Insurance is an essential part of our modern world.
When disaster strikes a community - fire, chemical spill or hurricane --
insurance adjusters are among the first on the scene.
"Insurance adjusters help organize temporary repairs so that partially
damaged buildings won't be further damaged. They arrange for building materials
and workmen to be brought in. And they start issuing checks for repair, replacement
and temporary accommodation." That's according to Patricia Battle. She's the
executive director of an insurance association.
The kind of work insurance adjusters do is growing, she adds. "Insurance
people are involved in space programs, in multi-national exploration activities
and in environmental concerns. Communications satellites need to be insured,
and so do professional hockey teams."
"Insurance is meant to make someone whole after a loss." That's according
to Donna Popow, a senior director of Knowledge Resources at The Institutes.
"The adjuster will go out and investigate the circumstances of the loss,
view the damage, often times prepare an estimate, determine if the loss is
covered and then negotiate a settlement with the insured. The adjuster is
the one who keeps the insurance company's promise to pay."
According to Popow, there are several different types of adjusters.
One of these is a staff adjuster who works for an insurance company. "These
adjusters are often divided into field or road adjusters and desk adjusters."
Another is an independent adjuster who is hired by the insurance company
to handle losses that their staff can't handle. "Public adjusters who are
hired by the policyholder to represent their interests in a claim," explains
The third type of adjuster is a catastrophe adjuster. These individuals
are often staff or independent adjusters trained to handle catastrophe losses.
"Adjusters can be specialists in a specific type of business," Popow adds.
For example, there are adjusters who only handle auto damage claims or auto
injury claims. There are adjusters who only handle homeowners' claims or commercial
property claims. There are adjusters who only handle workers compensation
There are adjusters who specialize in ocean cargo claims, inland marine
claims, professional liability claims, aviation claims, fine arts claims,
environmental liability claims.
Adjusters work mostly 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. But hours can vary. That's
especially true during times when it is necessary to help people quickly,
such as following a disaster. Sitting in front of a computer all day can be
hard on the body. Long hours on the road and high stress levels can take a
heavy toll. Many insurance companies now offer wellness programs to help their
employees live healthier lives.
Popow predicts there will always be a need for adjusters.
"Despite the increasing use of technology, some losses will always require
a person to investigate them in order to properly evaluate the extent of the
damage and the cause of the loss."
However, she notes, the trend in the adjusting world has been toward more
extensive use of technology in both the investigation and evaluation of damages.
"So adjusters will need to be comfortable with technology and constant change."