When was the last time you read and understood the insurance policy that covers your home or business?
- Many people have difficulty understanding the technical language of the insurance policy and the complicated procedures they must follow to comply with the policy’s terms.
- Most people do not realize that insurance company adjusters are trained professionals who represent the interests of the insurance company which employs them.
- You can protect your interests by employing an accredited public adjuster whose sole responsibility is to serve you, the insured.
- Accredited public adjusters are retained for the adjustment of insured claims due to fire, wind, water, vandalism, and other perils. The public insurance adjuster serves commercial businesses, financial institutions, professional firms, homeowners, and the general insuring public.
- If a loss occurs, you should give immediate consideration to engaging the services of a public insurance adjuster, specifically one accredited by the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA). This question and answer section will help you understand how a public insurance adjuster works for you.
What is a public insurance adjuster?
An authority on loss adjustments who you can retain to assist you in preparing, filing, and adjusting your insurance claims.
What is meant by the term “accredited” public insurance adjuster?
It means that the public insurance adjuster acts according to a strict code of ethics established by NAPIA and is an accredited member of the Association.
What is NAPIA?
NAPIA stands for the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters. NAPIA members are experts in the profession of public insurance adjusting who have joined together for the express purpose of professional education, obtaining certification and promoting a rigid code of professional conduct and ethics.
Are they connected with insurance companies?
No. They are employed exclusively by you – the policyholder- not by an insurance company.
How can an accredited public insurance adjuster help me?
You will have the advantage of expert assistance based on great experience in handling numerous technical problems. Your public insurance adjuster relieves you of the many time-consuming and difficult matters involved in preparing and filing a claim – and helps you to receive a prompt and fair settlement.
Can I prepare my own claim?
Sure, but it stands to reason that the accredited public insurance adjuster who has years of experience and training can do so with more competence than the policyholder.
More specifically, a public insurance adjuster will assist you in the preparation of inventories, estimates and other factual proofs of loss. He or she will handle all the necessary details for compiling and filing claims, as required by the terms of your insurance policies. Your public insurance adjuster will also confer, on your behalf, with insurance company representatives and handle all matters essential to a proper and satisfactory adjustment.
Why do I need help in filing an insurance claim?
The typical fire policy contains hundreds of provisions and stipulations – various forms and riders that are constantly changing and many complex details about your requirements in case of loss. Most people do not know or understand these policy provisions – and most do not realize that the burden of proof is on them, the policyholder. Most insurance company representatives actually prefer to work with an experienced accredited public insurance adjuster rather than an inexperienced insured.
An accredited public insurance adjuster not only has your confidence, but also that of company adjusters who recognize that they are dealing with a professional.
In the event of a fire or similar destruction of property does my insurance pay the entire loss?
This depends upon the type and amount of insurance you carry. It also depends on your expertise or the expertise of your representative, not that of the insurance company’s adjuster. Many insurance policies may pay more than the amount shown on the declaration page. A qualified expert working for you can determine everything to which you are entitled.
Why should I engage a public insurance adjuster to obtain what is rightfully due to me?
Insurance companies offer to pay what is due to you as they see it. Public insurance adjusters are your exclusive representatives. With their experience and knowledge they are better able to obtain a more favorable adjustment for you, the insured.
What is the extent of their responsibility?
Your public insurance adjuster assists with every phase of preparing and presenting your claim, as well as accomplishing an adjustment for you which is equitable and includes everything to which you are entitled under your insurance policy.
How do they determine the actual loss?
They take a physical inventory, obtain all pertinent appraisals and make sure all provisions in your policy are properly fulfilled. This often involves numerous steps of which you may know little or nothing, but can make a significant difference in the amount of the final adjustment.
What special help can the accredited public insurance adjuster give me with technical questions?
They are the experts to turn to when such matters arise. They are concerned only with your interests. Because of their broad experience and specialized knowledge, they prepare your claim so that you can recover to the fullest extent on your insurance coverages. It is up to you to prove your loss. There may be many questions and problems as to how the policy provisions can be applied in different circumstances.
