Washington Public Adjuster Bond: A Comprehensive Guide
This guide provides information for insurance agents to help their customers obtain a Washington Public Adjuster bond
At a Glance:
- Lowest Cost: $100 per year or $10 per month
- Bond Amount: $5,000
- Who Needs It: All public adjusters operating in Washington
- Purpose: To protect insureds from financial harm if the public adjuster commits fraud or withholds claims or settlement funds
- Who Regulates Public Adjusters in Washington: The Office of the Washington Insurance Commissioner
Washington Statute 48.17.060 requires public adjusters operating in the state to obtain a license from the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. The Washington legislature enacted the licensing requirement to ensure that public adjusters do not engage in unethical business practices. To provide financial security for the enforcement of the licensing law, public adjusters must purchase and maintain a $5,000 surety bond to be eligible for licensure.
What is the Purpose of the Washington Public Adjuster Bond?
Washington requires public adjusters to purchase a surety bond as part of the application process to obtain a license. The bond ensures that insureds will receive compensation for financial harm if the public adjuster fails to abide by the regulations outlined in Washington Statute 48.17.430. Specifically, the bond protects insureds if the public adjuster commits fraud or fails to account for all claims/settlement funds received. In short, the bond is a type of insurance that protects insureds if the public adjuster violates licensing law.
How Can an Insurance Agent Obtain a Washington Public Adjuster Surety Bond?
BondExchange makes obtaining a Washington Public Adjuster bond easy. Simply log in to your account and use our keyword search to find the “public adjuster” bond in our database. Don’t have a login? Gain access now and let us help you satisfy your customers’ needs. Our friendly underwriting staff is available by phone at (800) 438-1162, email, or chat from 7:30 AM to 7:00 PM EST to assist you.
At BondExchange, our 40 years of experience, leading technology, and access to markets ensures that we have the knowledge and resources to provide your clients with fast and friendly service whether obtaining quotes or issuing bonds.
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Is a Credit Check Required for the Washington Public Adjuster Bond?
Surety companies will run a credit check on the public adjuster to determine eligibility and pricing for the Washington Public Adjuster bond. Adjusters with excellent credit and work experience can expect to receive the best rates. Adjusters with poor credit may be declined by some surety companies or pay higher rates. The credit check is a “soft hit”, meaning that the credit check will not affect the adjuster’s credit.
How Much Does the Washington Public Adjuster Bond Cost?
The Washington Public Adjuster surety bond can cost anywhere between $100 to $250 per year or $10 to $25 per month. Insurance companies determine the rate based on a number of factors including your customer’s credit score and experience. The chart below offers a quick reference for the approximate bond cost on the $50,000 bond requirement.
$50,000 Public Adjuster Bond Cost
|Credit Score*||Bond Cost (1 Year)||Bond Cost (1 month)|
|600 – 625||$125||$13|
|575 – 599||$150||$15|
|500 – 574||$250||$25|
Who is Required to Purchase the Washington Public Adjuster Bond?
Washington requires public adjusters to purchase a surety bond as a prerequisite to obtaining a business license. To paraphrase Washington Statute 48.17.010, a public adjuster is a person that acts on behalf of or aids insureds in negotiating the settlement of claims for property and casualty insurance contracts.
Exemptions to this definition include:
- Licensed attorneys performing that adjust claims from time to time as part of their normal duties
- Employees or managing general agents (MGAs) of insurers
- Appraisors and umpires acting under the appraisal clause of an insurance contract
BondExchange now offers monthly pay-as-you-go subscriptions for surety bonds. Your customers are able to purchase their bonds on a monthly basis and cancel them anytime. Learn more here.
How Do Public Adjusters Become Licensed in Washington?
Public adjusters in Washington must navigate several steps to obtain a license. Below are the general guidelines, but applicants should refer to the licensing statutes and the state’s licensing page for details on the process.
License Period – Once issued, the Washington Public Adjuster License will expire on the last day of the adjuster’s birth month after having been in effect for at least a year. Subsequent renewals will be due every two years from that date.
Step 1 – Meet the Experience Requirements
Washington requires public adjusters to satisfy at least one of the following experience requirements to be eligible for licensure.
- Have at least 12 consecutive months of experience (part of which in either the current or previous calendar year) working for an insurer or MGA as an adjuster
- Completion of any of the following educational programs:
- Completion of an adjuster trainee program that is at least 960 hours and is supervised by a licensed public adjuster (must submit a notice of intent to participate in a program)
Step 2 – Pass the Exam
Public adjusters must pass a state exam and can register for it here.
Step 3 – Get Fingerprinted
Applicants are required to get their fingerprints taken prior to licensure. More information on how the fingerprinting process can be found here.
Step 4 – Purchase a Surety Bond
Public adjusters must purchase and maintain a $5,000 surety bond.
Step 5 – Complete the Application
All public adjuster license applications should be completed online here.
How do Washington Public Adjusters Renew Their Licenses?
Public adjusters can renew their licenses, and submit their $50 renewal fee, online here. Adjusters must complete 24 hours of continuing education, with three of these hours devoted specifically to ethics, each renewal period.
What are the Insurance Requirements for Public Adjusters in Washington?
Washington does not require public adjusters to purchase any form of liability insurance as a prerequisite to obtaining a license. All public adjusters operating in Washington must purchase and maintain a $5,000 surety bond.
How do Washington Public Adjusters File Their Bonds?
Public adjusters in Washington should submit their completed bond forms, including the power of attorney, electronically when submitting their license applications. The surety bond requires signatures from the surety company and the public adjuster. The surety company should include the following information on the bond form:
- Legal name, city, state, and zip code of the individual buying the bond
- Surety company’s name
- Bond amount
- Date the bond is signed
What Can Washington Public Adjusters Do to Avoid Claims Made Against Their Bonds?
To avoid claims against their bonds, public adjusters in Washington must follow all license regulations in the state, including some of the most important issues below that tend to cause claims:
- Do not commit fraud
- Properly account for and distribute funds owed to clients
For example, if a public adjuster does not provide a client with all claims funds owed to them, the client could file a claim against the adjuster’s bond to recoup their losses.
What Other Insurance Products Can Agents Offer Public Adjusters in Washington?
Most reputable public adjusters will purchase liability insurance. Bonds are our only business at BondExchange, so we do not issue any other types of insurance, but our agents often utilize brokers for this specific line of business. A list of brokers in this space can be found here.
How Can Insurance Agents Prospect for Washington Public Adjusters?
Washington conveniently provides a public database of active public adjusters in the state. Contact BondExchange for additional marketing resources. Agents can also leverage our print-mail relationships for discounted mailing services.