There are generally three different types of adjusters that could be involved in the handling of your property loss claim: staff adjusters, independent adjusters and public adjusters.
Staff adjusters are employees of the insurance company. They may be referred to as an in-house adjuster or the carrier’s adjuster. They are almost always a full-time employee of one insurance company. Their job is to manage and adjudicate claims for their employer, the insurance company.
The staff adjuster will prepare, present and put forth their opinions relative to the scope of damage and the value of the policyholder’s claim. Although they represent the carrier and act as a liaison between the policyholder and the insurance company, their work is being directed by the insurance company.
There are many different levels of staff adjusters, with varying levels of authority usually based on their experience. Their ability to authorize payments or adjust losses may be limited due to the projected value of the loss. It is common for a loss to be reassigned to another adjuster if it is determined that the amount of damage will go above a certain threshold.
There are some staff adjusters who work from the insurer’s office —who may be considered a desk adjuster — and they handle very small claims, processing them through email and telephone conversations.
Some staff adjusters might focus on residential losses and others on commercial claims. While there can be different levels and types of adjusters, they all determine coverage issues, scope and repair methodologies — and most are involved in preparing estimates for the values of the various portions of the policyholder’s loss.
Because personnel can change during the process, policyholders should keep a claim journal to record any decisions or agreements made as the claim progresses.