Have you have just experienced some sort of a disaster, such as a fire or flood, and your property is extensively damaged. Are you are caught up in the emotional and stressful aftermath of the incident, and find you are struggling to correctly fill in your insurance claim. This may be the proper time to ask yourself:
“Do I need a licensed Public Adjuster?“
It is during this time directly after a disaster has occurred that people tend to make mistakes on their insurance claims. It is extremely difficult to tally up expected damages and costs when you are still over come by the strong feelings associated. These mistakes and miscalculations along with the vast complexity of insurance coverage and claims could cost you a fair amount of your final payout from the insurance company. This is quite often when you need to hire a public adjuster.
How to Determine When You Need a Licensed Public Insurance Adjuster
If you are feeling overwhelmed with your insurance claim, have a large complicated claim, or are feeling taken advantage of by your insurance company, the first step is to talk with an experienced and licensed public adjuster. A good public adjuster will help determine if their services would be a good fit for your case and then explain the process. If your situation is not a good fit for a public adjuster they will often provide some direction as to what the best course of action for your situation would be. So if you think you may need help, it’s best to get in touch with a licensed public adjuster and at least get some more information to explore your options.
All public loss adjusters are not equal. Some public adjusters provide excellent service while negotiating with your insurance company on your behalf. Other adjusters are looking to make a quick buck from a fast negotiation process.
How do you pick the best public insurance adjuster? Your first step is to hire a licensed public adjuster. Virtually every state in America requires all public adjusters to be licensed.
46 states have their own regulatory authority in charge of licensing public adjusters. These regulatory authorities require public adjusters to undergo tests to prove their qualifications. These organizations also provide ongoing certification and membership, including continuing education requirements and annual or semi-annual renewal requirements. Most licensing boards also have certain standards of ethics that members must follow.
The only states that don’t have their own regulatory schemes for public adjusters are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
If a public adjuster holds a license in one state, then they’re permitted to offer their services in that state. Holding a license in one state does not permit the adjuster to offer services in another state. However, some states have reciprocity agreements that make it easier for adjusters to apply for licensing in a new state.
There’s also something called the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), which governs licensing of public adjusters in many of the United States. You might find your public adjuster advertises their state registration, for example, in addition to their NAIC registration.
The benefits of hiring a licensed public adjuster are obvious:
- It’s illegal to work as a public adjuster without a license in most states
- Getting a license requires the adjuster to maintain a certain level of education, experience, qualifications, and knowledge
- Most regulatory boards require members to abide by strict moral and ethical principles to stay active
- Most state licensing agencies require ongoing commitments, including annual or semi-annual renewals and continuing education requirements
Yes, you need to hire a public adjuster that is licensed. In fact, most states require all public adjusters to be licensed. Working with a licensed adjuster means you’re working with a certified professional who has demonstrated a commitment to education, ethics, and responsibility within the field of insurance adjusting. It’s always in your best interest to work with a licensed public insurance adjuster.
Understanding What A Public Insurance Adjuster Does
A public adjuster is a licensed professional who deals with the insurance policy and payout on behalf of the claimant. They have no relationship with the insurance company and do all the negotiations on your behalf. They will deal with everything from studying your policy at length to ensure that they can get you the best possible deal to assessing the damage on your property and consulting with the required professionals. They will also collect and collate all of the findings, present them to the insurance company, and then enter negotiations with them. Only once they- or you, their client- is happy with the financial outcome offered, will they close off and complete talks. They are also able to refile the claim if any additional costs or discrepancies are found after the claim has been paid out.
Find out more about what a public adjuster does here.
It is important to remember that a public adjuster works solely for the claimant, and therefore the policyholder will be responsible for payment. Public adjusters are usually paid a percentage of the final amount paid out by the insurance company, and depending on which state you are in, that could be anywhere from 5 to 20% of the final number.
For more in depth information on when and how much public adjusters charge, see public adjuster fees.
Why is it Important to Hire a Licensed Public Adjuster?
Before hiring any public adjuster, you should always ask to see their individual public adjuster license. This is important for many different reasons:
Some public adjusters try to operate under a company, and will only produce their company’s public adjusters license. This could mean that you are hiring an inexperienced adjuster who hasn’t passed the basic licensing requirements
Like any profession, there are scams and fakes in the world of public adjusters. By making them provide their individual public adjusters license you are ensuring that they have passed all necessary regulations to become licensed. You are less likely to get ripped off by a public adjuster with a license, as unlicensed people often ask for cash first deposits, or very low pay and then walk away with your money without even seeing your claim.
If they have a license it means that they will belong to a certain group in their state, and will have passed strict tests to get where they are. The licenses make sure that the public adjusters are adhering to high work ethic, and they stick to rules and regulations. A license will help to ensure that you are provided with the quality of service that you require.
How Does a Public Adjuster Get Licensed?
Throughout America there are different rules for a public adjuster to get licensed, and this usually varies from state to state. There are also different methods to get a license depending on previous qualifications and work experience. Despite these varying methods and rules for getting a license, the procedure is normally a time consuming one, that requires the participant to follow strict rules, guidelines and to display utmost competency in the field that they are entering.
The process for getting a public adjusters license is as follows:
Please Note: Rules may vary in different states.
• The person in question must be over 18 years old
• They must be a resident in the state that they are applying, or hold a permit for a business in the required state
• A citizen of USA, or a person of different nationality who has the legal permit necessary to live and practice in the United States
• Must meet all prerequisites including:
• Pass the public adjusters exam
• Have the required amount of work experience/interning, which is usually one year in total in the last 5 years. Or 100 hours in the last 12 months
• Pay the applicable fee
• Be seen as being trustworthy and competent by others
• After all the required fields have been met, they must apply for the license by filling out all documentation needed, and handing in the proof of succeeding at all parts of step two.
• Participant must be fingerprinted to check for any criminal record and to be put into the database
• Only once the exam has been passed, and all other rules and regulations adhered to, will they be able to get their status as public adjusters confirmed and will then be able to print their license
Some universities offer insurance degrees, which many people pursue to prepare themselves for the industry, this helps to fast track the process and can often cut down the time needing to be spent interning. Please remember that this is just one way that public adjusters can get their license, and there are many other methods that apply.
It is extremely important that you make sure the public adjuster is licensed for whatever state you are in, and if they happen to be licensed out of state then you need to get at least three local references from them, this will tell you if the clients were satisfied with his services, and it will ensure that they are fully capable of handling your claim.
Hiring a licensed public adjuster is the best way to make sure you are hiring a competent professional, who will be a good fit for you and will guarantee you the best results possible from your insurance claim.