Claims Adjusters Explained
Company Claims Adjusters, as the name implies, are employed directly by an insurance company. They typically have a lot of authority to make decisions on behalf of the insurance company. Almost universally, insurance companies require their adjusters to complete an “estimate” of damages. (This is like the fox designing the hen house). In some cases, a company adjuster will have a contractor that is part of the company’s “vendor program” involved in writing the estimate. (This is like the fox’s friend helping to design the hen house). Contractors participating in a company’s vendor program agree to complete repair work based on an insurance company adjuster’s established scope of work for pricing fixed by the insurance company. Vendor programs are designed to save insurance companies money. It should be obvious that these programs include perverse incentives that are contrary to the interest of policyholders. Coast does not participate in any vendor programs for this reason. Coast analyzes the minute details of every loss in order to produce a proper scope of work, and uses correct and reality-based pricing to produce accurate estimates.
Independent Adjusters are not the same as insurance company adjusters. Claims handling is essentially subcontracted to Independent Adjusters. They operate under their own adjusting licenses issued by the State of California, and generally work for many different insurance companies. The biggest difference between a company adjuster and an independent adjuster is that the independent adjuster does not usually have any authority to bind the insurance company to any action or position. The independent adjuster reports findings and suggestions to the insurance company and then proceeds according to directions received from the company. This typically means things move slower when an independent is involved. On the positive side, independent adjusters tend to be very experienced, and we find them easier to deal with than most company adjusters. Like company adjusters, they are expected to safeguard the interests of the insurance company.
Public Adjusters work under a California State license and will represent you in handling your claim. They largely take over your position as the insured, and as a result, you lose a significant amount of control over the process. They charge a fee for their services, which will approximate 10% of the amount of the claim proceeds. If you consider using a Public Adjuster, it is important to understand their fees and contract. It is also important to know that creating a scope of needed repairs and a priced estimate, and an inventory of damaged contents for the purposes of your claim, can and will be provided by Coast Construction and a separate mitigation company as included, no-charge services. Although a Public Adjuster’s contract can be canceled within 72 hours, most Public Adjusters’ contracts cannot be canceled for any reason after 72 hours! This means that you must remain with the Public Adjuster and pay the fees that they charge regardless of the quality of their performance or your level of satisfaction.