Property Adjusting

Staff vs. Independent Adjusters

Either you are reading this article to determine what type of adjuster you want to become OR, you are curious about what kind of adjuster will be showing up at your house during an insurance claim.

If you want to become an adjuster, be sure to check out my blog post on the Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Great Adjuster. Be sure to weigh your options before choosing your career path. Can’t decide? Reach out to me! I’ll be happy to help.

Who’s coming to your house?

When you file an insurance claim, the insurance company will either send out a staff adjuster that works directly for them or an independent adjuster.

REMEMBER: The insurance adjuster works for, or on behalf of your insurance company. They DO NOT work for you.

Independent adjusters do not work directly for the insurance company. Instead, they typically work for a third party adjusting firm on behalf of the insurance company.

You may be asking why doesn’t every insurance company have staff adjusters? Well, not every insurance company is State Farm or Allstate. There are many smaller insurance companies that hire independent adjusting firms to help handle their claims on their behalf.

Don’t worry if your insurance company sends out an independent adjuster. There are guidelines that they must follow for the insurance company. Customer service shouldn’t be waivered just because they are not staff adjusters.

Take it from an independent adjuster- you are in safe hands!

Whatever your reason may be, here are the top differences between staff adjusters and independent adjusters.

CategoryIndependent AdjustersStaff Adjusters
INCOME Commission based individual that works for a third-party adjusting firm.Salaried employees that work directly for the insurance company. Think about the famous Jake from State Farm.
TAX STATUS They can be 1099 employees. They tend to go where the work is or work in a designated area. Independent adjusters can work for themselves.Staff adjusters are usually W-2 employees. Their work is steadier, but I would say income may be lower than an independent adjuster.
VEHICLE Uses their vehicle for work. Responsible for tracking their expenses and mileage.
Can be provided a commercial vehicle.
SCHEDULE While they must follow timelines, they can make their own schedules.Staff adjusters are also flexible and can make their own schedule. It depends on their employer.
BENEFITS As a 1099, you do not have the same benefits as a W-2 employee. If you do not work, you do not get paid. Some independent firms are different and may offer some advantages.W-2 employees receive benefits and may have paid time off.
Both can work at the office or at home. Sometimes it’s a mixture of both.Both can work at the office or at home. Sometimes it’s a mixture of both.
LICENSING If you are licensed, you must keep up with your CE credits. Independent adjusters may have to come out of pocket for their expenses.If you are licensed, you must keep up with your CE credits. Staff adjusters may have their employees cover the cost of their license renewals.

The insurance company is sending out an independent adjuster.

So, if your adjuster calls you and states they are from a different company that is not your insurance company, do not fret. They are most likely an independent adjuster working on behalf of the insurance company.

You can ask them for their business card, supervisor’s information, or their license number if you are concerned. If the adjuster is licensed, you can look up their license number on the insurance department website and verify they are an active adjuster.

Additional Reading

Read about secrets adjusters wish they could tell you here.

Not all adjusters are the same; read about crucial mistakes they make here. You’ll get a great insight into the challenges they face. It may even change your perspective of us!

Do you want an adjuster working strictly for you? Read about public adjusters in this article on the Insurance Information Institue website.

The Curious Confidential: Would you like to become an adjuster? If so, which route would you choose- staff or independent?


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