Insurance Claims Adjuster: Career, Outlook and Education Info

Explore the career requirements for insurance claims adjusters. Get the facts about salary, education requirements and job outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Risk Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Insurance Claims Adjuster?

After property is damaged in an event, such as an automobile accident or hailstorm, an individual may seek to have his or her insurance company pay for the damage by submitting a claim. An insurance claims adjuster determines if the policyholder has a legitimate claim and then assesses whether or not the damage is covered by the insurance policy and how much repairs will cost the company. Insurance claims adjusters may work for private insurance companies, or they may work as public adjusters and serve policyholders rather than insurance companies. Negotiation skills are crucial to insurance claims adjusters, as they must determine a settlement between the client and the insurance company before closing the claim.

An overview of career details is listed below.

Education Required High school diploma; postsecondary training preferred
Key Skills Interpersonal, math, analytical, communication
Licensure Requirements vary by state
Job Growth (2014-2024) 3% (for all claims adjusters, examiners and investigators)*
Median Salary (2015) $62,980 (for all claims adjusters, examiners and investigators)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Would I Do as an Insurance Claim Adjuster?

Primarily working for casualty and property insurance companies, you would review and inspect damages claimed by policyholders to assess their legitimacy. This process might involve interviewing all necessary parties, such as claimants and witnesses, to examining related documents, including hospital and police records. You'll use the collected information, including any photographs or statements, to make up a report that you'll use for evaluating the claim. Once you determine the claim to be legitimate, you'll then negotiate and settle the claim with the policyholder. However, if the claim is questionable, you can deny payment and assist attorneys to defend the insurance company's position.

What Can I Expect the Employment Outlook to Be?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that claims adjusters would have a slower than average employment outlook in the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov). During this time period, claims adjusters, examiners and investigators could expect to see a growth of three percent. The growth was primarily projected to be in the health insurance industry. A combination of insurance carriers minimizing costs through claims and rising premiums will contribute to this outlook, along with an increasing elderly population.

What Are the Education Requirements?

No set requirements are in place for becoming an insurance claims adjuster, but you'll likely need to graduate from high school. You could learn on-the-job; however, the BLS says that employers generally prefer college graduates. Some majors to consider could include accounting or business. You can also find programs for insurance claim adjusters through community colleges. Such programs will prepare you to review policies and write reports.

You may need to become licensed, depending on the state you work in. The licensure requirements will vary between states. For example, some states will require you to pass an exam to become licensed while other states don't require licensure at all.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Alternate career fields include auto body and glass repair and auto mechanics and technicians. These professions work closely with the public and are often consulted by insurance adjusters. A high school diploma may be sufficient to start work in one of these fields, but specialized training may be required for work as an auto technician or mechanic. Construction, building and fire inspectors also only require high school diplomas, though additional education may be necessary for licensing purposes.

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