A Public Adjuster is an insurance claims adjuster that stands by your side during the claims process. Public Adjusters are advocates for your rights and work for you NOT the insurance company. Public Adjusters work to negotiate your policy and maximize your settlement often for no out of pocket expense. A public adjuster should be a person you can trust and who has your best interests in mind. The Public Adjusters Association is comprised of trusted insurance claim experts that represent you, the policyholder. A partner that you can trust to fight for you in a time of loss. A public adjuster is the only type of insurance claims adjuster that stands for the legal rights of a policyholder during an insurance claim. Public adjusters work on YOUR behalf with insurance companies to ensure that policyholders get the full value of their claims and fully restore property the way it was prior to the loss. They are trained certified professionals that represent your interests and are equipped with skills and knowledge to decipher your policy along with the often complicated claims process.
There are three classes of insurance claims adjusters: staff adjusters (employed by an insurance company or self-insured entity), independent adjusters (independent contractors hired by the insurance company) and public adjusters (employed by the policyholder). "Company" or "independent" adjusters can only legally represent the rights of an insurance company,
Typically a policyholder hires a public adjuster to document and expedite their claims, obtain a more satisfactory claim recovery, more quickly, and completely restore their residence or business operations, and insulate themselves from the stress of engaging in an adversarial role with a large corporation. Public adjusters must be able to recognize claims that may be insubstantial and disputable and explain such problems to the client. The everyday meanings of terms like "collapse", "partial collapse" and "extent of physical damage" might be entirely different from their legal interpretations, requiring the adjuster to clarify such terms for the client. Regulations regarding the uses of these terms are constantly in a state of flux so it is important for public adjusters to have a firm grasp of the law including the division of legal responsibilities between insurance companies and policyholders.
While it is not always clear when a policyholder may benefit from hiring a public adjuster, the most benefit is likely to be realized if they are engaged immediately in case of a loss. Shortly after the insurance company receives notice of a loss, an adjuster representing the insurance company will visit the policyholder to gather facts about how the loss occurred, the magnitude of the loss, and the possibility of subrogation. Incorrect, incomplete or inadequately expressed answers to the adjuster's questions may reduce the amount that can be claimed. A public adjuster engaged early in the process, before the fact-finding stage, will have more opportunity to help the policyholder receive a fair settlement for all losses legitimately covered under the insurance policy. However, any time during negotiations with the insurance company and even after a settlement has been received by an insured, a public adjuster may be able to negotiate for a higher amount.