Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


A person appointed or employed to settle or arrange matters that are in dispute; one who determines the amount to be paid on a claim.

An insurance adjuster determines the extent of the insurance company's liability when a claim is submitted. A public adjuster is a self-employed person who is hired by litigants to determine or settle the amount of a claim or debt.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


n. an employee (usually a non-lawyer) of an insurance company or a adjustment firm employed by an insurance company to negotiate an early settlement of a claim for damages against a person, a business or public body (like a city). While a fair and responsible adjuster can serve a real purpose in getting information and evaluating the case for the insurance company, some adjusters try to make a settlement before the injured person has retained an attorney ("don't worry, we'll pay your bills. You don't need an attorney. He'll only confuse things."), get a statement from the injured without counsel, or delay the payout with the promise he/she will negotiate any reasonable demand, and then making an offer of payment that is absurdly low. Some insurance companies try to make the attorney deal with the adjuster which is cheaper than sending the case to defense attorneys. Adjusters also represent the company in approving settlements.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The public adjuster. The friend says that her public adjuster got her so much more money than the company offered.
Rebecca Wheeling, vice president of the National Association of Catastrophe Adjusters, became an adjuster in her mid-30s.
The tools do not replace the need for a claims adjuster, given their domain knowledge and intellectual rigor.
As jobs in the insurance industry go, claims adjusters have a pretty important role to play.
The new law is designed to require disclosure of any relationships or referral fees between the adjusters and the contractor to avoid any inappropriate conflicts of interest.
"The public adjuster, obviously, has to be paid by somebody," said Wayne White, the executive vice president for Farmers Union Mutual in Bryant and a board member of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies.
A public adjuster can determine the potential pitfalls and hurdles of the claim, and potentially make up for losses to exclusions with more accurate damage claims.
For non-catastrophic claims, auditors concluded that policyholders who use public adjusters received a settlement typically worth $9,379 compared to $1,391 for those who did not use one.
Perhaps the crux of the issue is not whether there is or isn't a shortage, but that all the major players affirm there is a changed environment for the claim adjuster.
At the same time, the poll acknowledged two key developments; the emergence of the so-called Toronto new wave (represented by Patricia Rozema's I've Heard the Mermaids Singing and Atom Egoyan's The Adjuster) and the prominence of Quebecois director Denys Arcand, who enjoyed the rare distinction of having two films included in the Top 10.