Loss adjusters and loss assessors both play an important role in large insurance claims, but what exactly do they do? Here, we take a look at what the differences between them are and how their roles can affect the outcome of your claim.
- What is a loss adjuster?
- What is a loss assessor?
- Why use a loss assessor?
- When should you hire a loss assessor?
- How much does a loss assessor cost?
- Where do I find a loss assessor near me?
Loss adjusters are employed by insurance providers to assess a claim once it reaches a certain threshold. Their role is to provide an unbiased report on what happened along with supporting evidence. Based on what they find, they will advise your insurer whether your claim is valid and if it is, how much compensation you should receive. Loss adjusters will typically be looking at the following:
- The cause of the claim.
- The value of the items that have been lost or damaged.
- If you have complied with the terms and conditions of your policy.
- If the amount you’re claiming for is correct.
One area that loss adjusters will be particularly focused on is underinsurance. This is when you only insure your home, business, or belongings for a fraction of its true replacement or rebuild value. If a loss adjuster determines that you’re underinsured this could lead to a significant reduction in the amount the insurer agrees to pay you for your claim.
It’s fairly common for insurers to use loss adjustors for any large, or complex, claim. A loss adjusters’ primary goal is to accurately establish the validity of your claim, within the context of your policy and how much you will be paid for the loss. They won’t offer advice on how you should make a claim, or help you dispute the amount the insurer have agreed to pay you. While loss adjusters are required to assess a claim fairly and independently, it is important to remember that they are employed by the insurer and are there to protect the insurers’ best interests.
For more information about professional and ethical standards, visit the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters which is the official member organisation.
On the other hand, a loss assessor works on your behalf and will manage the claims process for you. Their goal is to try and ensure you get the best possible outcome. Your insurer will not appoint a loss assessor for you, it is up to you to find and employ the services of one if you want to.
In most cases, loss assessors will manage all the practical details relating to your claim. This could include:
- dealing with all the paperwork relating to your claim;
- making sure your property is secured after a break-in;
- organising alternative accommodation for you if your home is uninhabitable;
- meeting with your insurer and their representatives (such as a loss adjuster) on your behalf.
If your claim is in relation to your business, your loss assessor will also usually help source temporary commercial premises or office space so that you can stay operational. They can also resolve urgent issues such as liability and secure funds for essentials such as stock and equipment.
Loss assessors can help you navigate a complex insurance claim where you may not be able to assess the value of the claim yourself. For example, if your home was destroyed by a fire or suffered extensive damage caused by a flood it would be hard for you to know exactly how much you will need to restore the property and whether the settlement figure offered by the insurer is fair. In these instances, your loss assessor can take away the additional burden of dealing with the insurance claim while you come to terms with what’s happened.
Ultimately, loss assessors are experts at what they do. They’re qualified and trained to negotiate on your behalf and effectively present your claim to ensure you get the maximum amount of compensation. Their experience in dealing with insurers, loss adjusters and policy wordings can be vital when trying to get the maximum amount possible from your insurer.
As a general rule, you should hire a loss assessor right at the very start of the claims process or as soon as you realise that your claim is likely to be of high value. Similarly, if you think your claim might be complex it’s worth considering a loss assessor.
You can of course employ a loss assessor at any point of the claims process but for the most favourable outcome, it’s best if they see the claim through from the very start.
Loss assessors usually take a percentage of your final compensation pay out. The amount will vary but it’s often around 10%. Some loss assessors won’t charge for their services directly but instead, you’ll have to agree to use services and firms they recommend (for example, builders). The loss assessor will then take commission from them.
Always double check which payment model is being used and make sure you’re happy with the expectation.
All loss assessors must be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) which you can check for free on the FCA website. You can also search for a loss assessor in your area at the Institute of Public Loss Assessors, which is the industry’s professional body.
Insurance products for peace of mind
At Alan Boswell Group, we understand how important it is to get the right insurance. That’s why we prefer to take a tailored approach, listening to your needs in order to create a bespoke policy for your peace of mind.
Our advisors can help ensure you avoid pitfalls such as underinsurance – particularly for businesses, where reduced compensation can stop you getting back on your feet.