Service comes bottom of the list of priorities when placing business with a loss adjuster, according to a survey of 60 insurance companies.

The research also found that only 50% of insurers described themselves as "very satisfied" with the service they were receiving from loss adjusters. A shocking 62% said they expected adjusters' services to deteriorate due to recent panel alterations.

Insurance claims managers said that their main concern in selecting a loss adjuster was industry track record, followed by expertise, then price, and finally service.

Bizarrely, only 17% of insurers said that a loss adjuster's reputation in the market was "critical" to their decision-making when choosing a firm.

The main impetus is on how fast the loss adjuster can get the job done with 53% of the total surveyed saying the speed of reporting was crucial to the selection process.

Only 27% of claims managers placed particular emphasis on a firm's ability to deliver interim or progress reports on investigations and just ten per cent were concerned about the financial security of the firm they employ.

The survey, carried out on behalf of loss adjuster PCS, also found that only 20% of insurance companies expect a loss adjuster to offer rehabilitation services following personal injury. That's an issue which will have to change if the industry's newly-declared code of practice in the area is to succeed.

The majority of the insurers surveyed – 60% – said they would be prepared to look at new firms while 43% said they had a panel of three or fewer loss adjusters.

PCS spokesman Marc Donfrancesco described the attitude of insurers to service as "quite sad".

"It speaks for itself. There are only so many insurers in this market so to get hold of 60 of them makes for quite a meaningful sample," he added.