What does a Field Adjuster do?

Cassie L. Damewood

A field adjuster, also known as a field claims adjuster, travels to different locations to inspect insured property for which claims have been filed. She may work for one insurance company or independently contract her services to several companies. Large corporations such as banks frequently have an adjuster on staff to expedite the claims process. A field adjuster may specialize in one type of claim or investigate a range of insurance claim scenarios.

A field adjuster is typically sent to investigate a house fire claim.
A field adjuster is typically sent to investigate a house fire claim.

Most people in this profession work for property or casualty insurance companies. These are the types of insurance companies consumers pay to reimburse them for lost, stolen or damaged property. Claims for bodily injury are also covered by some casualty policies.

Travel is often part of a field adjusters job.
Travel is often part of a field adjusters job.

When property is lost and the insured person files a claim, a field adjuster normally travels to the place where the loss occurred. She confirms that the claim is valid through reading police or fire reports and making sure the damaged, stolen or lost property was covered under the terms of the policy. She may ask the policyholder to produce pictures of the lost items or copies of value appraisals if the claim includes items such as jewelry, collectibles or fine art.

In some cases, normally those that involve minor property loss, the field adjuster authorizes the claim to be paid without questions or delays. If something arouses her suspicion, she may contact the insurance company to enlist the assistance of another appraiser. The second opinion is commonly provided by an adjuster who specializes in a particular area, such as house fires, stolen jewelry or vehicle damage.

If the claim is large, such as those that involve the loss of an entire building or the total demolition of a vehicle, the adjuster may attempt to negotiate the payout with the insured party. This approach is normally used if a claimant and the adjuster have disparate views on the value of the lost property. Issues of negligence or inflated personal property values are frequently part of claims negotiations.

Good communication and negotiation skills are generally considered to be important traits for a field adjuster. She is also commonly expected to be empathetic yet fair in her assessments of losses. Exemplary attention to detail is normally required for an adjuster to accurately assess scenarios of loss and damage.

Some employers prefer candidates for field adjuster jobs to have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. A considerable number will accept a high school diploma or equivalent if the applicant has related work experience. Knowledge of insurance jargon, policies and procedures is desirable for field adjuster job applicants.

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