When you file an insurance claim for damage to your home or business, your insurance company will investigate your claim. They will either send out an employee of their company (their adjuster) or they will contract with an adjustment firm that works for a variety of different insurance companies (independent adjusters).
Both, the insurance company’s own adjuster or the independent adjuster hired from another company, are required and expected to protect and act in the best interests of the insurance company – the party that is paying them to investigate your claim.
Some independent adjusters have been known to misrepresent themselves to policyholders as being “independent” from any duty to the insurance company and non-biased. To gain trust with the policyholder and attempt to uncover underlying “facts” that they believe might help them deny a claim or save their company money by underpaying a claim, some independent adjusters will say things like “I don’t work for either side” or “I’m an independent adjuster and do not work for the insurance company. I just write checks”. There have been cases reported to me by policyholders where the independent adjuster has told them “I’m on your side. I’m independent.” Nothing can be more false.
Telling the contracted independent adjuster sent out by your insurance company something that you are not absolutely certain about or sharing with him a passing and unsubstantiated thought, while mistakenly believing that he is objective and unbiased, could result in having that simple conjecture documented by him as “fact” and used against you. I’ve seen it happen many times.
It is important for a policyholder to know the different insurance adjusters who investigate claims. Here they are:
A. Insurance company adjusters are employees of your insurance company. They are usually not licensed and their sole duty and fiscal responsibility are to the insurance company that employs them. They have no duty to you.
B. Independent insurance adjusters are contracted employees of your insurance company. They are usually not licensed and their sole duty and fiscal responsibility are to the insurance company that has contracted them or their firm to assist them with your claim. They have no duty to you.
C. Public insurance adjusters are contracted by policyholders to protect and act only in the policyholder’s best interest. They are licensed by the state in which they operate to represent only you to your insurance company in proving your loss and negotiating the cost to restore you to your financial condition prior to your loss. Their duty is to you under the requirements of their license and not to your insurance company.
Know who you are speaking to and whose interests they serve.