Becoming an Insurance Adjuster
If you’ve ever wondered what an insurance adjuster is, or how to become an insurance adjuster, this article will provide all the information you need to get started. An insurance claims adjuster is a person who either works directly for an insurance company as a member of its staff, or who is an independent hired by an insurance company for the purpose of investigating a claim.
The professional duties of an insurance claim adjuster include conducting various investigations into claims made by policyholders, so as to determine whether or not the claim is a valid one which should be paid by the insurance company. In order to carry out these investigations, it’s generally necessary for an adjuster to inspect all the relevant damage and evidence in any claim which is made, review any police reports which have been filed, interview witnesses if possible, and talk to property owners, in cases where property damage was incurred.
Once an investigation has been concluded, the insurance adjuster will usually be in a good position to advise the insurance company about whether or not the claim is valid, and what the monetary amount of damages should be.
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Career paths for becoming an insurance adjuster
As you might expect, there are several different types of insurance claims adjusters, and if you’re thinking of pursuing a career along these lines, you may want to specialize in any of the following areas: Workmen’s Compensation, commercial or residential, liability, automobile claims adjusting, or catastrophe investigations. Those adjusters who are employed by an insurance company and are part of the staff, will generally handle claims over the phone, and are considered to be staff adjusters. By contrast, field adjusters are those who actually visit accident sites, and interview anyone who may have relevant information regarding the incident.
Not everyone is suited to be a field adjuster, just as not everyone would be happy working as a staff adjuster. There are some advantages to being a staff adjuster however, since you do have a year-round job, and receive a consistent paycheck, so if job security is important to you, being a staff adjuster may be the more appealing path. Field adjusters on the other hand, are self-employed and they offer their services to many different insurance companies. While this career path offers much greater freedom, there’s also the possibility of having a sporadic workload, with potentially seasonal work, or even some stretches where there is no work for you.
Advantages and disadvantages of insurance adjusting
One of the great things about being an insurance claims adjuster is that the work has no strong ties to the economy at all, so that economic downturns generally have little impact on your career. It’s also fairly easy to break into a career as a staff adjuster, because there are always a number of entry-level positions open in most geographic areas, with plenty of opportunities for advancement. It’s much more difficult to get started as an independent claims adjuster, unless you have already served as a staff adjuster for a number of years, and have a strong resume for insurance companies to review.
One of the most rewarding things about being any kind of insurance claims adjuster is that it often involves helping people in need, at times where a crisis or emergency has taken place. On the other end of the spectrum, working as a catastrophe adjuster can be very demanding physically and emotionally, since it always happens following some extremely stressful event. You could even be placed in a situation where an area has been ravaged, and is very difficult to physically make your way through the resulting rubble.
It’s also worth noting that independent adjusters are generally responsible for all their own expenses up front while they are investigating a claim, with reimbursement coming only after the conclusion of an investigation. That means you will need to be a person who is very good with money management and budgeting, in order to be a successful independent adjuster or catastrophe claims adjuster.
how to become an insurance claims adjuster
Skills needed for becoming an insurance adjuster
While it’s not strictly necessary, most insurance companies will require that a new insurance claims adjuster have at least an Associate’s Degree, and probably a Bachelor’s Degree. There are many colleges and universities which offer specific degrees in insurance claims adjustment, and this would be the ideal academic avenue to pursue.
Apart from academic requirements, an insurance claims adjuster should have good math skills, and should be experienced with the use of some of the most popular spreadsheet software. Other software skills necessary would be a proficiency in word processing, since investigation results will all have to be typed up and formally presented to an insurance company. A software program specific to the industry which would be critical to know is appraisal software, because this will generally provide the basis for formalizing an estimate on any claim which has been made. Field adjusters will need to be able to carry out all these software functions while away from the office, so some degree of proficiency with mobile software will be necessary.
It may be helpful for insurance claims adjuster to have a sound understanding of health care and medical terms, because these often come into play on personal injury claims made by policyholders. The work ethic of an insurance claims adjuster must usually be very strong, and a high level of integrity is a necessary character trait. It happens very often that long hours have to be invested in any kind of research or investigation, so you will need to be a person who is willing to go the extra mile to get a job done.
There’s a good possibility that both local and long-distance travel may be required, and work might easily spill over into weekends and holidays, so this is a sacrifice you must be willing to bear. Last but not least, great communication skills are a must for an insurance claims adjuster, because the job is all about customer service, and it often puts you in situations where victims have been completely stressed out. This means you not only have to be a great communicator, but you have to be a great listener, and it’s best if you’re not the argumentative type, because there are certain to be unavoidable conflicts regarding claims validity with accident victims.
If all the above has not yet deterred you from the path, and you are still thinking about how to become an insurance adjuster, there’s some good news from a compensation standpoint. The average salary of insurance claims adjuster in this country is approximately $70,000 annually, although you should keep in mind that both more and less might be earned by individuals, depending on their level of experience.
Those figure also refer to staff adjusters who receive regular paychecks, but of course there is no way to accurately estimate how much independent adjusters make, because they work on an on-demand basis. However, once an independent adjuster becomes well-established and well-respected, it’s very possible that he/she might earn well in excess of $100,000 a year.
How to Become an Independent Insurance Adjuster
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