What is an Insurance Loss Adjuster’s Role in Property and Casualty Insurance?
Property and casualty insurance is a product that protects people’s assets in various ways. Property insurance pays for repairing or replacing a policyholder’s property, and casualty insurance is designed to indemnify an insured for claims of negligence where the insured becomes legally liable to pay damages to another person. The property and casualty insurance industry provide great jobs that can lead to a long and rewarding career. You can select from various insurance adjuster jobs within either property or casualty insurance.
So, where does an insurance adjuster fit into this equation?
Property insurance coverage is often described as “first party” coverage because, in a contract situation, only two people or entities enter the contractual agreement. When one owes something to the other through a contract, it is known as a first-party obligation.
The “property” side of the property and casualty equation considers all owned property, but it most often refers to real estate property. It also encompasses automobiles, as well as business and personal property, which might include anything that can be owned by a person other than autos or real estate. Examples of personal property would consist of household items like furniture and clothing; in the business world, that could mean office equipment, tools, machinery, or stock.
A loss adjuster tasked with the coverage analysis and settlement of property insurance claims must be well versed in property insurance coverage. Still, they must also be able to assess the cost of damages. Most often, property adjusters focus on automobile or real estate property-type claims. On the automobile side, auto appraisers specialize in estimating repair costs for damaged vehicles. Those appraisers sometimes specialize even further and handle only heavy trucks and equipment.
Property loss adjusters who focus on real estate and personal property often only handle those claims. You may find that some specialize in only personal or residential property losses, and others will only take losses to commercial properties.
A property insurance claims adjuster’s salary sometimes depends on the volume of claims received, which is more common for a property adjuster or auto appraiser. Still, in other cases, the pay is based on a yearly or hourly rate.
Casualty insurance encompasses various claims, primarily involving third-party protection to a named insured. “Third-party” generally refers to a party’s claims that are not included in the original contract agreement or insurance policy. In this scenario, an insurance company, the policyholder, and a third party are often referred to as a claimant. This claimant is asserting a claim against the policyholder, and the insurance company will indemnify that policyholder under a liability contract or insurance policy.
Casualty claims result from auto accidents, property or construction site accidents, and workplace accidents that result in workers’ compensation claims.
A casualty insurance adjuster must be an investigator of sorts, as it is their job to assess the facts of an incident, and they must be able to communicate that to claims decision-makers within an insurance company. This may include one or more attorneys who must determine the most reasonable course of defense in the event of litigation against an insured.
A firm understanding of medical terminology is also essential for a casualty insurance adjuster because they will need to assess a person’s injury to determine and verify the monetary value of the claim.
Finally, a casualty claims adjuster must have a working knowledge of tort law, which is the law that applies to legal wrongs that one person may commit against another. This will include common law, statutory law, and case law, often specific to each state.
The role of an insurance adjuster in the property and casualty insurance business is vital. When a claim is made, the insurer must react to the terms of its policy, and it is the job of the insurance claims adjuster to ensure that this is carried out correctly.
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