ConsumerInfo about Insurance

Who’s who – and what do they do?

By Sally Praskey, Editor, Insurance Canada ConsumerInfo

It helps to know the main players, so here's a brief primer to help you understand who does what in an insurance company and brokerage.

Actuary – an employee of the insurance company who prices future risks by applying mathematical models to problems of insurance and finance; in other words, develops models to evaluate the financial implications of uncertain future events.

Adjuster – a person who investigates and settles claims on behalf of the insurance company. The adjuster may be either an employee of the company or an independent contractor hired by the company. Less common are public adjusters, who represent the interests of the homeowner or business owner following a property loss, and are paid a percentage of the insurance settlement by the consumer.

Claims handler/examiner – an employee of the insurance company who looks after your claim. This person is supervised by a claims manager.

Customer service representative (CSR) – an employee of the insurance brokerage or company who assists in handling requests from clients and other duties that must be performed. This person is not the same as an insurance broker, who must be licensed (although many CSRs are also licensed).

Underwriter – an employee of the insurance company who decides whether or not the company should accept a particular risk; for example, your house or your life insurance application. The term "underwriter" can also refer to the company. For example: "Company XYZ is the underwriter of that insurance policy."

(Also see "How insurance is sold," to find out the four main channels through which insurance is sold, and the difference between an agent and a broker.)