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Public adjusters and certain other insurance claim-related services are paid by claimants, not insurers. They serve the interests of claimants, mostly policy holders (1st party as opposed to 3rd party claimants); however they are ethically bound to principles of honesty, just as insurers are. In most states, public adjusters must be licensed separately from insurers' adjusters and their contracts and advertising must state "We Represent the Insured only". A typical legal definition for a public adjuster is "an adjuster who, for compensation, acts on behalf of or aids in any manner, an insured in negotiating for or effecting the settlement of a claim or claims for loss or damage under any policy of insurance covering real or personal property." Public adjusters fees are usually a "percentage of the settlement", unlike insurers' adjusters, who work on an hourly or salary basis.

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