Most independent insurance producers play a minimal role in the actual claims process. They can, however, assist the insured in reporting the claim to the insurance company. They may introduce the adjuster to the policyholder, after which time the adjuster takes over.
With the exception of a widespread major catastrophe or disaster, once the policyholder notifies their insurance producer of a loss, most agents and brokers will come out to survey the damage right away. Normally, however, they will only be involved in the process as long as the insured wants them involved. Although they can assist in reporting the claim, producers do not normally have extensive hands-on experience in settling claims.
Independent risk management consultants work for the insured and not for an insurance company. They do not sell insurance or financial products. Their professional association is the Society of Risk Management Consultants, an international organization of professionals engaged in risk management, insurance and employee benefits consulting. 2 Members must meet a stringent set of requirements to belong.
Risk management consultants provide a range of valuable pre- and post-loss services and expertise such as:
Risk management consultants are either paid at an hourly rate or for an agreed upon per-project price. They are never compensated on a commission basis or by a percentage of loss.
Licensure for risk management consultants varies by state. For those states that do require licensing, it is either as a consultant, risk manager or producer. The licenses are typically issued and overseen by each state’s department of insurance.
Training varies by the risk management consultant’s area of expertise. Most such professionals already have insurance backgrounds. More CPAs/ accountants, lawyers, engineers and actuaries are also becoming risk management consultants than ever before. Each of these professional areas has its own educational requirements.
Organizations that offer training and certification for risk management consultants include the National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research, The Institutes, the Global Risk Management Institute, the Risk and Insurance Management Society, and the Global Academy of Financial Management. States that requires licensing are likely to require continuing educational as well.
Risk management consultants can assist in claim reporting. They can also help policyholders choose the other professionals needed to prepare their claim, such as forensic accountants, engineers, public adjusters, etc.
Risk management consultants often will have helped the insured design their insurance program initially. This means they are knowledgable about the coverage issues involved with the claim or loss. If they are also licensed as a public adjuster, risk management consultants can begin assisting the policyholder as soon as their property is damaged. The duration of their involvement will depend on what their role and contractual requirements with the policyholder are and how much experience they have with the type of claim involved.