An insurance surveyor is a professional who surveys buildings, machinery, sites and other items. There is insurance survey and damage survey. The surveyor can be an individual or a company who specialize in one or two types of insurance because of the complexity of their work. They can be licensed to handle mainly non-life insurance of all or some of the following-:
- Theft and burglary
- Property and liability
- Fire and perils
They inspect and assess items to be insured in order to advice underwriters what type of insurance is necessary before coverage is issued. The premium to be charged depends on the risks involved and the condition of the property, asset or site. An insurance surveyor is hired by the insurance company to inspect the property and assess its condition before issuing insurance. The surveyor writes detailed reports which agents use to set-up terms and conditions of the policies. He will advise whether to insure and which improvements will need to be carried out in order to reduce the risks.
A surveyor will inspect a residential or a commercial building and check its condition and whether it poses a danger of loss to those who live in the building and those nearby. He will check the structure, the electrical system and other risk hazards that the building poses and advice on improvements. The surveyor may be an architect, engineer or another expert who will advise the insurer whether the risks the building poses are acceptable within the insurer's terms and conditions. When underwriting insurance the insurer will charge premiums based on the surveyor's report. If the building poses high risks of loss the premiums will be high.
A surveyor will also conduct damage survey of damaged items and properties when a claim is lodged. He will inspect the condition of the building, machinery, equipment, boat, ship or other items after theft, vandalism or fire then assess the repair costs. He will advise the replacement value or actual cash value if the asset is stolen. When the asset is fully destroyed, the salvage value will be calculated. He will include his findings in a report which will be used when settling the claim. The claim details will be compared with the survey report and the claim is settled. The insurance company indemnifies the policyholders and puts them in the same financial position they were in before the loss or damage.
In marine insurance the surveyor will inspect the condition of boats, yachts, ships and other vessels to advice the underwriter whether the asset is worth insuring and at how much. He will also assess a vessel after it has been involved in an accident, theft or burglary and report how much should be compensated to the owner depending on the cost of repairs or the net market value. When a claim is lodged the surveyor will verify the amount of benefits to be paid which will depends on the inspection and assessment findings.