A claims adjuster is the person that evaluates an insurance claim to assess the damage and calculate the appropriate settlement. A claims adjuster can be involved in cases that deal with home, auto, injury, and other types of insurances. For example, a claims adjuster on a home insurance case may visit a house that has been damaged and estimate how much money the repairs would cost. This occupation requires knowing the policies and procedures that affect each claim. Adjusters analyze company policies in order to determine coverage applicability, and the coverage amount. Since every case is a little different, an adjuster can expect to handle lots of paperwork, and to read a wide variety of legal documents. For success in this field, knowledge of the law is a must! Adjusters may even be required to go to court and provide an assessment of the damages in question.
Independent Adjuster – Works for several companies at a time and takes cases as they come. This job may require frequent travel.
Staff Adjuster – Works for one company as a salaried employee.
Public Adjuster – Typically works on a percentage or fee basis. Public adjusters are hired to ensure the receipt of fair and adequate compensation from an insurance company.
For example, if a person’s house is damaged due to a fire, the insurance company typically gives them a settlement; however, this settlement may be too low. In this case, a public adjuster would look at the damage to the house and provide a detailed report on how much the client should actually receive and why. Public adjusters help people get the most out of a settlement, what they deserve!
General Liability Adjuster – Determines both who is at fault, and whether the claim is covered by the policy.
For example, if a person gets injured in front of someone’s house, the adjuster would determine if the injury occurred due to the homeowner’s negligence, and also if the policy would cover that type incident. Extensive knowledge of policy is very important for this type of adjuster.
Property/Casualty Adjuster – Investigates and assesses property damage. These adjusters determine whether a replacement, or a repair, is the better way to go.
Auto Adjusters – Investigate automobile claims to determine the person at fault, the extent of the damage, and the cost of repairs. Auto adjusters may also assess injuries resulting from automobile accidents. Thorough knowledge of vehicles and traffic laws are an absolute must!
Auto and Truck Appraisers – Assess vehicle collisions and determine exactly what types of repairs are needed and how much those repairs would cost. Auto and truck appraisers also determine whether a vehicle is a total loss or if it is worth repairing. If the car is a total loss, the adjuster calculates the “fair market value” of the car that the insurance company will have to pay out.
Workers' Compensation Adjusters – Investigate workplace injuries to determine the employer’s pay out for medical bills and the employer’s length of time to pay for lost wages. These adjusters also determine the severity of the injuries, and the entity, or person, at fault.
There are several certifications that a Claims Adjuster can pursue. A claims adjuster can become CAT (catastrophe) certified. The CAT would be great for an adjuster that would be interested in working in areas that have been devastated by a natural catastrophe. Other attainable certifications for adjusters are the Flood Certification and the Earthquake Certification.
It is necessary for an adjuster to be able to multitask. On any given day, an adjuster will be working on several cases, while dealing with several other claim issues, all at once! Excellent time management and organizational skills are also a must. Communication skills are especially important, as an adjuster will be working with all types of people. As part of having strong communication skills, claim adjusters need to be able to translate policies and procedures to clients that may have a difficult time understanding the claim process.
Another requirement for this occupation is thorough knowledge of insurance policy. Every decision of whether or not a payout has to occur, and the amount of the payout, is based on policy. Adjusters need to make sure payouts fit in line with the policies and procedures of the insurance company. Adjusters should also have a good understanding of the law in order to make sure they are working in a legal and ethical manner. Knowledge of the law is also required for adjusters who provide testimony and data in court. Reading legal documents without knowledge of the law will be far too difficult for success in this field. Adjusters should also be very good at taking notes and maintaining documentation. Documentation creates a safety net for adjusters should they need to defend their actions when an issue in a case arises.
An adjuster typically learns on the job. There are several courses both onsite and online that can be taken. Big companies will typically train adjusters as they progress through their career. Texas is generally one of the better states to get certified in, as the Texas certification is accepted in most states relative to other certifications. It is generally recommended to be certified in your home state and Texas. It is good to be certified in Texas as Texas has stricter requirements the certification is accepted in most other states.
This is typically a 9-5 job but the hours can vary depending on the line of work. Being physically fit is beneficial for an adjuster as adjusters will typically travel to sites and take notes regarding claims. Adjusters will typically deal with people when they have suffered great loss so it is important to have patience. People will sometimes be extremely angry and it is an adjuster’s responsibility to remain professional. Every day will be different. This is good for people who want to be doing something different on a regular basis, as each claim is a little different.
Total Employment: 282,030
Mean Annual Wage: $66,340
Media Annual Wage: $64,900
Top 5 Highest Paying States
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Top 5 States with Highest Employment
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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov)
This is a great career for someone who wants to be challenged and deal with different things on a regular basis. There is always something new to learn. Adjusters also have a lot of job mobility. As an adjuster gains experience they can typically handle more cases and get paid more. There are also many different career opportunities available.
As stated above, adjusters must have patience. This career isn’t for someone that gets angry or irritated easily. The career may be too hectic for some people who prefer a set schedule and expect the same things on a regular basis.
Overall a claims adjuster is a great career. It offers great compensation and a lot of job mobility. If an adjuster gets tired of one area they can always move to a different area of the field. Insurance claims happen in every state so an adjuster will be able to find a job wherever they want. The job may be stressful at times but it is extremely rewarding. Adjuster’s help people get the money they deserve so that they can move on with their lives. This job gets a 9.3/10 on the NoDegree scale.
Helpful Links and References
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If you are interested in becoming a claims adjuster, this book is a must read. Timothy Fitzpatrick goes over a lot of helpful information and gives great insight into what it takes ton be a claims adjuster and what they do on a regular basis.
If you have already decided that a claims adjuster is what you want to be, then read this book to make sure you get the negotiation basics down. This book is also a great book for the basics of negotiation.
This set contains 4 books. If you are dead set on becoming a claims adjuster, buy this set. It has 4 books. In addition to the 2 books listed above, there is also a book titled 'Resume & Interviews" and "Property Adjusting". The books are a great value and will definitely set you apart from other candidates looking to enter the field.