To begin, we need to make a distinction between an insurance agent or broker and anadjuster. Your insurance agent or broker is the person that assists you in acquiring an insurance policy. When you have a reason to make a claim, it is your insuranceagent/broker that you call first. They can assist you in understanding your policy but they generally do not adjust the claim. An adjuster can be an employee of your insurance company (company adjuster) or an adjusting firm hired by your insurance company (independent adjuster). In either case, the adjuster has the responsibility to:
A first party claim means that the insurance policy is your policy and you are the one making the claim. Any payments are made to you, the insured. In a third party claim, you might be the insured, but someone else is making the claim and will receive the payments, if any. The insurance policy protects you against claims made against you.
When working with an adjuster, it is important that you maintain your composure; remain pleasant and do your utmost to be cooperative. Becoming aggravated does not move things along faster. It’s not always true that the squeaky wheel gets fixed first. Always document your conversations and requests, preferably in writing. When writing letters, be professional and carefully explain your reasoning for your request.
Public adjusters are licensed by the state the same as an independent adjuster with the exception that public adjusters are only allowed to work for you, the insured. If you decide to hire a PA, you will be asked to sign a limited power of attorney. That allows the PA to work directly with the insurance company in your behalf. It also means that the insurance company might only talk with your PA and not you. PAs are paid by you out of the proceeds paid by the insurance company. It is not unusual that they will require a 10% fee. In other words, they will get 10% of whatever is paid to you. On occasion, the presence of a PA will also slow down the process of settling your claim.
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