During any insurance claim, the policyholder is responsible for handling communication with the insurance company, working with the claims adjuster, even negotiating the claims process. This is a lot considering most policyholders are not insurance experts and are leading busy lives.
This is where an insurance adjuster can help. Becoming an insurance adjuster in Illinois only requires 4 steps. This article will:
- Walk through the each step
- Provide relevant links
- Explain the surety bond requirement
- Help explain the public adjuster contract
The 4 Steps To Obtain An Illinois Public Adjuster License
A public adjuster is an individual who works with insurance policyholders to manage the claim process and secure the "best" claim outcome without going down the legal route.
This includes helping the policyholder with:
- The assessment of damage
- Current policy review
- Preparing and filing claims
- Negotiating with insurance companies
A public adjuster is the advocate for the policyholder and is typically paid a percentage of a successful claim payout.
Getting an Illinois public adjuster license starts with taking the necessary exam.
Step 1: Pass The Illinois Public Adjuster Examination
The exam is administered through Pearson Vue. Public adjuster exams are only allowed to be taken at a testing center. No online exams are offered.
Public adjusters are not required to provide proof of a pre-education requirement to take the exam.
- If you fail the exam the first time you must wait 7 days to take it again.
- If you fail again, you must wait 30 days before you can take the exam again.
Step 2: Complete The Application
The National Insurance Producer Registry is used to submit the application and gather the necessary paperwork.
There is a $250 licensing fee that must be paid by electronic funds transfer (EFT) during the application process.
During the application you will be required to submit electronic copies of:
- Financial responsibility
- The Public Adjuster Contract
Step 3: Secure The Required Documentation
What is Evidence of Financial Responsibility?
Illinois requires "evidence of financial responsibility" in the form of a surety bond or an irrevocable line of credit in the amount of $50,000.
This is a sum of money the Illinois Department of Insurance requires every Public Adjuster to provide for the protection of their customers.
It's unfortunate, but there are public adjusters who will purposefully commit acts of fraud and misconduct to profit from a customer's situation.
Purposeful acts of misconduct may include:
- Charging exorbitant fees for successful claims
- Falsely recommending a customer to increase claims for high commissions
- Lying to customer or insurance companies to extract high claim payouts
The required $50,000 is available to customers who have been financially harmed by a public adjuster.
There are two ways to provide the $50,000.
What is an Irrevocable Line of Credit
An irrevocable line of credit is a guarantee for a payment issued by a bank which cannot be canceled during the time the public adjuster license is active.
To secure a line of credit you typically have to pay the full $50,000 upfront to be held by the bank. This is not a viable option for most people.
What is a Surety Bond?
A surety bond is a type of insurance you purchase to provide the $50,000 or required protection for your customers.
Like "typical" insurance, the $50,000 amount is called the bond amount. And to purchase a bond with this amount, you only pay a small fraction of the bond amount.
How To Purchase an Illinois Public Adjuster Surety Bond?
Surety Bonds Direct is a specialized surety agency who helps our customers pay the lowest possible prices for surety bonds.
In the case of the Illinois public adjuster bond, we have secured low fixed prices to satisfy the $50,000 bond requirement.
At the time of writing, the prices are:
- $200 for a 1 year bond term
- $350 for a 2 year bond term
- $500 for a 3 year bond term
You can purchase your bond for a one, two, or three year bond term. A bond term is how long your surety bond remains active before you need to renew it.
By purchasing your public adjuster bond for a longer bond term, you save 17% on the cost. After you purchase your bond, Surety Bonds Direct will complete the form with the appropriate seals and signatures required by Illinois and emailed to you within one business day for your signature.
How To Renew an Illinois Public Adjuster Bond?
Renewing a public adjuster bond is easy. As your renewal period approaches, your bond specialist will reach out to you 30 to 45 days in advance to ensure you don't miss your renewal date.
All you need to do is pay the renewal premium and your bond will remain active for the bond term you select. And because of the low fixed prices, renewing is extremely fast.
Please note that the $50,000 bond amount is required as of January 1, 2024. If you have an existing bond for the $20,000 previous requirement, you’ll need to get a new surety bond instead of renewing your $20,000 bond.
Provide a Public Adjuster Contract
The Illinois Department of Insurance provides a template document you can use during the application process.
This contract is the contract you will use with your customer after your license has been issued.
Click here to find these contract templates. They are at the bottom of the page. The Department of Insurance also provides contract checklists beyond the template.
Getting your contract approved is a separate approval process from your license. You can't enter into any contract with a customer until your contract has been approved and your license has been issued.
Step 4: Submit Application and Complete Background Check
Before your license can be issued, you must submit your fingerprints through an approved Illinois live scan vendor.
Once the results of the scan have been received by the Department of Insurance, they can complete the issuance process.
Let Surety Bonds Direct Help You Purchase Your Illinois Public Adjuster Bond
I hope this article helped make the steps to get your Illinois public adjuster license and bond easy to understand.
Hopefully, you understand what a surety bond is and why it's the most cost effective way to satisfy the $50,000 financial responsibility requirement. Plus, you can instantly purchase your bond today and get it issued within one business day.
If you have any questions about the bond that were not covered in this article, call one of our bond specialists at 1-800-608-9950.