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What is a public adjuster?

On Behalf of | Jun 22, 2022 | Insurance

Oklahoma residents who have dealt with an insurance claim involving damage to property may remember that their insurance company, or the responsible party’s company, assigned an adjuster to assess the value of the claim.

The adjuster, who would be either an employee of an insurance company or contracted by them, would examine the property damage, do their own research, and then make a payment offer, assuming the claim is covered.

For many reasons, homeowners and owners of damaged commercial property might not totally trust the company’s insurance adjuster.

After all, the insurance company pays the adjuster’s bill, and the insurance company has a financial interest in paying less on a property damage claim.

This is one reason why a policyholder may elect to hire a public adjuster. A public adjuster is someone who is also trained to evaluate the dollar value of property damage claims. However, for a fee, they represent the interests of the policyholder instead of an insurance company.

As a word of warning, public adjusters should not be evaluating the merit of legal liability claims or threatened lawsuits.

Policyholders may also hire these insurance professionals because they feel like it will influence the insurance company to pay more.

On a related point, the policyholder may feel that they simply are not getting anywhere by dealing directly with the insurance company.

Finally, in some cases, such as a particularly large or complicated claim, having a public adjuster is a way a policyholder can stay on top of their claim efficiently without having to go through a lot of extra time and expense.

Public adjusters do not have to be licensed attorneys

It is important to remember, though, that Oklahoma public adjusters do not have to be licensed attorneys. Most are not.

What this means is that public adjusters really should stick to putting dollar values on damaged property. This task is an important one and may well prevent the underpayment of a claim.

However, when it comes to interpreting policy language, evaluating a policyholder’s legal options and the like, an Oklahoma resident would want the assistance of an attorney with experience in insurance law.