What Are The Types Of Insurance Adjusters
When considering a job as an insurance adjuster, there are basically three different types:
Staff Adjusters, sometimes called “company adjusters” typically work exclusively for one insurance company. While most company adjusters work the standard 8 to 5, Monday through Friday workweek, some companies will have modified schedules to accommodate various time zones and customer needs, which some adjusters find quite convenient. Most insurance companies also provide numerous paid holidays throughout the year. Generally speaking, these staff positions are salaried and come with various benefit packages.
Staff adjusters respond to claims received by the insurance company for whom they work. Make no mistake, a company [or staff] adjuster does work in the interest of the insurance company, but that does not mean that the company’s interest is more important than that of the policyholder. Insurance companies put great emphasis on customer service and are very serious in the manner in which they treat their policyholders. The best staff adjusters work extremely hard to show how much they care when they are handling and paying claims. Those who make their career as claims professionals will quickly acknowledge the feelings of pride and accomplishment they get after helping someone get through their claims, whether it’s a minor fender-bender or a catastrophic event that results in extensive injuries and/or property damage.
Independent Adjusters are usually self-employed or work as contractors for multiple different companies, many of whom also represent several other clients. Typically, they also work in the interest of the insurance company. Often called upon with catastrophe claims, they may travel to areas impacted by a natural disaster or emergency. Independent adjusters are more likely to work irregular hours to accommodate client schedules. It is not uncommon for independent adjusters to work well over 40 hours a week during catastrophic events. However, other times during the year they may work less. As a contract adjuster, they generally have more control over how much they want to work. Independent adjusters (often known as “I/A’s”) also do a lot of investigative work on behalf of other adjusters who work “inside”.
Public Adjusters represent policyholders. Public adjusters help businesses or individuals file insurance claims if an insurer’s proposed settlement appears inadequate. Unlike staff and independent adjusters who work on behalf of the insurance carrier, the public adjuster wants to get the highest possible payment for the policyholder because it’s the policyholder who pays their fee. In our last post we outlined the process of adjusting a claim. A public adjuster will follow a similar process, but from the policyholder’s perspective, evaluating the stated cause of loss and determining where insurance may lack in allowances for repairs.
Like independent adjusters, successful public adjusters must usually work more than 40 hours a week during major events or investigations; there are other periods of time when their workload is lighter and they have a little more control over when and how much they want to work.
Public adjusters are on their own when trying to secure adjusting business, and before they can act on behalf of their client/policyholder, they must secure a contract with the potential customer. If they don’t get a contract, they can’t provide adjusting services for the policyholder, and they don’t make any money. Consequently, public adjusters must constantly market their services, and paydays are usually uncertain and irregular.
The most successful public adjusters come from the insurance industry itself. It takes years and years of claims handling experience to become a successful public adjuster. Those who try to start their claims careers as public adjusters quickly find out how difficult it is and how much they don’t know.
In almost all states, public adjusters must comply with very strict rules and regulations; and if they do not follow these rules and regulations, a public adjuster quickly can lose his or her license… and, depending on the reason for their loss of licensure, they may never be able to secure another.
As you can see, there are pros and cons to each type and many factors to consider. Regardless of the path you choose, what kind of training will you need? In most cases, you do not need a college degree, but you do need a license. AE21 provides the most comprehensive and effective adjuster licensing programs in existence today. There is a lot to understand to be successful in the insurance industry and at AE21, we don’t just want you to get a license and move on; we want to help you understand what it really means to be an adjuster and equip you to be a successful one.