The Best Guide on How to Become an Insurance Adjuster in 2021
TLTR: This blog shows you how to become an insurance adjuster. Find out what job-specific responsibilities it has, its types, and the necessary skills you need.
A career in the insurance industry is very lucrative. 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. You don’t always have to stick to selling insurance policies. There are additional career prospects, such as becoming an insurance claims adjuster.
Many people, including insurance agents and 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.
In this blog
- What is an Insurance Adjuster?
- Responsibilities of An Insurance Adjuster
- What Are the Types of Insurance Claims Adjusters?
- Insurance Claims Adjuster vs. Insurance Claims Examiner
- How To Become an Insurance Adjuster?
- Essential Skills for An Insurance Adjuster
- In Conclusion,
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Insurance Adjuster?
The insurance industry consists of departments that have authority over insurance companies. An insurance claims adjuster’s primary role is to investigate insurance claims and determine insurance companies’ liability in relevant situations. Additionally, insurance claims adjusters may ensure insurance claims are legitimate and decide an appropriate amount for claim settlements.
Since claims happen daily, the people fitting the criteria for insurance adjuster jobs are in high demand. In the insurance industry, people make claims every day. According to Bankrate, just from a collision point of view, 5.9 claims are filed for one vehicle if a company insured it for 100 vehicle years in the U.S., with an average cost of $3,247.
So, in that regard, insurance claims adjusters contribute to this growth in the insurance sector by analyzing insurance policies, planning for efficient service delivery while managing insurance claims.
Responsibilities of An Insurance Adjuster
As mentioned before, one of the primary responsibilities of an insurance adjuster is to oversee insurance claims and the legitimacy of said claims. But along with those, adjusters have various other duties based on the insurance company they work for. They are required to know almost everything about their insurance company and the lines of insurance they are selling.
For example, if an adjuster is working for an insurance company that primarily deals in homeowners insurance claims, they must know specific details. These include knowledge about real estate, housing, and construction. Such information is vital to an adjuster as it helps them better investigate and evaluate the damage claims. Let’s look into their additional responsibilities a bit more.
Once a claim has been filed, insurance adjusters have to inspect the damaged property or personal injury. 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.
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 works, lawyers, engineers, or relevant professionals to get an expert’s view to understand the situation that is the cause of the claim.
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 then later examined to help determine the amount to be paid by the insurer.
As adjusters conduct their inspection, they also have the following responsibilities during and after a claims process:
- Ensure the legitimacy of claims
- Decide the claims amount
- Consult with legal personnel for the claims process
- Negotiate settlements with policyholder
- Authorize claims payment
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. The first insurance claims adjuster is the insurance company as a whole, as there is a department for this role within each firm. In other words, insurance companies have departments for property insurance claims adjusters and life insurance claims adjusters.
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 of adjusters is 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 coming back time after time. Insurance claim adjusters go through additional training than insurance claims examiners to do this job effectively. These 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. These types of adjusters 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, however, works for insureds and policyholders. They’re mostly sought out by clients when insureds or any business come across an unfair claims settlement. For example, suppose you suffer a mishap in your home, and your insurance company denies an adequate claims amount. In that case, you can enlist the help of a public adjuster to take your case in a legal direction and appeal on your behalf.
Insurance Claims Adjuster vs. Insurance Claims Examiner
The primary responsibility of insurance claims adjusters is to make sure the insurance company pays the insurance policyholder the appropriate amount for their insurance claim. An insurance claims adjuster’s primary role is to investigate insurance claims to determine an insurance company’s liability in particular situations. They may ensure that insurance claims are legitimate and decide a fair and appropriate amount for the claim settlement.
Claims examiners are more about bookkeeping, but insurance claims adjusters need to empathize with insurance policyholders to do this job well. For example, insurance claims adjusters have to deal with upset victims, insurance companies delaying claims, or insurance claims for victims of insurance company negligence.
The workplace for an adjuster is generally the claims division in an insurance company. While insurance companies have claims departments, examiners work outside of these divisions to ensure that their insurance claim information is accurate and up-to-date.
On the other hand, claims adjusters usually work full-time for an insurance company as part of the claims division. 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 step:
Meet the Minimum Education Requirements
Generally, the insurance industry requires individuals to have at least a high school diploma or a GED equivalent in educational background. Most entry-level insurance adjuster jobs do not require a bachelor’s degree or higher. However, if you have a relevant higher education applicable to the insurance industry, you would stand out and potentially get a head start compared to other applicants.
Decide On What Type of Insurance Adjuster You Want to Be
As mentioned before, 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, you’re 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 for them to be certified. The licensing requirements tend to vary by state. If you’re looking to become an adjuster, knowing what requirements you need to fulfill depending on your state of operation would be beneficial. You can check your state’s licensing requirements via the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR).
Furthermore, you can prepare for the licensing exam via insurance adjuster courses. Such courses can be subscribed 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 continuation education (CE) courses from the course providers such as Kaplan Financial. Keep in mind that each state will have different license maintaining requirements. Do check with your state regarding them. Also, regular license renewals are part of maintaining your adjuster license.
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 be better at.
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, it would be best if you learned how to manage your time effectively.
As an insurance adjuster, you will interact with various people daily. Communication should be done either verbally or in written form. Whether it’s clients, other insurance professionals, or insurance companies involved in a claim, you will need to communicate with them effectively. By communicating clearly, you can inform all related parties of any developments related to the claim. If you fail to create a good flow of information, the chances are that there can be misunderstandings and arguments between the involved parties. So, as an adjuster, good communication skills are very important.
Attention To Detail
Adjusters work with vital information related to insurance claims. And the claims tend to have small to big details that are of prime importance. Sometimes these tiny bits of details can get overlooked. As an adjuster, you will need to have the habit of being analytical, detail-oriented, 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. And having attention to detail can be extremely vital in such scenarios.
Technology is an integral part of our personal and professional life. And in the insurance industry, most tasks are done with the help of computers and relevant programs. As an adjuster, you need to be well versed or adapt to using electronic devices and computer systems relevant to claims procedures. So, having a tech-friendly attitude and adaptability is essential for any individual looking to become an insurance adjuster.
Becoming an insurance adjuster has its merits if this is the career path, you’re looking for yourself. If you’re the type of person who loves research, investigative tasks, running numbers, and determining claims amounts, you could do well as an adjuster.
Despite the ease you experience while getting into the industry, it doesn’t mean that peaches and rainbows will fill every step you take. 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 someone to get more in-depth information regarding insurance adjuster careers? Well, you’re in luck! Please browse through our agent directory and connect with some of the top insurance professionals working with us.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much do Insurance Adjusters Earn?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage of insurance claims adjusters and examiners, and investigators was $68,270 as of May 2020. The lowest 10 percent of professionals earned less than $41,950, and the highest 10 percent earned upwards of $103,610 annually.
How Long Does It Take to Become an Insurance Adjuster?
If you have a bachelor’s degree or relevant work experience in the insurance industry, it may take you up to 2 to 4 years to become an insurance adjuster. When you first start, you will work under the supervision of an experienced professional and learn the ropes about how an adjuster works.
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