How Can I Become a Claims Adjuster?

Research what it takes to become a claims adjuster. Learn about education requirements, job duties and job outlook 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 a Claims Adjuster?

Claims adjusters investigate insurance claims to reach an appropriate settlement for the claimant and the insurance company. As a claims adjuster, you'll be responsible for collecting information, interviewing witnesses, evaluating damage, authorizing payments and writing reports. You'll also be responsible for negotiating and settling claims, as well as determining whether the insurance policy covers the loss or damage. It is your responsibility to ensure that claims are not fradulent. You may be self-employed and work on behalf of a claimant as a public adjuster or for an insurance company. You could work for health, property or casualty insurance, among others.

The following table provides an overview of this career.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Key ResponsibilitiesConducts interviews of claimants and eyewitnesses, assesses and evaluates property damage
Licensure RequiredVaries by state
Job Growth (2014-2024)3% increase (for claims adjusters, examiners and investigators)*
Median Salary (2015)$62,980 (for claims adjusters, examiners and investigators)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Background Do I Need to Become a Claims Adjuster?

Claims adjusters, who are also called insurance adjusters, typically have the following qualifications and qualities:

  • Bachelor's degree
  • Excellent communications skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to problem solve
  • Ability to multitask

As you will be seeking to determine whether the insurance company you work for covers the claims being made, you will need to know the policies of your company and to keep updated about local and federal laws concerning insurance coverage. Continuing education on these topics will be available to you both through your employer and through professional associations you may join. Depending upon the state you work in and whether you work for an insurance company or yourself, you may need to take a licensing exam and/or have a surety bond.

What Is a Typical Day Like?

Claims adjusters typically manage all aspects of a claim and handle many claims at once. On any given day, you may:

  • Schedule appointments
  • Interview claimants
  • Review police and medical reports
  • Photograph damage
  • Consult with lawyers and accountants
  • Assess coverage
  • Negotiate settlements

Some days you will work odd hours, as you'll be interviewing people when they are available, traveling to inspect sites where the damage occurred and coordinating with claimants, medical personnel, lawyers and accountants as you work to settle a claim. If you work on covering claims that result from natural disasters, you may travel to the disaster site and remain there until damages are assessed.

Who Hires Claims Adjusters?

Insurance companies directly employ the majority of claims adjusters. Some may work out of their homes as a local adjuster for an insurance company located in another city or state. Many work in a centralized claims office of a large firm.

Adjusters who don't work for insurance companies frequently work as public adjusters either running their own firms or working in a freelance capacity. In this type of job, you may be hired by an insurance company as an independent contractor to handle a single claim or specific types of claims. You may also hired by people who are having problems with a claim they have filed with their insurance company and want someone working for their interests.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

With a bachelor's degree, you may consider pursuing a career as a real estate appraiser. Real estate appraisers are professionals who estimate the value of commercial or residential real estate. You may also consider becoming an insurance sales agent, which requires a high school diploma. Insurance sales agents sell insurance, assist clients in choosing polices and handle policy renewals.

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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