Public Insurance Adjuster

What is a Public Insurance Adjuster and Why Might You Need One?

So many people have lost everything in this latest series of fires that the critical subject of fire insurance becomes paramount. As with the last fires here in Napa County, the big issue will be the response of insurance companies to the challenges of helping their clients as quickly as possible. And as last time, people are finding out that some insurance companies are not particularly responsive. One of the largest segments of the American economy is, ironically, FIRE - Finance, Insurance, Real Estate. Since the present economic system is a cult of predatory capitalism, FIRE is in the business of making money - not helping people.

Once an insured suffers a loss such as the wildfire destruction occurring in Napa County, unfortunately, they move from the revenue side of the insurance company's ledger to the expense side. The insurance company's incentive to reduce expenses becomes manifest in the way the insurer adjusts claims downwards. Public Adjusters ensure that insurance companies live up to the promise they sold to the insured since many times the insurance company's tactics are to reduce claim payouts that leave people short-changed. 

The insurance company has their own adjuster who represents the carrier's financial interests. Public Adjusters level the playing field so the conflict of interest that an insurance adjuster has by representing both the insurer and insured is removed. While an insurance adjuster may be very nice and polite, they have a job to do - which is to protect the insurer's financial interests. Public Adjusters remove that conflict and become the policyholder's face and voice to prepare, present and negotiate the claim with the goal of legitimately maximizing the indemnities owed by the insurer. Unlike an insurance adjuster who cannot serve two masters, Public Adjusters serve only the policyholder. 

The decision whether or not to hire a Public Adjuster is an individual one - it depends on your situation. Getting a full and fair settlement on a large loss is time-consuming and requires effort. When you pay your premium, it entitles you to benefits in the event of a covered loss, AND good service when you file a claim. So in theory you shouldn't need to pay a public adjuster.  But with losses where large dollars are at stake, it can be a fight to collect what you're owed.  

There are for-profit and not-for profit companies. An example of a for-profit company is SunPoint Public Adjusters ( They are a for-profit business and you can hire one of their employees to tally up the full extent of your losses, read and understand what your insurance policy entitles you to receive, be your advocate and reach a fair claim settlement on your behalf by standing in your shoes in meetings and negotiations with the insurance company and collect every dollar available in the policy. 

For-profit Independent Public Adjusters are paid on a Fee-Schedule. This is a percentage of the total claim amount. Since their pay is tied to a percentage, this incentivizes them to look for all the damage covered under the insured's policy. The Public Adjuster is not paid until the clients are paid. There are no upfront fees for their services. Their fee comes out of what they recover on your behalf, but if they've done their job right, you'll come out ahead because they'll have collected more than you would have on your own. 

An example of a not-for-profit (non-profit) organization is United Policy Holders ( which is a free resource for being the policyholder's best advocate, collecting what the insurer owes and getting professional help if needed. They are not available to be hired for a fee. The information and support resources they offer online, in print and through their webinar series is free of charge. United Policyholders is the company for which Napa County provides information at their Wildfire Support Local Assistance Centers (LAC) for wildfire victims.

United Policy Holders basic guidance is given in more detail at:

**********                       © Peter Kilkus 2020