What are Adjusters?

Shannon Kietzman
Shannon Kietzman
Businessman with a briefcase
Businessman with a briefcase

Adjusters are individuals hired by insurance companies, banks, or other financial institutions to assess damage and to determine the proper reimbursement to be made to the claimant. Typically, adjusters act as a go-between in order to come up with fair settlement for both the person filing the claim and the company against whom the claim is filed.

Adjusters are trained to give estimates in many situations, though appraisers are sometimes called upon to provide more thorough estimates. Natural disasters can cause incredible damage to homes and businesses, which adjusters must total up in order to determine the exact monetary value a bank, government agency, or insurance agency should pay the client. Car accidents also require the expertise of adjusters to determine the amount of damage. In addition, adjusters are called upon to investigate whether or not an injury is legitimate when a worker collects workman's compensation.

No matter the situation, adjusters investigate the claim and negotiate a settlement meant to please all parties involved. They also authorize the payment so it can be sent to the claimant.

Successful adjusters must be knowledgeable in a variety of areas. Many are responsible for calculating the actual damage to a structure or vehicle. They may also be required to investigate medical reports. They must be computer literate and capable of pulling up area building costs, car repair costs, and replacement parts information in order to determine an accurate reimbursement total. Though this job is mainly the responsibility of appraisers, many adjusters are trained to handle this area of a claim as well.

When a person files a claim, he or she can choose to use one of the adjusters provided by the company against whom the claim has been filed. Alternatively, a person can choose to hire his or her own adjuster. Though all adjusters are trained to be unbiased, it can often work to a claimant's advantage if a neutral adjuster is called in.

A college education is not required to become an adjuster, though many companies give preference to those with a degree. Depending on the specialty, some legal schooling can be extremely helpful. Adjusters handling workman's compensation matters usually need legal knowledge to accurately analyze the case. Adjusters typically attend special seminars and take additional courses throughout their career, and many states require them to pass an exam in order to become licensed.

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Discussion Comments


This is a great site and a great article. One real omission here though is the discussion of who/what "public adjusters" are. Some states -- e.g., Florida -- have them. They are in a third party role vs. captives of the insurance companies. They fight for the policyholder against their own insurance company, which sometimes does not want to pay the appropriate amount. Public adjusters work directly for the insureds. In cases like hurricanes and fires, etc., it can be really helpful. They get paid by the claim -- 10% is the law -- and their inclusion in the process usually means a greater (i.e., larger) settlement to the insured.

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