The Missouri Department of Insurance is warning Joplin-area residents they may be approached by companies illegally offering to negotiate their insurance claims for them. To represent a consumer in negotiations with an insurance company, an individual must have a license as a public adjuster with the Department of Insurance. Consumers with challenges to their homeowners insurance claims may be vulnerable to companies that are unscrupulous or operating illegally in the state. These companies may call themselves insurance claims specialists or say they can get a home rebuilt better than before at no charge to the homeowner. Before selecting a public adjuster to represent them, consumers should contact the department to verify that the individual is properly licensed by the state.