From the July 2004 issue of Entrepreneur

Got an insurance claim for property loss or damage? Consider retaining a public insurance adjuster to handle the claims process on your behalf.

Typically paid based on a percentage of the settlement, public adjusters (as opposed to insurance company adjusters) work for the insured, handling all the paperwork and other steps involved in filing a claim, says David W. Barrack, executive director of the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA) in Potomac Falls, Virginia.

"They'll review the policy and make sure the policyholder gets what is due," Barrack says. "There may be instances where the public adjuster might find more damage or file for more than the insurance company adjuster may."

What's more, public adjusters have skills and knowledge that you may not have in-house. And because the circumstances surrounding the claim may be traumatic, a public adjuster will be better equipped emotionally to tackle the claims process quickly.

Even if you have not suffered a loss, you may want to establish a relationship with a public adjuster before you need one. This is especially true if you're in a high-risk area or industry. If the unthinkable happens, you'll know exactly whom to call first.


Jacquelyn Lynn is a freelance business writer in Orlando, Florida.