Public Adjuster or Independent Adjuster, What is the Difference?

Generally, there are two types of adjusters, “independent adjusters” who work on behalf of the insurance company, and “public adjusters” who work on behalf of the policyholders. Both independent and public adjusters must be licensed according to the laws of the state in which they are working.

  • Independent Adjuster – An independent adjuster works on behalf of an insurance company and is not permitted to adjust claims on behalf of the individual policyholder. Independent adjusters may be hired by an insurance company as a “staff or company” adjuster working in the home office of the insurance company, or a “field” adjuster who adjusts claims for an insurer in a particular location. Staff adjusters can also include “specialty” adjusters such as workers compensation adjusters, accident & health adjusters, automobile claims adjusters, and other specialties as licensed per state law.

    Independent adjusters may also work for adjusting companies that deploy teams of adjusters to work on behalf of an insurer in the case of a catastrophe such as a hurricane, flood, or tornado. These adjusters are referred to as “catastrophe” or “CAT” adjusters.

    Many states title their adjuster licenses as “Property & Casualty Adjuster”, “General Lines Adjuster” or “All Lines Adjuster” . Please understand that these are all Independent Adjusters who work on behalf of insurance companies as employees or as independent contractors.

  • Public Adjuster - A public adjuster is an independent contractor representing solely the financial interests of the insured named in the policy. The insured, and not the insurance company, pays the public adjuster for his or her services.

    State laws prohibit public adjusters from adjusting liability type claims and restrict their authority to the adjustment of property insurance claims. In some states, individuals can hold an independent/staff adjuster license and a public adjuster license concurrently, but not with respect to the same claim. Other states prohibit an individual from holding both an independent/staff adjuster license and a public adjuster license at the same time, citing a conflict of interest.
To view the adjuster license types for your state, CLICK HERE!

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