Situation: Some adjusters believe that copyrighting their work will ensure payment from the vendor (adjusting firm).
Problem: Copyrighting your work discloses confidential claim information to the public. Yes, the author/adjuster can claim copyright protection if they are the one who physically creates the work. But in the copyright process, you are disclosing information that the Insured and Carrier likely does not want publically disclosed: private photographs of their house; comments on photographs; I-log comments, recommendations or conclusions. This violates your duties to the Carrier and IA firm.
While you may be able to copyright these documents as the author, an IA firm or Carrier will likely terminate your IA contract when they discover that you are doing this.
IA firm/Carrier solution: While under the "work made for hire" doctrine, the parties can agree that the these materials were created within the scope of the IA employee's employment, this document must be in writing. Does any IA firm include this in their boilerplate, 8 pt type, adhesion employment contract (take it or leave it contract offered to each independent adjuster)?
Potential pitfall: There is one potential pitfall never discussed in the Carrier/IA firm/IA relationship. That is, often field adjusters either train assistants or hire assistants. If this assistant is mistreated by the adjuster, i.e. not paid, harassed, etc., and the field adjuster does not have a written "work made for hire" agreement, then this "assistant" or "trainee" is actually the one in control. This assistant or trainee has no relationship with the carrier. This assistant or trainee has no concerns about confidentiality or potential future work if they are mistreated or not paid by their trainer.
This "trainee" adjuster owns all the work that they have created as the author of the work. This "trainee" can copyright the work without your knowledge. Can you imagine the problems that you would face if you mistreat your "assistant" or "trainee", and that assistant contacts your IA firm or Carrier, and demands the immediate cessation of use of the materials? The wise, and cautious, Carrier will immediately reassign that claim with another IA firm, to ensure that no portions of any claimed "copyrighted material" will be used.
BTW: a copyright notice is not required to be placed upon the distributed copies for it to be copyrighted.
My conclusion: Treat your assistants/trainees fairly, and have a written contract with them that states that you, the adjuster, own all materials created by that trainee or assistant. Also, make sure that you fully pay that trainee, otherwise the trainee can likely claim that the written agreement giving ownership of the materials to the adjuster was not valid because of the failure to pay for them.