Who is This Adjuster From Out of Town?

So the wind blew the roof off your house. You called someone and got it tarped, and the ceiling stopped leaking. You called your insurance agent, and they started a claim for you.

Now your phone is ringing, and it’s an area code you don’t recognize. You answer it. A man says he’s the adjuster for your claim.

What exactly is going on? Why is somebody from another state saying he’s going to adjust your claim? Is it a trick? Is he just pretending, so he can get inside your house and steal things?

No, it’s probably alright. Here’s what’s going on.

When a severe storm hits an area, it generally damages more than just one or two properties. Thousands of people often receive damage at the same time- shingles blown off the roof, homes scraped or crushed by falling trees, basements filling with water when the sump pump is without power.

Insurers keep enough claims adjusters on staff to handle the normal flow of day-to-day claims, but it doesn’t make sense for them to keep enough adjusters to handle the thousands of sudden claims that come from storms. All those extra adjusters would just be idle during the months between storms. So insurers contract the handling of the claims to “independent adjusters”.

Some independent adjusters, or IAs, stay in one place and serve many different insurers, covering for their staff adjusters’ vacations, or filling geographical gaps where an insurer might not have a staff adjuster, or providing special expertise.

Other IAs travel around the country, and now we’re getting to the answer to the question. Just like utility companies send linesmen from state to state, many IAs travel around the same way. They’ll serve an area for several months after a damaging hailstorm or windstorm- inspecting buildings, writing reports, helping insurers handle the enormous, sudden influx of claims. And then when most of the policyholders in the area have been helped, and the number of incoming claims is close to normal again, then the IA will head off to the next storm-damaged area to do it again.

So. Who is this adjuster from out of town? Chances are, he’s an independent adjuster who goes wherever he’s needed the most.

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