Which Line of Property & Casualty Adjusting Is Right for You?
The words “Property and Casualty Insurance” may not sound too exciting, but our world without its existence would be quite boring. The risks for both individuals and businesses that make life exciting are often covered by Property and Casualty insurance. One is more inclined to take a risk or dream big, knowing the risk is covered by insurance. Take home ownership, for example. Without insurance an individual likely could not cover the rebuilding of their home after a fire. If someone has a dream to own a trampoline park, casualty insurance makes that dream possible. When you work as Property and Casualty Claims Adjuster, you play a role in keeping the economy going and allowing people and businesses to thrive.
There are several lines of business when it comes to insurance claims, but most fall under the umbrella of Property and Casualty. It is for this reason that the profession is more broadly termed “Property and Casualty Claims Adjusting”.
The main lines of Property and Casualty Adjusting are:
- General Liability
- Workers Compensation
- Automobile Property Damage and Liability
- Multi-line (i.e, any combination of the above)
If you’re deciding which line(s) you may want to pursue, or thinking of switching lines, let’s go over some basics with each one.
Property adjusters can be inside adjusters, field adjusters or a combination of both. Property adjusters handle physical damage claims for buildings, homes and personal property. The property claims arena encompasses the evaluation of damage to real or personal property resulting from various perils (such as fire, wind, hail, lightning, hurricanes, earthquake, flood, theft, or explosion), an assessment of policy limits for each involved peril, and a determination of how much should be paid under the insurance policy.
Property adjusters do most of the following in the investigation and resolution of claims:
- Verify coverage and if the policy covers the involved peril.
- Investigate the facts of the loss to determine the proximate cause of loss.
- Assist the insured in mitigating (i.e., Minimizing) the loss by providing assistance and guidance.
- Determine the extent of the damage and the cost to repair or replace damaged property (i.e., inspecting and scoping the loss).
- Verify the insured’s insurable interest in the property, as well as that of a mortgagee.
- Determine if a third party is responsible for a loss and if there might be subrogation potential; determine the extent of salvage and its value.
- Determine policy limits and compare to the involved peril or property insured.
- Determine appropriate valuation of the loss, (i.e., actual cash value, replacement cost, coinsurance, etc.)
- Resolve claims by making payment or explaining why no payment is made.
Liability adjusters work in a world of vagueness and ambiguity, and they love it. These adjusters evaluate facts for legal liability, cause of loss, damages and bodily injury, and get involved in extensive negotiations, litigation and settlement. Their work involves a lot of law and legal analysis, and is much less defined or exact than the world of property adjusting. They often work alongside and in opposition to lawyers, attend depositions and trials, and engage in extensive settlement negotiations.
Workers’ compensation adjusters bear a heavy responsibility, and the demand for experience has driven compensation upward in recent years. A workers’ compensation adjuster works in a heavy medical environment and provides both medical and wage replacement benefits for the workers injured on the job. The social good that these adjusters do is immeasurable when they do their job well. These adjusters also have a tremendous financial impact on the employers and carriers for whom they work. Most workers’ compensation adjusters are inside adjusters, working in an office environment.
Casualty claims comprise both liability and worker’s compensation claims because they typically involve loss or injury to both person and property. This kind of claim routinely involves relative degrees of legal responsibility, the evaluation of damage or injury and the determination of legal rights and remedies or put simply, “Who owes who what” as a matter of law.
Liability and workers’ compensation adjusters do most of the following in the investigation and resolution of claims:
- Verify coverage.
- Investigate facts by securing testimony and evidence.
- Determine liability.
- Determine the amount of loss in terms of property damage, medical expenses, loss of wages, etc.
- Determine intangibles such as pain and suffering, discomfort and inconvenience.
- Determine if litigation is eminent and estimate defense costs and the probability of success in the event of a lawsuit.
- Determine if other parties to the loss might also be responsible under any of several legal theories, and the value of salvage in the event payment is made for property damage.
- Pay claims or benefits as owed under various theories of liability or statute.
Automobile Property Damage and Liability
Under the umbrella of property adjusting is automobile physical damage adjusting, commonly referred to as Auto PD for short. This line of claims adjusting generally deals with the handling and resolution of claims for collision, comprehensive and mechanical breakdown.
Auto PD adjusters do most of the following in the investigation and resolution of claims:
- Verify coverage on the involved vehicles.
- Investigate the facts of loss and legal responsibilities of the involved parties.
- Determine the amount of the loss by securing an appraisal of the cost to repair or replace the damage.
- Apply appropriate deductibles and make payment to those with an insurable interest such as an insured, vehicle owner, or lien holder.
- Determine the potential of subrogation and recovery of payments made, including the insured’s deductible.
When you are a seasoned adjuster, you could pursue the path of being a Multi-Line Adjuster who handles a little of everything. Multi-line adjusters are typically the most knowledgeable adjusters of all and have many years of experience in property, liability, workers’ compensation and catastrophic loss. They are typically the ones who earn the right to those great field positions and handle various types of losses. They have superb communication skills, are adept at influencing people, and are inquisitive fact gatherers and negotiators.
This overview should help you consider which line of business best suits you or interests you. Of course, it’s always good practice to know about each one. Our claims training and continuing education courses will equip you for whichever line of business you land on.