Types of Insurance Claims Adjusters

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NFIP Claims Manual 2020

NFIP Claims Manual 2020

There are different types of claims adjusters:

Staff adjuster: The staff adjusters employed by the insurance company and handles claims exclusively for that company. The staff adjuster generally hired to work certain types of claims. Based upon the claim adjuster skill set at the time of hiring will determine the level of authority the adjuster has to settle the claim. Here are a few specific categories for adjusters: desk adjuster, field adjuster, general adjuster and executive general adjuster. The staff adjuster may handle all perils of loss or be assigned to specific peril. If assigned to a specific peril, the staff adjuster most likely has a level of expertise.

Staff adjusters compensation can vary but if you are a staff field adjuster you will receive a vehicle with all the tools required to complete the job. If there is a catastrophic event as a staff field adjuster you may be called upon to deploy to the area and work for a period of time. If that happens, the staff field adjuster often receives a deployment bonus.

Staff field adjuster is often the training ground into the independent adjuster world and generally happens after a major catastrophic event. Generally, the staff adjuster is salaried and receiving benefits like pension, life and health insurance and continuing education training, and many more.

Independent Adjuster: The independent adjuster is taking on a new definition. In the past it was thought as claims adjusters will work as independent contractors for an Independent adjusting firm (IAF) or third party administrators (TPA). They often work with catastrophe claims and have a look at the impacted areas after major weather events or emergencies.

But that has and continues to change as the industry evolves. New technology and bottom lines are playing a role in the change along with demands from insurance companies to IAF’s and TPA’s. IAF’s and TPA’s are now hiring independent “staff” adjusters. As the insurance companies watch their bottom line by reducing their staff (This is an ossicating game that is played based upon algorithms and actuaries with the insurance companies.) they are requesting more from the IAF’s and TPA’s.

The independent staff adjuster is hired by the IAF or TPA to work in a specific region or city as a w-2 employee. The theory is presented to the claims adjuster they will sleep in their own bed most of the time and will not be required to do extensive travel away from family. Depending upon the IAF or TPA, the compensation vary salary, salary + bonus, or straight commission at reduced rate.

The independent adjuster (IA) still has the ability to call their own shot related to whom they work for and are generally a 1099 contractor. All expenses are the IA’s with conditions. Those conditions are often spelled out in the client’s (insurance company) instructions with the IAF or TPA. The IA is deployed by the IAF or TPA on a single assignment or a catastrophic event. Often the IA is chosen on different criteria basis but mostly on the basis of “what have you done for me lately.” IA’s are placed on a list of the IAF and TPA as “A”, “B”, “C” or do not call.

Public Adjuster (PA): The public adjusters will work directly on behalf of the policyholders. They will help the policyholder file insurance claims. This generally happens with two different philosophies: policyholder hires a PA at the time of filing a claim or policyholder hires a PA after receiving what they believe is an unfair settlement offer. The PA works to help the policyholder be fully indemnified for their damages. PA often work on a percentage basis of the settlement with the insurance company.

Types of Claims to Adjust: It does not make any difference what type of adjuster you are, the more you specialize the better you know the industry. There are various types of IA’s. Different types of perils require different types of claim adjusters: flood adjuster, property adjuster, casualty adjuster, liability adjuster, workmen's compensation adjuster, environmental adjuster, auto adjuster/appraiser and many more. Many claims adjuster cross train for the different perils allowing them to be more deploy-able.

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