An insurance claim form
Property Casualty

Have Questions on the Various Types of Adjusters and Their Differences?

Rod Miner
Rod Miner
Vice President of Commercial Claims, Property Casualty

An adjuster. Company adjuster. Carrier adjuster. Public adjuster. Large loss adjuster. Med-only adjuster. So many titles with certainly some variance.

My first job was titled an “office adjuster” for an insurance company. This meant I adjudicated claims from within the office versus in the field. My 14-year-old brother thought an “office adjuster” meant I moved furniture in offices. So close!

Why do I bring up the topic of adjusters? Because it’s important you know the differences, what each do, and how each could be brought in to help your business.

Company or Carrier Adjusters

In the Property Casualty industry, a company or insurance carrier adjuster is one who works directly for the carrier who writes the actual coverage form(s). A high percentage of all adjusters would fall in this area. Regardless of the line of coverage, those adjusters work for those carriers with their specific services rarely ever sold alone. Instead, their service comes with purchase of the policy.

Third-Party Administrator Adjusters

Third-party claims administrator (TPA) adjusters’ roles are very similar to the company or carrier adjuster role. By in large, they have the same responsibilities, tasks, and best practices. While a number of TPAs are owned by insurance carriers, their services are most frequently sold separately.

With that added sense of competition, TPAs attempt to be more flexible and more service-centered in their offerings. They still have the responsibility to investigate, reserve, and resolve claims appropriately, but with the nature of TPAs’ clients often bearing more of the risk in way of deductibles and self-insured retentions, their focus can be slightly more flexible and service driven.

Independent Adjusters

Both company/carrier and TPA adjusters work for a specific company. At times, they need adjusters who can provide services or be somewhere where the company or TPA adjuster cannot.

In those cases, they often hire independent adjusters. Independent adjusters are hired by insurance carriers or TPAs to perform a specific task or perhaps adjudicate the entire claim. These are often on a one-off or case-by-case basis. Many times, the independent adjuster reports back to the carrier or TPA adjuster who ultimately makes a coverage, liability, or resolution decision.

Public Adjusters

Finally, there are public adjusters. A public adjuster is hired directly by the insured or client to assist them in resolving their claim with the company/carrier or TPA adjuster. Typically, the public adjuster is hired when the insured or client feels the loss is too large for them to manage alone, or they feel their claim is not being managed appropriately.

Public adjusters normally charge a percentage of the overall claim recovery. Anywhere from 3-30 percent has been seen, and the fee is regardless of the outcome. Unfortunately, the introduction of a public adjuster can lead to, or result from, an agitated working relationship between the company/carrier or TPA adjuster and the insured client.

Need Help Determining Which Adjuster You Should Use?

If you would like to know more about the various types of adjusters, which you should be using, and how Holmes Murphy works with them to ensure a timely and appropriate outcome, please reach out to us. We’d be happy to help!

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