Pros and Cons of a Public Adjuster

Jim Tice
Written on March 4, 2019

How do most people perceive a claims adjuster? When you have a claim on an insurance policy, the adjuster is the person that tries to settle your claim as cheaply as possible and is more concerned about the insurance company’s bottom line than about you getting a fair settlement. At least, that is the public perception.

The reality is the adjuster’s job to make sure fraudulent claims aren’t paid, and legitimate claims aren’t overpaid. That is to your advantage because paying too much can cause your rates to increase. The overwhelming majority of claims adjusters are fair and competent, and most claims are paid quickly and equitably. However, as in any field, there are some who are no competent, and some are inexperienced, and as a result, sometimes the proposed settlement doesn’t seem fair to the customer. That is when we, as your agent, will get involved on your behalf.

Unfortunately, another option exists. They are called public adjusters, and they represent you, the insured, in your dealing with an insurance company at the time of a claim. They are not exmployees of, and don’t represent, the insurance company. That sounds like a good idea until you dig into it.

A public adjuster will tell you that they don’t charge a fee, and the compensation will come from the insurance company. What they don’t tell you (it is buried in their contract) is that they take a percentage of any settlement they can negotiate.

That means they need to inflate the legitimate damages, so that you get what you are due and yet there is money left over for their fee. Naturally, the insurance company is going to resist paying more than the actual damage.

The result is that settlements get delayed – often for a long time. And in most cases, the customer ends up getting less than they would have if the public adjuster wasn’t involve. In the past few months, two of our customers got involved with public adjusters and the result was disastrous. Claims that could have been settled in just a few days took months and in the end, the customer recieved less than they would ahve if the public adjuster hadn’t been involved.

Some public adjusters are linked with contractors of questionable ethics as well, and kickbacks between them are common. So as far as the pros and cons of a public adjuster are concerned, there are no pros. It’s all cons. If you have a problem on a claim, call us. That is why we are here. We won’t charge you anything and don’t collude with a contractor.