What is a public adjuster?

A public adjuster is a professional that works to handle insurance claims on behalf of policyholders. This contrasts with an insurance adjuster who works for the insurance company to determine whether a claim is valid and how much to pay if it is.

When a public adjuster takes up a claim for a client, they will work to ensure that the insurance company pays the damaged party everything they are owed under their insurance policy. They can work in a wide range of industries however they work most frequently with business and property insurance policyholders.

Public adjusters can work as independent adjusters or for an adjusting agency.

What are the qualifications to become a public adjuster?

The qualifications to serve as a public adjuster vary depending on the state. Below are some of the basic requirements that are mandatory in most places:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a resident of the state of the appointment
  • Never have been convicted of a felony
  • Be competent and trustworthy

Most states also require public adjusters to have a high school diploma. While there is not a requirement for postsecondary education, many employers prefer candidates who have a college degree.

Public adjuster surety bonds

Most states require public adjusters to post a surety bond prior to serving any clients. The bonds give extra financial protection to the state and the adjuster’s clients while also ensuring that the adjuster complies with all rules and regulations.

The required bond amount for public adjuster bonds varies by state:

  • Delaware: $20,000
  • Florida: $50,000
  • Georgia: $5,000
  • Hawaii: $10,000
  • Idaho: $20,000
  • Illinois: $20,000
  • Indiana: $10,000
  • Iowa: $20,000
  • Kentucky: $20,000
  • Louisiana: $50,000
  • Minnesota: $10,000
  • Mississippi: $50,000
  • Missouri: $10,000
  • Montana: $5,000
  • Nebraska: $20,000
  • New Hampshire: $20,000
  • New Jersey: $10,000
  • New Mexico: $10,000
  • New York: $1,000
  • North Carolina: $20,000
  • Ohio: $1,000
  • Oklahoma: $10,000
  • Pennsylvania: $20,000
  • Tennessee: $50,000
  • Texas: $10,000
  • Virginia: $50,000
  • Washington: $5,000

In most states, adjusters usually only need to pay between 0.5% and 1% of the total bond value as a premium. Unlike other types of surety bonds, most public adjuster bonds do not require extensive underwriting so you can get bonded quickly without a credit check.

Applying for your public adjuster license

Once you have met your bonding requirement, you’ll want to apply for a public adjuster license. Most states require adjusters to receive a license prior to starting their work. The following states are an exception and do not require public adjuster licenses:

  • Colorado
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Nebraska
  • Iowa
  • Missouri
  • Illinois
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • Pennsylvania
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts

The exact application process will vary depending on the state. Most will require you to complete a pre-licensing education course and pass a knowledge exam to verify that you can perform the job effectively.

Below are some of the other common steps in the application process

  • Completing a background check
  • Submitting copies of your fingerprints
  • Providing business documents (when applying for an agency license)

After you complete all forms and gather all necessary supporting documents you can submit your application to the appropriate regulatory agency. Depending on your location, this will be done online or via mail.

Consider additional certifications

While not required, many public adjusters get additional certifications to further their knowledge and boost their credibility to potential clients.

Two of the most common professional certifications for public adjusters are the Certified Professional Adjuster (CPPA) and Senior Professional Public Adjuster (SPPA) designations. Both of these certifications are offered by the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters.

Public adjuster license frequently asked questions

How do you renew a public adjuster license?

All public adjuster licenses are valid for a two-year period. The process for renewing your license will vary depending on the state. Most states will require you to complete a certain amount of continuing education courses during the license period.

How does a public adjuster get paid?

Public adjusters normally charge their clients a percentage of the amount the insurance company ultimately pays to cover their claim. Oftentimes, there is a maximum nominal amount that the fee can reach.

How EZ Surety Bonds can help with a public adjuster license

These are the steps you need to take to become a public adjuster. When you are ready to begin working, EZ Surety Bonds can help make sure you get a smooth start with our quick and affordable online bonding service. Apply now and get your bond today.