An Average Adjuster’s role

Why the word ‘Average’? Are we average? Absolutely not! The word ‘Average’ is thought to derive from a technical term out of the common Italian word ‘avere’ meaning the ‘having of property’. 


Average Adjusters are expert in the law and practice of general average and marine insurance. They prepare claims under marine insurance policies which generally involve loss or damage to marine craft, their cargoes or freight. They may also be called upon to prepare statements of claim against third parties and to deal with the division of recoveries from third parties.

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General Average is a particular area of expertise and is unique to the marine world. The principal behind general average is that when the property (ship, cargo, bunkers, freight etc) involved in a maritime adventure is in peril, any extrordinary sacrifice or expenditure that is voluntarily and  reasonably made or incurred in order to save that property is defined as a general average loss. All parties involved in the marine adventure will then pay a ratable contribution towards that general average loss. These days, the majority of contracts for the carriage of goods by sea state that general average should be adjusted in accordance with the York Antwerp Rules.  Average Adjusters are usually instructed to collect general average security, and also salvage security, and to prepare general average statements and to assist in effecting settlements thereunder.

Average Adjusters may be appointed by any party involved in a marine claim. However, irrespective of the identity of that party, the Average Adjuster is bound to act in an impartial and independent manner.

The Association of Average Adjusters promotes professional standards and correct principles in the adjustment of marine claims by ensuring, through examination or otherwise, that those entering into membership possess a high level of expertise.

It aims to achieve uniformity of practice amongst Average Adjusters by providing a forum for discussion and by establishing rules of practice where necessary. It ensures the independence and impartiality of its fellows/associates by imposing a strict code of professional conduct.

For further information see the Association's website:

© Harvey Ashby Limited 2019