When you want to become a claims adjuster, you need to have the right qualifications. This position is often referred to as an insurance adjuster, as well. There are different types of claims adjusters and a few different requirements you might need to fulfill.
According to investopedia.com, a claims adjuster is someone that investigates insurance claims. Their job is to determine the liability of the insurance company. As a claims adjuster, you might handle property claims, liability claims, or other types of insurance claims.
If you’re interested in learning how to become a claims adjuster, you should start by understanding this career. Let’s look at the job duties and the steps necessary to become a claims adjuster.
Job Duties of a Claims Adjuster
As a claims adjuster, you will investigate claims made when an accident or damage occurs. Your main job is determining how much liability the insurance company has in a specific situation. You will also ensure that an insurance claim is legitimate and a fair claim settlement is recommended.
Claims adjusters may work in any type of insurance including property, automobile, life, or health. Some of the common job duties include:
- Interviewing those making the claim and those the claim is made against
- Interviewing witnesses if there was an accident or damage occurred
- Gathering information from the police, medical facilities, and any other reports related to the insurance claim
- Gathering information that undermines or supports the claim including records, pictures, or statements
- Figuring out the liability of the insurance company based on the policy and the claim being made
- Creating a comprehensive report for the insurance company
- Notifying those involved about the claims decision
It’s common for a claims adjuster to work directly with individual claims related to automobile, life, health, or property insurance.
How To Become a Claims Adjuster in 4 Steps
Step #1 – Get Your High School Diploma or GED
You will need a high school diploma or GED to become a claims adjuster. While you may not need any type of college degree, a high school education will be required.
Step #2 – Choose Your Career Path
There are three types of claims adjusters detailed later in this article. Before you take the next step into this type of career you want to choose which path you will take. This will help you better understand the necessary requirements for your new career.
Step #3 – Pass the Licensing Exam
Several states require claims adjusters to get an insurance adjusting license. If you live in a state requiring you to take an exam to get a license, this will be your next step. You will need to complete a pre-licensing course, first.
Many courses are offered online or in the classroom. You can take the course online, from the comfort of your home, to prepare for the exam. Make sure you understand the requirements of your state before you sign up for a pre-licensing course.
Step #4 – Keep Your License Up-to-Date
After you’ve earned your insurance adjuster license, you will need to keep it up-to-date. Most states require regular renewal with continuing education credits. You may need to meet these requirements every few years, depending on your state.
Three Common Types of Claims Adjusters
1. Public Claims Adjuster
A public claims adjuster will work with policyholders directly. This type of claims adjuster is hired when a business or person doesn’t feel likely they are getting a fair insurance settlement. This could be due to a car accident or any other type of claim.
If you become a public claims adjuster, you will help those that feel likely they are not getting what they are owed. Insurance companies may try to settle a claim for less than what they should. In this case, you will fight on behalf of your clients as a public claims adjuster to get what’s owed.
2. Independent Claims Adjuster
As an independent claims adjuster, you will work as a contractor for more than one insurance company. You may also work for third-party organizations. Independent claims adjusters are hired directly and will perform an investigation for their clients.
It’s common for this type of claims adjuster to work with catastrophe-related claims. These may include claims made due to natural disasters or fires. This type of claims adjuster will likely travel to the area where the disaster occurred.
3. Staff Claims Adjuster
The most common type of claims adjuster is a staff claims adjuster. If you go into this career, you will work directly with an insurance company as an employee. You will perform claims management for your employer and likely work full-time. Most staff claims adjusters are salaried and receive benefits from their employer.
Commonly, this type of claims adjuster will work with an auto insurance company. They will oversee claims made when an automobile accident occurs.
Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Claims Adjuster
How much can I make as a claims adjuster?
According to Indeed.com, the average salary for a claims adjuster is about $51K per year. With more experience, this salary can go up to about $60K per year. Some top employers pay more than $70K for claims adjusters, however.
Your actual salary will also depend on where you work. Columbus, Ohio is the highest-paid location for claims adjusters with an average salary of around $76K per year. Tampa, Atlanta, and San Antonio are the next highest, but all three are significantly lower than Columbus.
What type of skills can help me make more as a claims adjuster?
If you want to earn a higher salary as a claims adjuster, the most important skills include typing and time management. Both of these skills can give you a bump in your salary. Good customer service skills, auto estimating, and construction estimating are also skills that can earn you a higher salary as a claims adjuster.
What type of employee benefits do claims adjusters receive?
If you work as a staff claims adjuster for an insurance company, you will likely earn benefits. These may include working from home, health insurance, a 401(k), employee matching, employee stock purchase plan, paid time off, and more. Some employers offer an on-site gym and other benefits.
Are claims adjuster jobs considered entry-level?
Yes. As a claims adjuster, you will be an entry-level employee for an insurance company. This type of job is usually found through career websites and you will need to meet the necessary requirements. It can be a career choice that leads to a higher-up position in an insurance company.
Do I need a license to become a claims adjuster?
In most states, yes, you will need a license to become a claims adjuster. However, there are some states that don’t require a license including:
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
All other states require claims adjusters to become licensed.
What type of hours do claims adjusters work?
If you work as a staff claims adjuster, you will likely work a common 9 to 5, 40-hour workweek. However, if you work as an independent or public claims adjuster, you will likely work irregular hours. You will need to plan around your client’s schedule, which can mean working nights and weekends, some of the time.
Public and independent claims adjusters usually work about 40 hours per week. However, it’s possible to work overtime in this type of career.
Is this a high-demand career?
No. If you want to become a claims adjuster, you’re entering a career field that is in decline. The job outlook for the next ten years has this field declining by about 6%. While this isn’t a huge change, the trend may continue.
The biggest reason for the decline is new technology. Technology has helped to automate some of the processes, which allows claims adjusters to do more in less time. This means insurance companies don’t need as many claims adjusters as they once did.
What type of advancement opportunities are available for a claims adjuster?
Many claims adjusters will move up and become senior claims adjusters. They may also become claims managers or move up to a higher-level management position. Usually, it will take five or more years of experience to gain a promotion in this field.
How long will it take me to become a claims adjuster?
You don’t need a college degree to work as a claims adjuster. Even in a state requiring a license, you can enter into this career within about one month.
If you want to enter the insurance industry, but you don’t want to become an agent, becoming a claims adjuster is a good option. This entry-level career pays rather well for an entry-level job. It’s also a good path to take to advance to a higher-level position.
Now that you know how to become a claims adjuster, it’s up to you to make the right decision. Entering a new career can be scary, but also very rewarding. Use the steps above and you can enjoy a career as an insurance claims adjuster in no time.