Frequently asked questions about Loss Adjusters

Author – James Bishop

Ever wondered what a loss adjuster does? How to become one? Or if it’s a viable career option? At Consort Technical Underwriting we value the work of experienced loss adjusters and their unique skill set. Loss adjusters fall within the advanced and expert skill levels and are thus sought-after vocations.

In this article we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about loss adjusters.

1. What exactly is a loss adjuster?

Loss adjusters are appointed by insurance or underwriting companies to investigate insurance claims. These specialists will investigate an insurance claim as a result of theft, damage, break-down etc. Despite being hired by insurers or underwriters, loss adjusters remain independent in their work and the report they write. Investigating claims is in the best interest of all involved and is simply there to guarantee that the loss is covered by a policy and that it is paid out accordingly.

In an interview1 a few years back, Jan Schubart, then president, now director of the Institute of Loss Adjusters in South Africa, explained that the role of a loss adjuster in assessing a claim includes verifying the circumstances of the loss, confirming that an insured peril (what the policy covers) has, in fact occurred, and ensuring that there has been no breach of policy conditions and/or exclusions.

2. How do you become a loss adjuster?

Certainly not many children grow-up dreaming of becoming a loss adjuster. Instead, this is a career path you choose after working in the relevant industry after some years and discovering the intricacies and challenges of the job.

Loss adjusters usually start off either in the insurance field (general adjuster) or in the specific discipline related to the insurance claim (electrical, mechanical, civil or electrical engineering) before entering the specialist field of loss adjusting. This could be one of the reasons why many loss adjusters are of a more senior age.

Individuals that are interested in pursuing an occupation as loss adjuster will have to look into obtaining a National Certificate in Loss Adjusting. According to SAQA2 the National Certificate in Loss Adjusting (NQF Level 5) is intended for learners who have achieved a Level 4 Qualification in Short Term Insurance or Short-Term Risk Management and who wish to continue on a career path of lifelong learning in the short term insurance industry. And for those who seek admission as an Associate Member of the Institute of Loss Adjusters of Southern Africa.

Aside from the necessary qualifications, loss adjusters should have good communication and problem-solving skills and the ability to arbitrate a settlement with grace and unbiased reasoning. Other skills that are also sought after in a good loss adjuster include: an inquisitive personality with a keen interest in criminal and civil investigation, analytical thinking, detail orientated, people orientated and computer proficient.

3. Is there a governing body for loss adjusters?

Yes, the Institute for Loss Adjusters in South Africa (ILASA) sets and controls the professional standards and conducts of the profession in South Africa. No person other than a member of the Institute may use the term loss adjuster.

According to ILASA, members who achieve professional body status must comply with the following requirements to be awarded the status of Professional Loss Adjuster:

  1. Be an Associate or Fellow of the Institute.
  2. Hold the Higher Certificate / National Certificate in Short Term Insurance LIISA / ACII / AIISA / FCII / FIISA qualification by examination.
  3. Have not less than 5 continuous years of practical experience as a loss adjuster.

They must also have complied with the CPD requirement and they should have completed the renewal application.

4. Why are experienced loss adjusters important to Consort/the insurance industry?

Consort’s products are considered complex. The claims we receive may also be of higher value and thus we require more extensive and thorough investigation of received claims. Should we not have experienced skill adjusters, critical or technical elements of a loss may be over-looked, resulting in a potentially incorrect or even biased settlement advice.

5. I’m a loss adjuster, how can I start working with Consort?

When we appoint a loss adjuster the following factors are taken into consideration:

  • An adjuster according to the discipline he is qualified in. For instance electrical, mechanical, civil or electrical engineering or a general adjuster. 
  • A well experienced loss adjuster with general insurance experience to take care of crime class, fire damage and the run of the mill petty losses.
  • The appointment is also made within his area where he resides to safe travel expenses.
  • The adjuster is only to report on the loss itself, the validity, if covered by the respective policy, and potential quantum of the loss. We as underwriters will have the final say when payments or repudiations are to be made. The adjuster will under no circumstances discuss the merit of the claim/s with the client.

Do you have more questions? Are you a loss adjuster and want to work with us? Contact us here and someone from our team will contact you.

Sources

  1. How insurers check-up on you: https://www.iol.co.za/personal-finance/how-insurers-check-up-on-you-2087037
  2. SAQA: https://pcqs.saqa.org.za/showQualification.php?id=61529

Consort Technical Underwriting Managers (Pty) Ltd (Reg No 1999/003909/07) is an Authorised Financial Services Provider (FSP No 2273), is FAIS complaint and is underwritten by Lombard Insurance Company Limited, an Authorised Financial Services Provider (FSP 1596) and Insurer conducting non-life insurance business.


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