Most staff adjusters are salaried employees of the insurance company.
Some states require that staff adjusters be licensed. Depending on their level of coursework, there are different certifications an adjuster can obtain. Some examples are Associate in Claims (AIC), Property Claim Law Specialist (PCLS), Senior Claim Law Associate (SCLA), Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and Certified Risk Manager (CIC).
Most insurance companies provide in-house training to their staff. Industry organizations such as The International Association of Insurance Professionals, The Institutes and the American Educational Institute also provide insurance education programs for staff adjusters. In recent years there have been more formal university-level classes offered for those who choose a career in this field. However, the majority of staff adjusters learn their trade while working and being supervised by those with greater experience.
A staff adjuster represents the insurance company to adjust the property damage claim with the policyholder. They are providing a service the insured paid for in their insurance premiums, enabling the insurance company to adhere to the terms of the policy —which is a legal contract.
Most staff adjusters will be assigned to the policyholder’s claim between 24 and 48 hours of the reported loss and will try to get to the loss site as soon as possible. Staff adjusters are frequently reassigned, so a policyholder may interact with several different individuals from the time the claim is started to its settlement.
Independent adjusters work as vendors to the carrier and can be thought of as independent contractors or consultants to the insurance company. Similar to staff adjusters, their job is to manage policyholder claims for their client, the insurance company.
There are several reasons why insurance companies routinely employ or outsource their claims to independent adjusters, among them: the company can’t always be adequately staffed due to the large volume of claims that arise from a major catastrophe, so they need to hire additional help; the carrier does not have an office near the loss site and it is more cost-effective and timely to assign the claim to a nearby independent adjuster.
Most insurance companies have independent adjusters on call or companies that provide them with independent adjusters. They are really an extension of the insurance company. While staff adjusters are captive to the specific...