A subsidence adjuster is someone who specialises in the investigation, evaluation, and project management of claims for damage caused by subsidence, landslip or heave. Most household insurance policies and a large proportion of commercial property policies will cover buildings for subsidence damage and insurance companies rely on the expertise of specialist subsidence adjusters to handle such claims.
Subsidence adjusting is a mixture of building surveying, structural engineering, geotechnical engineering and loss adjusting. As with a standard property claim, the role is a mixture of office and field work and includes visiting the property where the damage has occurred; meeting and interacting with people from all walks of life; and above all, conducting yourself with professional integrity.
A subsidence adjuster is able to empathise with the customer whilst at the same time applying professional skill and judgement to determine the validity of the insurance claim and decide on appropriate steps to bring the claim to a conclusion. You will need to be able to work on your own initiative as well as part of a team, particularly on larger claims where accountants, lawyers and other technical experts such as arboriculturists, geotechnical engineers, architects, and specialist contractors may be involved.
Subsidence adjusters may come from a range of professional surveying and engineering backgrounds. Typically, practical construction industry experience will have been gained by working in building surveying, engineering, contracting or consulting organisations. A subsidence engineer may already have gained building related professional qualifications with bodies such as IOB, ICE, RICS or I Struct.E.. Development as a loss adjuster will typically take place within a specialist subsidence loss adjusting business, with practical training and experience accumulated in tandem with study for professional qualifications. Progress through CILA qualifications
towards Chartered status will be expected.
As well as being able to understand the significance of cracking to structures, a subsidence adjuster will be capable of carrying out site investigations; determining the cause of damage and policy cover; and specifying remedial work which may include both ground stabilisation and structural repair works. This role naturally demands strong project management skills. As your experience and skills increase there will be greater opportunities and responsibilities, as well as rewards, both financial and in terms of job satisfaction. Attaining CILA qualifications can also lead to opportunities in management roles, specialising in subsidence claims Management, or setting up your own related business.
Application of dual professional skills in both building construction and loss adjusting can also link into other specialist fields such as construction claims, and property adjusting. This brings opportunities for international adjusting roles, especially where there are natural disasters, such as hurricanes or earthquakes.
The handling of subsidence claims is a continuously changing environment and an area where innovation and technology continually evolve, and where an inquisitive engineer will learn something new every day. Resolution of complex and diverse technical problems for both householders and businesses can provide immense job satisfaction.