The Best Guide on How to Become an Insurance Adjuster in 2021

TLTR: This article explains the basics of how to become an insurance adjuster. Find out what responsibilities the job carries, its types, and the necessary skills you need. 

A career in insurance is an attractive proposition for many. The industry offers newcomers the opportunity to expand their knowledge and earn a decent living. As per Indeed, the average annual salary for insurance agents in the U.S. is $55,860.  

But becoming an insurance agent isn’t the only career option in the industry. There are additional prospects, such as becoming an insurance claims adjuster. 

Many people, including agents and independent insurance brokers, don’t realize that insurance claims adjusters exist. The insurance industry offers coverage for nearly any type of risk which the public may face. And adjusters are such professionals that help with this process.

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What is an Insurance Adjuster?

An insurance adjuster’s primary job is to investigate insurance claims and determine insurance companies’ liability in relevant situations. Insurance claims adjusters investigate whether insurance claims are legitimate and decide on an appropriate amount for claim settlements. 

Candidates fitting the criteria for insurance adjuster jobs are in high demand. In the insurance industry, people make claims every day. According to Bankrate, just looking at auto insurance, 5.9 claims would be filed for one vehicle if a company insured it for 100 years in the U.S., with an average cost of $3,247. 

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Responsibilities of An Insurance Adjuster

Besides overseeing insurance claims and determining their legitimacy, adjusters have various other important duties. They are required to know almost everything about their insurance company and the lines of insurance they sell.  

If an adjuster is working for an insurance company that primarily deals in homeowners insurance claims, they must have the requisite knowledge to do the job. This includes details concerning real estate, housing, and construction. Such information is vital to an adjuster as it’s necessary for them to be able to investigate and evaluate damage claims. Let’s take a closer look at their responsibilities. 

Property Inspection

Once a claim has been filed, insurance adjusters have to inspect the damaged property and/or look into personal injuries. The property for inspection can be a home, business, vehicle, or insured goods. The assessment allows them to calculate the amount of the claims that the insurance company will pay.

Conducting Interviews

During the inspection process, adjusters also need to interview the clients, law enforcement personnel, or potential witnesses to help with their investigation. They can talk to the client to hear their side of the story or any employees, family members, friends, or bystanders to correlate with the client’s story. They may even interview professionals such as construction workers, lawyers, engineers, or other professionals to get an experts view in understanding the situation that is the cause of the claim.

Information Collection

While conducting their inspection and interviews, adjusters have to record the information they find. The report can be in written form or collected through audio, photo, or video means. Once the claims are approved, this information is later reviewed to help determine the amount to be paid by the insurer. 

As adjusters conduct their inspection, they have the following responsibilities during and after the claims process: 

  • Ensure the legitimacy of claims 
  • Decide the claims amount 
  • Consult with legal personnel for the claims process 
  • Negotiate settlements with the policyholder 
  • Authorize claims payments

Note: Most adjusters work in claims related to property, automobile, life, and health insurance. 

What Are the Types of Insurance Claims Adjusters?

There are two significant types of insurance claims adjusters. In a sense, the first insurance claims adjuster type is the insurance company as a whole, as there is a department for this role within each firm. Insurance companies have departments for property insurance claims adjusters and life insurance claims adjusters.   

Each insurance claims department has an entire organizational structure, which includes:  

  • Processors who record insurance claim information  
  • Analysts who decide how much money to pay the insurance policyholder
  • Specialists who investigate property damage or injury  
  • Examiners who review insurance company files

The second type consists of individual insurance claims adjusters. These individuals are insurance company employees who work directly with insurance policyholders to give them the best insurance service possible to keep their clients satisfied and retain their business. Insurance claims adjusters  are also known as staff adjusters. 

In addition to these, there are also independent adjusters and public adjusters. Independent adjusters are insurance professionals that work on a contract basis for various insurance companies. They have the same responsibilities as any other adjuster, but they work primarily with claims related to natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, and fires.  

A public adjuster works for insureds and policyholders. They’re mostly sought out by clients who feel they’ve received an unfair claims settlement from their insurance company. For example, suppose your home is severely damaged in a fire, and your insurance company fails to provide you with an adequate claims amount. In that case, you can enlist the help of a public adjuster who will take your case in a legal direction and appeal on your behalf. 

