Claims adjusters have a wide range of salaries, usually dependent upon the organization they work for. Government and private insurance agencies employ claims adjusters to investigate claims made by clients. The median income for all adjusters is about $55,760. According to payscale.com, insurance claims adjusters usually make between $34,000 and $55,000 per year.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
While this mid-range salary might not seem all too impressive at first, keep in mind that insurance companies routinely award bonuses to their claims adjusters, especially those that perform particularly well in the line of duty. Adjusters also receive perks like company cars and smart phones that enable them to perform their job better. These perks are usually enough to make the job of insurance claims adjuster seem well worth the time and work.
Job Description and Outlook
There are many different types of insurance: Auto, life, and home insurance are just the tip of the iceberg. To give an example of the type of job that an insurance adjuster does, though, auto insurance adjusters are an easy way to understand.
When an auto accident occurs, the insurance holder files a claim. This claim will detail the accident, what led to it, and what type of damage was incurred during the accident. The job of the insurance claims adjuster is to thoroughly investigate every aspect of the claimant’s story. An adjuster interviews the claimant, speaks with any witnesses or law enforcement officers that have knowledge of the accident, looks through hospital and medical records, and assesses any damage to the car. From this report comes a money total that outlines how much the insurance company should pay to the claimant for the damages that were incurred during the accident.
There are times when adjusters must do more work, such as cases that have a lot of photographic evidence, or where many witnesses and law enforcement officials were involved. Taking statements, assessing damages, and making a judgment about the amount of monetary compensation to be awarded can be hard work. When the claim is approved, negotiations begin and a settlement is reached between the claimant and the insurance company.
The job outlook for claims adjusters is best in the health insurance sector. Many health insurance companies will be needing adjusters at a steady pace in the next few years. It’s for this reason that the occupation of claims adjuster is increasing as fast as other occupations.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Training and Education Requirements
A college degree is not a requirement to be a claims adjuster, but almost every insurance company prefers to hire an adjuster that has some college experience or a college degree. Having a degree will increase your chances of landing a job as a claims adjuster.
There are some employers that do require a bachelor’s degree. Others are satisfied if an applicant has a background in business. Finance, accounting, law, and business are the preferred degrees of most insurance companies seeking a claims adjuster.
Companies offer training courses to train new claims adjusters and make them knowledgeable about the policies of the company and the procedures they must carry out to successfully perform their duties. State laws, claims investigation, payment determination, and insurance policy types are frequent subjects of claims adjuster on-the-job training.
To be an effective claims adjuster, communication is essential. People skills and good investigative techniques are a must to carry out successful claims investigations. Being in tune with the people they interview helps claims adjusters get the most accurate information from everyone they speak with.
Claims adjusters must be certified in whatever state they work in. Requirements vary by state, with some states being extremely lenient about their requirements for a license. Other states are tougher to obtain a license in. There are some states that require courses prior to licensing, as well as a high score on a state licensing exam.
The majority of employers are comfortable hiring a claims adjuster that isn’t licensed. The on-the-job training provided by companies that hire claims adjusters is so good that licensing can wait a bit. Post-licensing courses are usually what employers focus most on. It’s to their benefit that claims adjusters stay up to date with policy and procedure. Claims adjusters work in a field that changes daily and so it’s necessary to receive frequent updates of rules and regulations.
Professional certification, though not required, is the choice of most claims adjusters. It increases their value in the work place and impresses potential employees. It also helps to make them much better at the job.
The National Association of Independent Insurance Adjusters is recognized as the major professional association for claims adjusters. Over 300 companies currently work with this organization. The goal of the organization is to help independent claims adjusters become more knowledgeable about their duties and better serve the community for which they work.
Another major association for claims adjusters is called the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters. They encourage claims adjusters to adhere to a code of conduct that helps claimants, companies, and themselves get the most out of the kind of help the job offers.
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