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What does a Public Adjuster do?

Public adjusters act as liaisons between insurance policy holders and insurance companies during the claims process. They prepare and present claims to insurance companies, as well as negotiate on the claimant's behalf to help them receive favorable settlements.

They might help a driver file a claim following an automobile accident, or help a homeowner document property theft and damage. Other types of claims might include damage from such natural and man-made occurrences as:
  • Flooding
  • Fire
  • Hurricanes
  • Vandalism
When helping businesses with claims, they might assist in determining business income, builder risk, causes for mechanical breakdowns and leaseholder interests, the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters says.

When navigating a claim, adjusters often work with professionals ranging from architects to accountants, engineers to lawyers, to help evaluate proper recompense. In your role, you might take photographs, written statements or even record audio and video statements to help establish a claim. If your claims are contested, you might work with attorneys and other expert witnesses to help defend the insurer's determination of a claim amount.

Education and training for public adjusters

Companies prefer to hire college graduates, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports, but there are no formal educational requirements. Some college degrees are more suitable for the work than others, however. A degree in accounting or business might be well-suited to claims relating to financial loss due to workers' strikes, damaged merchandise or equipment malfunctions. A degree in engineering or architecture might be suited to work in claims stemming from fire, flood or earthquakes. A legal background could lend itself to work in claims dealing with product liability, while a medical background could be beneficial to life insurance or medical claims, the BLS says.

Some states do not require much in the way of licensure, while others require adjusters to complete a licensure exam. Continuing education is crucial to the field due to the many-changing federal and state laws and court decisions that affect insurance liabilities and manner in which claims are handled.

Salary expectations and job outlook for public adjusters

Forty-six percent of public adjusters work for insurance carriers, while another 24 percent work for insurance agencies and brokerages. The BLS predicts the largest job growth for claims adjusters in the medical field due to insurance companies' desire to minimize claims. Jobs also should be more plentiful in regions prone to natural disasters, such as in California where wildfires and mudslides are regular occurrences, Florida where hurricanes have a strong impact, or the south and Midwest, where tornadoes blow through with regularity.

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