Insurance Claims Adjuster vs. Insurance Claims Examiner

Adjusters need to empathize with insurance policyholders. They have to deal with upset victims, insurance companies possibly delaying claims, or insurance claims for victims of insurance company negligence. But claims examiners are more hands-off and involved in the bookkeeping process. 

The workplace for an adjuster is generally the claims division in an insurance company, while examiners work outside of these divisions to ensure that their insurance claim information is accurate and up to date. 

Claims adjusters usually work full-time. Some companies may also offer part-time adjuster positions if an examiner is working in the company’s insurance risk department. 

How To Become an Insurance Adjuster?

You can pursue a career as an insurance adjuster by taking the following steps:

Meet the Minimum Education Requirements

Generally, the insurance industry requires individuals to have at least a high school diploma or a GED. Most entry-level insurance adjuster jobs do not require a college degree. However, if you have a relevant degree applicable to the insurance industry, you can stand out and potentially get a head start compared to other applicants. 

Decide On What Type of Insurance Adjuster You Want to Be

As listed above, a few different types of insurance adjusters are available for people interested in the insurance industry. When you make up your mind about becoming a public, independent, or staff adjuster, youre able to set goals for your future career path. If you know what direction you wish to take, you will better understand what to expect while working as that type of adjuster. 

Take An Insurance Licensing Exam

Many states require adjusters to pass a licensing exam in order to be certified. The requirements tend to vary by state. If you’re interested in becoming an adjuster,  you can check your state’s licensing requirements via the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR). 

You can also prepare for the licensing exam via insurance adjuster courses. You can subscribe to these courses via online platforms and course providers such as AdjusterPro, Insurance Schools, and US Career Institute. These courses are short and can be completed within a week, depending on how many hours you’re able to put into studying. 

Maintain Your Insurance Adjuster License

When you have received your insurance adjuster license, you have to maintain your status as an adjuster. You can maintain your license via continuing education (CE) courses from course providers such as Kaplan Financial. Keep in mind that each state will have different license maintaining requirements. Check with your state regarding them. Regular license renewals are part of maintaining your adjuster license. 

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Essential Skills for An Insurance Adjuster

Once you have your license, you will get the chance to prove yourself as an adjuster. And to do so, you will need some important skills. Here are some of the skills insurance adjusters need to have a handle on  

Time Management

Insurance adjusters can end up investigating multiple claims at the same time. And with numerous claims comes the need to set time for tasks related to each claim and complete them efficiently. So good organizational and time-management skills are crucial.

Communication Skills

As an insurance adjuster, you will interact with various people daily. Whether its clients, other insurance professionals, or insurance companies involved in a claim, you will need to communicate with everyone clearly and effectively.  If you fail to create and maintain a good flow of information, the chances are that there will be misunderstandings and disagreements between the parties involved

Attention To Detail

Adjusters work with vital information related to insurance claims. And the claims tend to include details that are of primary importance. Sometimes tiny details can get overlooked. As an adjuster, you will need to be analytical, detailoriented, and skillful enough to spot key information at a moment’s notice. One of the most important tasks of an adjuster is to identify fraudulent claims. Good attention to detail is vital in such scenarios.

Tech-Friendly

Technology is an integral part of our personal and professional life. In the insurance industry, most tasks are done with the help of computers and relevant programs. As an adjuster, you need to be adept at using electronic devices and computer systems relevant to claims procedures. So having a techfriendly attitude is essential.

In Conclusion,

If you think you’re the type of person who would love research, investigative tasks, crunching numbers, and determining claims amounts, you could do well as an adjuster.  

Although it’s easy to get a start in the insurance industry, it doesn’t mean the job will forever be a breeze. You will need to put in the work and sufficient effort to learn how to become an insurance adjuster and excel at it. It’s all about the mindset you have while choosing this job as your career. 

Are you looking for more in-depth information regarding an insurance adjuster careers? Well, you’re in luck! Just browse through our agent directory and connect with some of the top insurance professionals working with us.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Much do Insurance Adjusters Earn?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage of insurance claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators was $68,270 as of May 2020. The lowest 10% of professionals earned less than $41,950, and the highest 10% earned upwards of $103,610 annually. 

How Long Does It Take to Become an Insurance Adjuster?

It’s quicker if you have a bachelor’s degree or relevant work experience in the insurance industry. It may take you about two to four years. When you first start, you will work under the supervision of an experienced professional and learn the ropes. 

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