RICHMOND — When disaster strikes, insurance companies provide trained professional
adjusters to evaluate and settle claims made by homeowners and businesses. However,
if you have had a large loss, you may be contacted by a public adjuster or you may
consider hiring a public adjuster. A public adjuster does not represent the insurance
company. Public adjusters represent policyholders in appraising and negotiating
insurance claims and are paid for their services by the policyholder.
Beginning January 1, 2013, all individuals and business entities doing business
as a public adjuster must be licensed by the State Corporation Commission (SCC).
As a result of the new law, public adjusters will be required to comply with standards
of conduct and continuing education requirements, and their fees must be fair and
reasonable in relation to the work performed. The SCC may suspend or revoke licenses
under certain conditions.
The SCC’s Bureau of Insurance reminds Virginians that they are not required to hire
a public adjuster. However, the Bureau offers the following tips to protect your
interests if you do consider hiring one:
- Beginning January 1, 2013, make sure the public adjuster is licensed by the Bureau
of Insurance. You can call the Bureau toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 to verify this.
- Before signing a public adjuster contract, you may want to familiarize yourself
with the requirements governing public adjuster contracts as well as the standards
of conduct applicable to public adjusters. This information may be found on the
Bureau’s website at
- Carefully read any contract you are given and do not sign it unless you understand
and agree to all the terms including fees and payment terms.
- Ask the public adjuster for references and contact them for their opinion of the
work before you sign a contract. This is particularly important when dealing with
non-resident public adjusters who may come to Virginia to handle claims following
- Check with the Better Business Bureau and the Bureau of Insurance to see if there
are any complaints against the public adjuster.
- Find out how experienced the public adjuster is.
- Notify your insurance company when you contract with a public adjuster and give
them the name of the person who will be authorized to work with the insurance company
on your behalf.
- Meet with more than one public adjuster before making a decision. Allow yourself
time to check references and the public adjuster’s license status before signing
For more information about this and other insurance-related matters, contact the
Bureau of Insurance at 1-877-310-6560 or visit its website at www.scc.virginia.gov/boi.