We are often asked about the role of a Loss Adjuster. It is a Role that does not exist in some countries and is not well known by the public here in Ireland unless they have been unfortunate enough to suffer damage or loss. A little history helps to set the scene. When Insurance was in it’s infancy in England, losses might often take place at some distance from the company office. Generally they affected people of some standing within the property owning class. Because Insurance was “a new thing” the claimant often needed help to understand what was covered and how to formulate the claim. The Insurance Company needed someone to vouch the claim in a general way. In these early days a trusted local person, often a lay official at the local church was asked to carry out these dual roles and paid a small fee for doing so.
In modern days Loss adjusters are still usually regarded as impartial claims specialists. Loss adjusters' fees are paid by the insurance company who rely on them to check claims for quantity, description and pricing. For some claims involving domestic or commercial property, insurance companies are able to make a payment immediately, or they may request a Loss Adjuster to check upon the circumstances. For larger or more complicated claims, insurance companies almost always employ the skills of a loss adjuster.
Loss adjusters are experts in many fields. In addition to a thorough knowledge of insurance and of the area in which they work, they can advise both the insurance company and the policyholder on repair and replacement techniques. After discussions with the policyholder, the loss adjuster's report to the insurance company enables the company to process the claim without delay. Each loss adjuster works for many insurance companies. These companies know they can rely on the skill and impartiality of the loss adjuster.
The loss adjuster will visit the policyholder, within days after submission of the claim form or in more serious cases within hours of the first telephone call, to discuss the circumstances of the claim. The loss adjuster will check:
Loss adjusters may also advise how home security or safety could be improved to avoid a further incident.
Loss adjusters can often point to aspects of the claim which the policyholder may have overlooked. They can advise on repair techniques, such as the matching of a damaged carpet or bathroom suite. They will know of specialist firms in the area who can undertake work in connection with the claim.
While independence and impartiality are a hallmark of the loss adjusting profession, many in the insurance industry and elsewhere believe that the Loss Adjuster is paid by the Insurer and is therefore biased towards them. There is some evidence of practices that could add to these concerns. Because of this some policyholders like to instruct their own experts commonly known in Ireland as Loss Assessors. They are typically paid by the policyholder. Relationships have built up between professionals on both sides with a view to the delivery of service to the policyholder.
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