Claims Personnel

The People Who Keep the Promises Made by the Insurance Policy

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The Claims Adjuster

The claims adjuster is the contact between the insured and the insurer. He or she can be an employee of the insurer or an independent contractor retained by the insurer to investigate and adjust insurance claims on its behalf.  The adjuster is person charged with investigating a claim to fulfill the promises made by the policy of insurance and establish

whether the company is liable to the insured or a claimant and to what extent. The investigation can include interviews of the parties involved, property inspections, and reviewing hospital records or police reports.

The Claims Investigator

Although a small part of the work of the claim adjuster is to investigate, the adjuster does many more things. Insurance companies now retain the services—either by employing them directly or by use of independent contractors—of investigators whose expertise relates exclusively to insurance claims. The experienced claims investigator is usually a part of, or vendor to, a Special Investigative Unit (SIU) set up to protect the insurer and mandated by most states as a means to reduce the amount of fraud perpetrated against insurers.

The Claims Supervisor or Claims Manager

The insurance company claims department is set up with a hierarchy based upon the complexity and value of losses. The claims adjuster’s authority is limited, whether he or she is an employee of the insurer or a contractor. The claims supervisor has more authority to resolve claims than the adjuster and will be consulted by the claims adjuster if the loss exceeds the adjuster’s authority. The supervisor controls the work of several adjusters, drawing on his or her greater experience, education, and training.

Claims Counsel

The insured may meet with an attorney representing the insurer under two circumstances:

  • If the insured has been sued by a third person the insurer will retain counsel to defend the insured at the insurer’s expense. Counsel will meet with the insured and work to present the most effective defense to the suit.Insureds most often meet with claims counsel in a situation where the insured is in an automobile accident and a third party sues him or her for injuries incurred in the accident.
  • If there is a problem with coverage or with the extent of the claim, if the insured retains counsel to present his or her claim, or if fraud is suspected, the insurer will retain counsel to protect its interests. Attorneys who represent insurers in such situations are often referred to as “Coverage Counsel.” Coverage Counsel will usually deal with the insured’s personal attorney.

© 2020 – Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his practice to service as an insurance consultant  specializing in insurance coverage, insurance claims handling, insurance bad faith and insurance fraud almost equally for insurers and policyholders. He also serves as an arbitrator or mediator for insurance related disputes. He practiced law in California for more than 44 years as an insurance coverage and claims handling lawyer and more than 52 years in the insurance business. He is available at http://www.zalma.com and zalma@zalma.com.

Mr. Zalma is the first recipient of the first annual Claims Magazine/ACE Legend Award.

Over the last 52 years Barry Zalma has dedicated his life to insurance, insurance claims and the need to defeat insurance fraud. He has created the following library of books and other materials to make it possible for insurers and their claims staff to become insurance claims professionals.

Read posts from Barry Zalma at https://parler.com/profile/Zalma/posts

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Go to the Insurance Claims Library – https://zalma.com/blog/insurance-claims-library/

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