Paving the Way to Your First Insurance Claims Adjuster Job: Step-by-Step Instructions

September 27, 2023

With about 3 million people employed in the U.S. insurance industry, working for insurance companies, agencies, and brokers, it might seem impossible to break the mold regarding the choice of occupation. Everything that could be researched has already been researched, or has it?

Surprisingly enough, there are still some undervalued occupations, such as, for example, insurance claims adjuster jobs. Consistently high in demand, insurance claims at least remain steady over time. While the older generation of adjusters gradually retires, giving opportunities to young talents claims adjuster jobs can help you make a successful career in the insurance industry and some decent money, for that matter, up to $55,000 a year and more, depending on your skills and talents.

So how to become an insurance adjuster? What to begin with, and how to break through the entry barrier?

Although you cannot just blindly copy someone else’s success story and become successful yourself, there are several proven steps you will have to take before you can get your first insurance adjuster job. Without further ado, let’s dig into it.

Make Sure Your Personality Fits the Job

No matter how much we would like to tell you that anyone can become a successful claims adjuster, it would be delusional. 

 

Claims adjusters investigate insurance claims to determine the extent of liability on behalf of an insurance company. The job is pretty demanding, mainly because you have to communicate a lot with confused and, at the time, frustrated clients, let alone you must have lots of determination and willpower and manage your time effectively.

  • Communication. Considering the peculiarities of the job, you will sometimes have to deal with people in a precarious state of mind. Depending on whether you approve or decline the claim, you will have to deal with happiness, anger, suspicion, and frustration – a whole palette of emotions. You will have to find the best-personalized approach to every client as you fulfill your role as a third party between the insurer and the insured.
  • Time management. Whether you are going to be an independent claims adjuster or you want to represent a company, you will have to deal with piles of claims numbering dozens at best. You must be proficient in time management, multi-tasking, and stress resistance.
  • Work ethic. Claims adjusters have some power and a theoretical opportunity to use it unfairly to either the benefit of one of the parties or their benefit. A professional claims adjuster must be reliable, disciplined, and unbiased. Having these qualities, you can climb up the career ladder much faster.
  • Tech-savvy. In addition to soft skills, you should have at least a basic grasp of computer technologies because most insurance claims heavily rely on computer tech. You will likely have to use software – Xactimate, Applied Epic, Guidewire ClaimCenter, etc. – to work with claims and communicate with clients, but that is not unique to claim adjustment.

The most challenging part of the job, however, is catastrophes. When disasters like Hurricane Irma happen, the number of claims skyrockets, creating an extremely challenging – yet no less rewarding – working environment for people, businesses, and claims adjusters. If you’re ready to deal with catastrophes, most likely, you are a good fit for the job.

Determine What Kind of Claims Adjuster You Want To Become

Although it’s okay to determine the type of claims adjuster you want to become in the first place, you should know that there are three ways to go: independent adjuster, staff adjuster, and public adjuster.

  • Company staff adjuster. The most traditional way would be to become a full-time claims adjuster – a desk adjuster or field adjuster – that works for an insurance company. You are eligible for life insurance, health insurance, education training, and benefits as a staff adjuster.
    • Desk adjusters process claims in an office, completing the most stressful part of the job. You will spend most of your time asking questions on the phone and determining the damage done in this or that case.
    • Field adjusters are required when the case is too complicated for a desk adjuster to solve – for example, if it’s impossible to evaluate the damage’s extent accurately. As a field adjuster, you will have to go on a site, estimate the damage, take photographs, and do the rest of the work a desk adjuster does over a phone. Most field adjusters prefer working in a particular location, but traveling to different places is not out of the question either.
  • Public adjuster. Unlike staff adjusters, who work for an insurer, public adjusters work for policyholders, helping them to file claims with their insurance company. Insurance companies may assign staff and independent adjusters to work on claims. Still, from the client’s perspective, it would be much better to work with an independent adjuster since the latter will represent the client’s – not the insurance company’s – interests in the first place. Having someone on their side is very reassuring for clients, and it’s usually very fulfilling to be that person.
  • Independent adjuster. Independent adjusters usually work with several insurance companies and deal with the severest cases, as they are typically called when a company or staff adjusters need help. As an independent claim insurance agent, you will often have to deal with catastrophe events. You will also be expected to process claims quicker than adjusters usually do, let alone you may have to work more than 40 hours a week (the reward is generally worth it, though).

Becoming an independent adjuster is most challenging (though potentially most rewarding), so it is wise to start as either a company staff adjuster or a public adjuster. That said, claim adjustment encompasses just as many fields as insurance, and the world is your oyster! You can work in the following niches: residential, health insurance, auto insurance, bodily injuries, veterinary, workers’ compensation, and more.