Are they trained specialists?
Yes. Your NAPIA public insurance adjuster must, in virtually all jurisdictions, be tested, licensed, bonded, and authorized to practice his/her profession. All members are accredited by NAPIA. Furthermore, a Certified Professional Public Insurance Adjuster (CPPA) must have a minimum of five years experience and pass an examination to earn certification. A Senior Professional Public Adjuster (SPPA) must have a minimum of ten years experience and also pass a rigid examination to earn “senior” certification. Both are required to continue their professional education to keep up with changes in the insurance industry so they can best serve you.
When you deal with a NAPIA member public insurance adjuster you can be confident that your claim is being adjusted by a fully-qualified professional.
Will a public insurance adjuster help me receive a more prompt and satisfactory settlement?
Yes. They lose no time in complying with the policy requirements to obtain and evaluate the facts and prepare the claim. The alert, knowledgeable and prompt service they render often preserves evidence that may otherwise be overlooked or destroyed. The more thoroughly and completely your claim is compiled and prepared, the faster your public insurance adjuster can accomplish an equitable and proper settlement in you best interest
Once a policyholder has witnessed the skill and knowledge of the accredited public insurance adjuster, he or she rarely will attempt to settle a claim without the benefit of their specialized assistance. The public insurance adjuster’s most frequent sources of new clients are the recommendations of those they have previously served.
How much do they charge for their service?
Your public insurance adjuster’s charge is a percentage of the insurance company’s settlement with you. By seeking to maximize your settlement, your public insurance adjuster’s services can save you the cost of their fees, at the very best.
In the event of a loss, what steps should I take?
Promptly report the loss to the agent or broker, or directly to the insurance company – and immediately retain the services of an accredited public insurance adjuster to serve you.
Do public insurance adjusters take care of claims other than fire?
Yes. They will assist you in any claims you may have due to windstorm, explosion, and any other insured losses that are sustained (inland marine, business interruption, rental income, improvements and betterments, commission and profit, reporting forms, additional expense, etc.).
Do they sell insurance or act as insurance agents?
No! If they were to do so, they would become a representative of the insurance company – and they would no longer represent you exclusively and independently.
If I have a problem or complaint concerning an adjuster or insurance company what should I do?
State insurance departments license insurance companies, brokers, agents, and adjusters to operate in their state. If you feel that one of these licensees has failed to act in accordance with your contract or state insurance law and regulation, we urge you to contact your state insurance department in writing, setting forth the nature of your complaint.
What if I have a question about insurance coverage or the insurance industry?
State insurance departments are also the appropriate place for information about licensees, insurance law and regulation.
How do I become a public insurance adjuster?
There are many paths taken to become a public adjuster. Many adjusters receive on-the-job training while working for a public adjusting or insurance company. Others pursue a degree in insurance which prepares them for employment in many areas of the insurance industry.
Universities offering programs of Insurance studies:
- Appalachian State University
- Bradley University
- Cal. State Univ., Northridge
- Florida State University
- Georgia State University
- Illinois State University
- Illinois Wesleyan
- Indiana State University
- Louisiana State University
- Old Dominion University
- Seattle University
- St. John’s University
- St. Mary’s University
- Temple University
- University of Calgary
- University of Georgia
- University of Louisiana, Lafayette
- University of Louisiana at Monroe
- University of Mississippi
- Univ. of North Carolina, Charlotte
- University of North Texas
- University of Nottingham
- University of Southern Mississippi
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Texas at Austin
- University of Wisconsin
- Virginia Commonwealth University
- Washington State University
- Public adjuster licensing varies from state to state. You can find a list of State Departments of Insurance here.
The National Association of Public Insurance (NAPIA) awards the Certified Professional Public Adjuster (CPPA) and Senior Professional Public Adjuster (SPPA) designations to public adjusters who have met specific experience and educational requirements, completed a qualifying examination and subscribe to a code of ethics for business and professional conduct.