How to Become a Claims Adjuster
Claims Adjuster Job Duties
Skills and Qualities of a Claims Adjuster
Claims Adjuster Salary
Influential Professionals in this field
Leading Organizations for Claims Adjusters
Top Cities for Claims Adjuster Jobs
Other Careers of Interest
It is sometimes possible for a claims adjuster employed by an insurance company to work under the company license and not need to become licensed himself or herself. Public adjusters may need to meet separate or additional requirements: i.e., a state may require public adjusters to file a surety bond.
States that mandate licensing also require specific credits of continuing education units per year for licensing renewal. Workers can fulfill their continuing education requirements by attending classes or workshops, by writing articles for claims publications, or by giving lectures and presentations.
Continuing education is crucial in this field because Federal and State laws, along with court decisions, affect how claims are handled and establish exactly who is covered by insurance policies.
Many companies offer training sessions to inform their employees of industry changes, and a number of schools and associations give courses and seminars on various topics having to with claims
Beginning claims adjusters work on small claims under the supervision of an experienced worker. As their knowledge and skill level grow they are assigned larger and more complex claims dealing with investigation and settlements.
Claims adjusters can earn professional certifications and designations to demonstrate their professional expertise. Certification includes 5 to 10 years of experience in the claims field and the successful completion of an examination.
There are three types of claims adjusters:
Independent: Independent contractors who are not insurance company employees.
Staff adjusters: Individuals employed by an insurance company or self-insured company.
Public adjusters: Individuals employed by a policyholder.
Claims can include automobile accidents to handling claims filed after a storm damages a customer's home. Adjusters may handle "property claims" involving damage to buildings and structures. "Liability claims" involve personal injuries or third-person property damage from liability situations: i.e., motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, or alleged negligent behavior.
Adjusters investigate claims by interviewing the claimant and/or witnesses, consulting police, investigating hospital records, and inspecting any property damage to determine how great the liability is.
Adjusters are able to consult with other professionals-e.g., accountants, architects, construction workers, engineers, lawyers, and physicians--who can offer a more expert evaluation of a claim. The information gathered (photographs and statements, either written, audio, or on video tape) is set down in a report that is then used to evaluate the associated claim. The claims adjuster negotiates and settles with the person filing the claim. If a claim is contested, adjusters will work with attorneys and expert witnesses to defend the insurer's position.
Many companies centralize claims adjustment in a claims center, where the cost of repair is estimated and a check is issued immediately. More complex cases that may involve bodily injury are referred to senior adjusters. Most claims adjusters specialize in business losses, homeowner claims, automotive damage, or workers' compensation.
This profession does not require a degree in a specialized subject; due to the nature of this industry a degree in various fields can transfer favorably into a position. A claims adjuster with a background in business or accounting can specialize in claims of financial loss due to strikes, breakdowns of equipment, or damage to merchandise. College training in architecture or engineering is helpful in adjusting industrial claims: e.g., claims filed involving damage from fires or other accidents.
Claims adjusters must have excellent customer relation skills due to working closely with claimants, witnesses, and other insurance professionals. Knowledge of computer applications is necessary in this profession. Claims adjusters that travel for their job need a valid driver's license and a good driving record. Some companies require applicants to pass a series of written aptitude tests designed to measure their analytical, communication and general mathematical skills.
Employees who show their competence in claims work or administrative skills may be promoted to more responsible managerial or administrative jobs.
Many claims adjusters, especially claims adjusters working for insurance companies, receive additional bonuses or benefits as part of their job. Adjusters often are furnished a laptop computer, a cellular telephone, and a company car, or are reimbursed for the use of their own vehicle for business purposes.
With annual earnings of $66,720 and $57,000 respectively.
Keen competition for claims adjusters is expected, especially in smaller, privately owned companies. Opportunities will be best for those who hold a license and have related experience.
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