A loss adjuster investigates claims made by a policy holder of an insurance company by interview claimants and witnesses, visiting the scenes of accidents or incidents, consulting medical or police records and inspecting the circumstances surrounding and incident and assessing the extent of damage to a claimant’s property or personal health. A loss adjuster will then determine how liable a company or person is and present a detailed and accurate report on the damage in order to negotiate a given claim. The report is likely to entail technical terms and jargon, which a policy holder will not necessarily be familiar with. This could include depreciation, liability, and cash value and replacements costs. In the USA a loss adjuster is known as a claims adjuster.There are two types of claims a loss adjuster could handle. Property claims involve accidents or incidents involving damage buildings and structures whereas liability claims relate to personal injuries or damage to property by a third person. Liability claims include car accidents, slips, falls and any accident that occurs as a result of negligent behavior. Often loss adjusters handle both property and liability claims, in which case they are known as ‘multi line’ adjusters. Adjusters that handle claims involving professional and medical liability and sometimes even bond losses are known as ‘all line adjusters’.
There are also several types of loss adjuster; defined by who the adjuster works for. Claim Service Representatives and staff adjusters work for an insurance company or independent adjusting company. A public adjuster works exclusively for a policy holder, meaning there is no conflict of interest when it comes to negotiate a settlement with an insurance company. A public adjuster would be hired by a policy holder if an agreement could not be made with a staff adjuster. Finally, an independent adjuster can work for several insurance companies and, if licensed, the government.
The specific duties of a loss adjuster include communicating with policy holders, investigating the scenes of accidents or incidents, liaising with tradesmen and professionals in order to assess the extent of damages, compiling detailed and accurate reports on claims and finally, negotiating settlements. As a result of these duties, a loss adjuster needs to have good communication and negotiation skills, organisational and time keeping skills, initiative and good numeracy and literacy skills. IT literacy is also very important.
Typical working hours for a loss adjuster are 9 until 5, weekdays although a loss adjuster will often be required to work nights and weekends in order to visit the parties involved in a claim and the relevant professionals. Some companies, however, will offer the opportunity to work from home.Insurance companies tend to prefer graduate applicants, particularly with degrees in mathematics, law or economics and, whilst starting salaries are around ?15,000 a year, experienced loss adjusters can expect to earn up to ?60,000. Add added perks in larger companies include a company car and cheap insurance.
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