When disaster strikes, whether in the form of a storm, a fire, or some other crisis, the devastation can be overwhelming—something we’ve seen too many times this summer on the nightly news. From making sure loved ones are safe to helping neighbors in need, there is so much to think about and do when upheaval hits. Add insurance claims to the mix and the process of recovery becomes even more daunting. That is where public insurance adjusters step in, helping to decipher often complex policies and ensuring that claimants receive all that is due to them.
Who They Are
According to the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA) President David Barrack, public insurance adjusters have been around “since the horse and buggy days”—well over a century, in other words. NAPIA itself has been in existence for more than 60 years, serving as a clearinghouse for professional education, certification and the promotion of a rigid code of professional conduct and ethics for insurance adjusters.
Public insurance adjusters come from a variety of backgrounds. “We have second- and third-generation members, and we have former CPAs and attorneys,” Barrack says. “Many of them will have worked as adjusters for insurance companies in the past, so they will have that background as well.”
Classes in this field are also offered for individuals who wish to receive formal training in the profession. Being able to understand complex concepts, however, is the key, no matter what the adjuster’s prior avocation.
As the public insurance adjuster profession evolved, their roles grew in importance as the complexity of insurance policies grew. Adjusters work exclusively for individuals, not insurance companies. “We help the insured get everything due to them under their policy,” says Barrack. They work exclusively on first party policies, from homeowners to commercial to automobile.