A claims adjuster or loss adjuster (more commonly used in the UK), works as either a private individual, an independent contractor or as an insurance company employee to inspect claims of damages after an accident occurs. The claims adjuster may only inspect certain types of claims. For instance, some work in the area of assessing damage and injury caused by car accidents, and others work to assess damage to homes caused by fires or natural disasters. Others are able to evaluate most insurance claims regardless of who or what is damaged by any type of accident or disaster.
The adjuster may not only inspect damage but also works with specialists who assess damage. For example, a mechanic assesses a car involved in an automobile accident, helping the claims adjuster to determine what repairs are needed or if the car is considered “totaled” or wrecked. Doctors evaluate injuries of people involved in accidents and give this information to claims adjusters, based on patient requests. Some insurance companies require you to see a specific doctor, or use specific home inspectors or mechanics. If their reports seem unfair to you, you can counter by seeing your private doctor or hiring your own experts. Some people hire private claims adjusters if they feel that assessment of damages by an insurance or contracted claims adjuster is not accurate and will not fully compensate them for losses.
When the adjuster has read the reports and made his/her own report of damages through inspection, he works with the insurance company, either his own or the insurance company of the person responsible for the damages to get a suitable settlement for injured parties. The claims adjuster may also help to arrange medical appointments and negotiate with home or auto repair personnel or a variety of service professionals to get things repaired or people treated as quickly as possible. Sometimes speed isn’t possible when two adjusters from two different insurance companies must settle a claim, which can be of detriment to injured parties.
Claims adjusters must also inspect damages caused by their clients. If you cause a car accident, usually both a claims adjuster for your insurance company and for the other person’s insurance company will inspect and make reports. Adjusters from two companies may then need to negotiate with each other to find reasonable compensation for the injured party/parties and for any damaged property.
Many claims adjusters have four-year degrees, not necessarily in business-oriented fields. This is not a prerequisite for the job and some people who work in administrative support positions work their way up in an insurance company to become a claims adjuster. Usually the adjuster must take continuing education courses to help keep current with any changes in insurance or liability laws.