Insurance adjusters are usually the final word on claims against an insurance policy. If someone files a claim for personal injury, property damage, or something similar against an insurance policy, the claims adjuster examines the claim and determines if money is owed. They may also decide the amount to be paid unless the policy states otherwise.
The job offers interesting work since you never know what kind of claims you might see and requires some specific personal traits and skills. Many claims adjusters work for an insurance company, but the market for independent claims adjusters has grown significantly over the past few decades. Medical claims adjusters are another form of adjuster that focuses on medical claims.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the outlook for jobs as insurance adjusters is stable. In 2016, there were over 300,000 adjusters working for insurance companies or independently in the US. This is a general idea of the job outlook based on a broad range of criteria and if you search any popular online job site, you'll find plenty of openings for insurance adjusters.
How Do I Get Started?
Technically, there is no defined educational level for becoming an insurance adjuster. However, some companies may prefer a four-year degree in some type of analytical or math-based field of study. Because these requirements vary from company to company, there’s no single degree program or field of study that’s universally agreed upon as the best path to an insurance adjuster career. In some cases, medical claims adjusters may benefit more from healthcare-related studies.
Some companies offer on the job training and only require a high school diploma. The downside to this method is they'll train you to work within their rules, which may not translate well if you swap to a different employer. You’ll need to do some research on the company to determine its precise requirements and expectations as well as the value of the skills you’ll gain in the broader job market.
While there is no set educational requirements, we can give you an idea of the skill sets you’ll need to be a good insurance adjuster. These skills will help you do a better job, grow faster within the company, and possibly improve your recruitment opportunities in the future. Aside from formal education or on the job training, you need the following skills to excel at your job as an insurance adjuster:
- Math skills: Computers do a lot of the work for you, but you need to understand the math.
- Detail oriented: You must pay close attention to details and not miss anything that may cost your company money or cause a justified claim to get denied.
- Communication skills: You’ll talk to a lot of people from the claimant to doctors and nurses.
- Analytical skills: You must understand the claim and the policy along with putting it all together to make a decision.
- Interpersonal skills: You need a cool head and the ability to talk to people that might not be pleased if you deny their claim.
Do I Need a License or Certification?
You probably need a license in most states. Currently, only 16 states allow insurance adjusters to work without a license. We urge you to check your state and local laws along with prospective employers to confirm licensing requirements. Many employers may help you get training and licensed if you promise or sign an agreement to work for them for a set period of time.
An insurance adjusters license may be valid in several states beyond the issuing state. For instance, an insurance adjusters license from Texas is valid in nearly 30 other states. You don't need to hold multiple licenses, and you’ll probably be ok to move to a different state and recertify there once your license expires. The type of reciprocity given to Texas license holders is common in most states.
You may find a school or online program that helps you get licensed or prepared for the licensing exam in your state as well, although we urge you to check with the licensing board or your Secretary of State to find schools and programs that have a good reputation. It’s disheartening to pay for classes only to find out they didn’t adequately prepare you for your state’s exam.
While this guide will get you started on a career path to becoming an insurance adjuster, it is important to investigate the companies you want to work for and find out their specific needs and requirements. Having a degree, even when it’s not required, will help you grow within the company faster. Focus also on taking continuing education classes to stay on top of the laws and trends that affect you.