There are three types of insurance claims adjusters: Independent, Company, and Public. Each serves a vital role in the claims handling process. Most adjusters are honest and hardworking men and women who will try and do their best. Once in a while, you run into an adjuster who is a total problem for you and every other person they have contact with.
Company Adjusters: These are employees of your insurance company. They drive a company car, wear shirts with the company logo, receive a company check and are somewhere along their career path. Most new hires don’t last. This is a tough job and not for everybody. They get raked over the coals by both upper management and the clients they deal with. Company adjusters are paid either by the hour or salary. They don’t get a bonus for ripping you off. Their check doesn’t change until their next salary review. Do you think they get the best raise for overpaying claims?
Independent Adjusters: These are sub-contractors that handle and settle claims for insurance companies. They might be independent, but the insurance company writes their check. Independent Adjusters bill by the hour, mileage and expenses. They do not receive a bonus for the stress and savings they put you though. If they overpay claims the insurance company can hire some other independent adjusting company.
Public Adjusters: Also known as Public Insurance Adjusters and the initials P.A. These are individuals who are there to serve you the policyholder and help you achieve the greatest possible insurance settlement. Hiring a qualified P.A. can increase your claim settlement 5 to 40 percent sometimes more. The reason this happens is their knowledge and training when dealing with an insurance company.
Once you hire a P.A. the insurance company is supposed to deal with them and leave you alone. Most states require a P.A. to pass a test, become licensed and be bonded. Some states now require a P.A. to take continuing education as well. In Illinois, the requirement is 24 hours every 2 years and must include 3 hours of classroom ethics instruction.
P.A.s normally represent insured’s for property damage, involving damage to real estate or personal property. Their purpose is to represent the policyholder or “Insured”. They do not represent auto accident victims in liability claims as that would border on the practice of law.
What does a P.A. charge? A Public Insurance Adjuster charges a percentage of the claim settlement. The average is 20% but there are variations.
How is the percentage calculated? The percentage charged by a P.A. starts at dollar one of the claim. It doesn’t matter if you have already been offered $100,000.00 and the P.A. only got the claim up another $25,000.00 for you. Twenty percent of $125,000.00 is $25,000.00 due right then and there. That is their fee. Think about it this way, the P.A. was actually handcuffed by your attempt to settle the claim yourself and had to single-handedly undo everything you had agreed to.
When should you hire a P.A.? Whenever you are out of your element it is always good to hire a specialist. However, getting a P.A. to help you on a $4,000.00 loss might be a little tough. Many P.A.s will not take on smaller claims because the work is very time-consuming. Would you travel 6 hours spend two days in a hotel working out a settlement with the insurance company for a fee of $800.00? Neither will the P.A. unless you are a regular client.
While the project managers are an essential part of the construction process, they cannot help you settle your insurance claim. They are experts in repairing your property to its original state; they do not have the experience needed to file claims on behalf of the policyholder. By hiring a public adjuster, you will have a professional working on your behalf through every step of the process.