Claims adjusters are no different than any other group of people. Some are trainees, some have limited experience and training, and some have lots of experience and training.
But how will you know what kind of adjuster you will be assigned when you have an insurance claim? Adjusters don’t show up and hand you a copy of their resume. Sometimes, you will be lucky to get their business card.
Usually, the qualifications of an adjuster are never mentioned. Yet, it is those very qualifications…or the lack thereof…that can make or break your claim.
People are way too trusting and compliant. They have a loss, call the insurance company and report the claim. But when the adjuster arrives to begin the adjusting process, it seldom seems to occur to policyholders that they have a right to question the qualifications of the adjuster. They just stand there like sheep waiting to be shorn. And then the shearing begins.
So today, I’m going to walk you through the process of determining the qualifications of any insurance adjuster. Once you’ve gathered this information, you’ll be able to make a decision whether or not to accept this adjuster to handle your claim.
This process only works for first party claims, in which you are the policyholder. You cannot use this process when you are the claimant against someone else’s insurance policy.
1. After you have submitted your Notice of Loss to the insurance company, they will assign an adjuster to handle your claim.
2. Know that there is nothing in your policy that requires you to accept any particular adjuster who is representing the insurance company.
3. The adjuster will contact you to make an appointment to meet with you. Make the appointment and keep it.
4. When the adjuster arrives, take control of the situation. Before the adjuster begins his inspection or investigation, ask him:
a. Is he a licensed adjuster in your state? Get his license number. Adjusters in my state are required by law to carry their license card with them.
b. Is he a temporary adjuster?
c. How many years has he been an adjuster?
d. How many years has he worked for this company?
e. What specialized claims training classes has he taken?
f. Has there ever been a complaint filed against him with the Department of Insurance of your state?
g. What is the name and telephone number of his supervisor?
Once you have obtained this information you can make the decision whether or not to accept this adjuster.
1. Do not accept a temporary adjuster. Commonly known as “Storm Troopers,” temporary adjusters have had very little training. Do you want an ill-trained adjuster handling your loss?
2. Do not accept an adjuster with less than two years of experience handling your particular type of loss. With less than two years experience, he’s still a rookie.
3. Do not accept a non-licensed adjuster. However, if your state does not license adjusters, you have no choice.
4. Do not accept an adjuster than has not had specific training in your type of loss. For example, in disasters, sometimes the insurance company will have auto adjusters helping out with the high volume of property claims. But why should you accept an adjuster that is not a specialist in your type of claim?
5. Check with your state’s Department of Insurance to verify if the adjuster has had complaints filed against him. If he has had a complaint, find out why. What’s most important is the cause of the complaint, like violating a law, unethical acts or fraud.
6. If you get any unsatisfactory answers to your questions, and you want a more qualified adjuster, send your request by letter, US Post Office Certified Mail, to the adjuster’s supervisor.
7. If the insurance company rejects your request, file a complaint with your state’s Department of Insurance.
Adjusters are not accustomed to getting this type of challenge from policyholders. Don’t be surprised if some adjusters resist your questions. Adjusters are taught to control you, the policyholder, in the claims process. If you are in control, they can feel very threatened. But their insecurity or lack of control should not deter you from getting these questions answered.
Remember that your job as claimant is to submit a very accurate claim that maximizes your recovery. Dealing with an unqualified adjuster would only serve to complicate your claim submission.