How Do I Become an Insurance Adjuster?

Research what it takes to become an insurance adjuster. Learn about education and licensure requirements, job duties and salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Risk Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Insurance Adjuster?

Insurance adjusters manage the claims process by examining damaged property to help determine the amount an insurance company should pay. In addition, they must examine the insurance policy itself to determine whether the damage is covered. They also may conduct interviews with physicians, lawyers, construction workers, and other experts if they need more information about how to handle the claim. They then negotiate the settlement amount, handle any disputes, and authorize payments of the insurance. Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field.

Education Required High school diploma; bachelor's degree preferred
Training Required Most train in the small-claims department
Licensure Required Licensure or certification required in some states
Key Responsibilities Initiate and manage claims process, negotiate settlements, determine and ensure payment
Job Growth (2014-2024) 3% (for all claims adjusters, examiners and investigators)*
Average Salary (2015) $64,300 (for all claims adjusters, examiners and investigators)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Training for Insurance Adjusters

Education and training requirements for adjusters vary by employer. The minimum requirement is a high school diploma, though insurance companies typically prefer applicants who have college degrees or insurance experience. A specific degree isn't required, but your major may affect the field of insurance in which you will work. A degree in business administration, for example, may be beneficial for an adjuster who works with businesses claiming financial losses.

After you gain employment, you'll start off in the small-claims section while learning the ropes. You'll be overseen by an experienced adjuster until you're ready to handle claims on your own. You may also receive ongoing training about changes in policies and laws throughout your career.

Will I Need a License?

Some states do require insurance adjusters to hold licensure, though the requirements vary. In some states, you may have to obtain adequate education before passing a licensing exam. In other states, you can obtain certification in lieu of a license. Adjusters who are employed directly by insurance companies may not need to obtain licensure if they work under their employer's license. Self-employed adjusters may be subject to more stringent licensing requirements.

Common Responsibilities

As an insurance adjuster, you'll manage claims made by the people your employing company insures. The process starts when you receive notice of a claim being made by an insured client for losses suffered. You begin by opening a file and gathering facts. This can entail examining damaged property or interviewing the claimant and other involved parties, such as police, contractors and medical personnel. Once this information is gathered, you will determine how much your employer should pay, verify that your company covers the claim and write up a report.

If a claim is covered, you'll then negotiate a settlement with the person who is insured and make sure that person gets paid. Occasionally, problems with a claim result in a lawsuit. As the adjuster, you'll assist the legal team that works with your company in preparation for any court proceedings. After the issue is resolved, you may be responsible for ensuring payment on the claim.

Where Will I Work?

Most insurance adjusters work in office settings and are employed directly by insurance companies; however, some adjusters work from their own homes. Adjusters are occasionally required to travel in order to personally inspect damage to homes or properties. After gaining experience, some insurance adjusters start their own firms and work as public adjusters on behalf of people claiming benefits from an insurance policy.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

You may also be interested in a career as an insurance sales agent or insurance broker. These professionals are responsible for selling health, home, property, auto and other insurance policies to individuals. While a bachelor's degree is preferred for these careers, you may be able to break into the field with only a high school diploma or its equivalent. Licensure is also required. If you enjoy the appraisal process, you may want to consider a career as a real estate and property appraiser. These people visit homes and properties to estimate the overall value before it is sold. A bachelor's degree is the common academic requirement for this career.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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