Get Your Insurance Claim Adjustment License

More often than not, the education required to become a claims adjuster is a bachelor’s degree, though it depends on the state. In some states, a high school diploma or GED equivalent – the document confirming that your knowledge corresponds to that of a high school graduate – is enough.

 

Depending on your state, you may need to take a course on claim adjustment and then pass an exam to become a certified professional. But if your state doesn’t require a certificate, you can still opt for an out-of-state license – known as Designated Home State (DHS) – that will enable you to work throughout the country. Obtaining this type of license means that you’ve chosen the other state as your ‘home’ state.

In a nutshell, the process of obtaining a claim adjustment license is as follows:

  1. Check whether your state requires a claim adjustment license. If it does, you must obtain your home state license before obtaining reciprocal licenses in other states. If it doesn’t, you can operate without a license, though you won’t be able to work in other areas. Also, it might be hard to get a job without a license.
  2. Submit your application and pay fees. Once you’ve passed the state exam, follow the instructions from your state. The application process varies, but it’s never complicated.
  3. Apply for reciprocal licenses if needed. If you’re going to work in more than one state, then you have to get reciprocal licenses. You can get your reciprocal licenses without passing an exam, as most states will only charge a fee.

Most states issue a claim adjustment license for two years, but you can renew it as often as you want.

Look For Your First Claim Adjustment Company

Now that you’ve obtained your well-deserved license, you can start looking for your first claim adjustment company. Working as an independent claims adjuster from the get-go is much harder, but you can try it, too, if you are confident in yourself and the lack of experience doesn’t scare you off.

Here are a few tips to land your first job faster:

  • Get a license even if you’re going to work in a state that doesn’t require a claim adjustment license.
  • Look for companies that search for entry-level adjusters and agree to obtain all company-specific certifications that your company wants you to obtain once they hire you.
  • Complete additional training, which may include claim adjustment courses, software development courses, as well as classes on your field of expertise (architecture, automobile industry, etc.).

On top of that, don’t forget to spruce up your resume, research and reach the companies you’d be willing to work for, make new contacts, and remain flexible and open to new opportunities and experiences.

Renew Your License When Needed

The states that require claim adjustment licenses will also require continuing education (CE) credits whenever you want to prolong your license, which you can get by completing live/online courses, training sessions, giving lectures, or publishing articles.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main job responsibilities of claims adjusters?

Claims adjusters investigate insurance claims to determine the extent of liability on behalf of an insurance company. That covers all claims, from property damage to injuries to disaster claims. The result of their work is that the insurance claim is settled.

Why should I become a claims adjuster?

There are many potential reasons why you should choose to become a claims adjuster.
First, some claim adjustment positions – for example, a catastrophe claims adjuster – can be advantageous. On average, a catastrophe claims adjuster earns about $1,000 daily when hurricanes and disasters happen.
Secondly, claim adjustment is a recession-proof industry. While circumstances can change the routine of most other workers, claims adjusters are exempt from such risks.
Finally, the entry barrier is pretty low, especially in the states where a bachelor’s degree isn’t required. You can become a claims adjuster in about four weeks!
On top of that, the job is very fulfilling and has a wide range of career options. You can work for a company, become an independent adjuster, or even start your own business.

Is there a demand for this type of job?

There are over 25,000 openings for claims adjusters annually, and the demand is steady because of the peculiarities of the job. For example, you can find vacancies on Jooble, which gets more and more offers for professionals every day.

How can I make money as a claims adjuster?

It depends on whether you are a company staff adjuster, public adjuster, or independent adjuster. The options vary from a flat salary to a percentage of the number of claims settled. For example, you can make up to 70% of the fee as an independent adjuster.

What U.S. companies pay adjusters the most?

Your salary may depend on something other than the company as much as on your skills. However, among the top claim adjustment companies in the United States are TheBest Claims Solutions, Frontier Adjusters, Worley, Zurich Insurance Group, and more.

Can I work from home?

Yes, claims adjusters can work from home, having the same job dues as in-house adjusters.

How do I prepare for a claims adjuster interview?

No specificities apply to claims adjuster interviews. Like any other interview, research the company, clarify your selling points, skim through the most popular job interview questions, and keep your emotions at bay.

What other jobs can a claims adjuster do?

You can become a loss adjuster, an insurance appraiser, or an insurance investigator. You can also improve your knowledge in one of the claim adjustment fields (health insurance, auto insurance, bodily injuries, workers’ compensation, etc.).

Paving the Way to Your First Insurance Claims Adjuster Job: Step-by-Step Instructions 1

Oleksandr Rohovnin is a Content Marketer at Phonexa.com and an expert contributor to CoverExplore. His passion is digital marketing, innovative technologies, tech industries, and – above all – distilling vast amounts of complex information into engrossing narratives anyone can relate to. At CoverExplore, Oleksandr stokes passion for auto insurance and the automotive industry in general in every story he curates.

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