A loss adjuster is an impartial claims specialist responsible for investigating claims on behalf of insurance companies. The role involves examining the causes of loss or damage, confirming that they are covered by the insurance policy, and assessing the validity of the claim. Writing claims reports for insurance companies and making recommendations on appropriate payment are also key parts of the job.
Loss adjusting is a profession that provides plenty of variety, since it deals with claims for damage arising from numerous causes, e.g. fire (including arson), storm, flooding, accidents, burglaries and fraud. This demanding but diverse role offers all kinds of opportunities.
Typical work activities
Typical work activities include:
Receiving instructions from insurers; visiting the scene of 'loss' (fire, accidental damage, burglary, etc.); surveying any physical damage; ensuring, when necessary, that the property is protected against theft or weather by arranging for the site to be boarded up or for builders to carry out repairs.
The loss adjuster then interviews the claimant (or client) to take evidence on the cause, or suspected cause, of the loss. At this stage, work activities may involve: asking for valuation certificates; requesting copies of reports (from the police or fire brigade, and from relevant representatives of the claimant, such as security staff); obtaining and viewing film from security cameras; commissioning reports from experts, such as building surveyors or forensic investigators.
If fraud is suspected, further investigations will need to be made, which may involve examining a company's accounts or checking stock records to confirm the existence of goods for which the claim is being made.
The next stage of the process involves:
Advising the insured on procedures; liaising with clients' insurers; preparing evidence to support claims against third parties and verifying the claims; negotiating with the insured and advising insurers of settlements. Loss adjusters may also advise on the actions the claimant should take (such as installing better locks, security lights and cameras, stronger doors, etc.) before the insurance policy is renewed.
The work is becoming more dependent on the use of computer technology to speed up the services offered to clients and to reduce claims administration costs.
Loss adjusters generally use computers for much of the administration and communicating with clients and claimants, and use of equipment such as digital cameras is becoming more frequent.
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