If you have ever submitted a claim to an insurance company, then you have probably met with a claims adjuster. Claims adjusters are responsible for investigating insurance claims; interviewing claimants, evaluating damages, negotiating claim settlements and authorizing payments to policy holders. With average wages hovering around $50,000 a year, becoming a claim adjuster can be a profitable career move. If you want to become a claims adjuster, follow these step by step instructions for getting into the industry.
- First, determine what type of claims adjuster you want to be. Claims adjusters fall into one of three categories. A staff claim adjuster works for the insurance carrier in their claim center. A public claims adjuster is hired by policy holders to help them assess damages and submit claims to the insurance company. An independent claims adjuster is contracted by insurance companies, agencies, and private loss adjustment firms when they need help.
- After settling on a career path, you will need to find out if claims adjusters have to be licensed in your state. Check with the Department of Insurance (or equivalent) to determine what type of certification is needed for a claim adjuster job. In most states, you will have to take claims adjuster independent study course and pass a test with the cost of materials ranging from $350-700.
- The next step to becoming a claims adjuster is making sure you have the right education. Although a college degree isn’t necessary, most companies prefer their claim adjuster to have a degree in an area of study related to the type of claims they handle. For example, if you want to get a claim adjuster job at a homeowner’s insurance agency, a degree in engineering or architecture would help you evaluate structural damage done to buildings.
However, with enough training or experience in the industry you can bypass the college degree requirement. One way to receive the experience you need for a claims adjuster job is to get hired by an insurance company as an entry level claims adjuster trainee. The insurance company will put you through a claims management training program before assigning you to a small territory. Another option is to apprentice under an experienced independent claims adjuster for a few years.
- Lastly, the claims adjuster industry is competitive, so finding work can be a challenge. Get job leads from online job directories, by contacting insurance companies or through networking with claims adjusters in the field. Companies want people who can communicate effectively, so it is important that you have the interpersonal skills necessary for handling all types of people in different situations. Additionally, technology is used extensively in the management of damage adjustment claims, therefore you need to know how to use a computer and a digital camera.