoint an independent adjuster to do.
When you file a claim for damages to your property, your insurance company will appoint an independent adjuster to come out to your building and evaluate the damage. This is a necessary step in the process to your settlement, but public adjusters are not as commonly employed. This is due to the fact that many people aren’t aware that public adjusters are available, or even know the crucial role they can play. Another reason is that while insurance company-issued adjuster visits are commonly covered by your premiums, a public adjuster is not. The burden of hiring and paying for a public adjuster is solely on the policyholder, because the public adjuster is essentially seen as an adversary of the independent adjuster/insurance company.