A liability insurance adjuster must be well versed in many facets of insurance and legal issues. They must also be able to investigate and determine liability. Ultimately, the liability adjuster must represent the insurance company in a way that offers defense and indemnification for an insured person who may be subject to a claim against them for negligence.
Review the Policy Forms
The liability adjuster’s first job is to determine whether a loss is covered. Information obtained from a written loss notice from an injured or an agent will tell the adjuster some basic information about how the claim happened. Usually from this information, a liability insurance adjuster can make a determination on coverage. It may be that an insurance adjuster cannot make a final determination on coverage based on limited information on a loss notice. They must then inform all of the parties that there is a question about whether or not the claim might be covered.
Investigate How the Accident Happened
The investigation process starts next. This investigation is sometimes necessary even if the loss notice suggests that no coverage exists. This is because the initial loss notice may have incorrect or inaccurate information. The investigation is the insurance company’s good faith effort to determine all of the facts before making a decision on coverage and liability.
The difference between coverage and liability is important because there may be a situation where an insurance claim is covered but there is no liability. In a case like this, the insurance company would not be responsible to pay to indemnify anyone. Under a liability insurance policy an indemnity payment is only made when insured is legally responsible to pay damages to someone else because of their negligence.
This investigation should not be taken lightly. A good liability adjuster will spend time to meet the claimant and ascertain the full facts of the incident. A good liability adjuster will also project empathy toward the injured parties. Being empathic toward an injured claimant is important because it will allow the adjuster to listen to all of the facts provided with an open mind. The adjuster must then also employ this same empathic approach to the story provided by an insured person. Invariably, the two stories will differ greatly and it is the liability insurance adjuster’s job to ascertain which facts are more relevant to the case and what actually happened.
In an effort to temper the differences between the two stories, an insurance adjuster’s job will also be to interview independent witnesses that have no interest in the case whatsoever. These disinterested parties can help to clarify facts that may have been unclear, which can help the liability adjuster to determine who may actually be at fault.
Police Reports and Medical Reports
In addition to witness statements, scene investigations and a review of police and medical records will also help to determine what actually happened. Ultimately, an insurance adjuster’s job will be to decide whether there is liability and whether or not a settlement should be made with an injured claimant on behalf of an insured person. If a settlement should be made it is the liability adjuster’s job to determine the amount of the damage and to secure a full release. A release is protection for a policyholder to ensure that any claims against them are fully extinguished by the settlement.
This is a broad overview of the duties of a liability insurance adjuster. Liability insurance adjusters can make more on a salary basis than property adjusters can in some cases. They often require specialized training in legal and medical matters that property adjusters do not need.
Liability insurance adjusters can work as staff employees or they can work as independent insurance adjusters. Some independent adjusters work for a large independent adjusting firm while others work under their own name, DBA, or in some cases, a corporation or LLC that they have set up.
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