Inusrance Claims Adjusters Overview: Among career paths in insurance, insurance claims adjusters determine whether a party claiming loss due to property damage, bodily injury, etc., is owed a payment under an insurance policy, and in what amount. Most insurance claims adjusters are employees of insurance companies, but some are independent consultants who represent claimants. Closely allied occupations are insurance claims examiners, insurance appraisers and insurance investigators.
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Education: Educational requirements vary greatly, depending on the position and the employer. Normally, a bachelor's degree is sufficient.
Certification: There are no formal certification processes, but many larger insurance companies have in-house training programs. However, previous experience in allied fields is often an important consideration in hiring. For example, insurance companies look to hire people with legal experience to be adjusters for liability claims, people with engineering or architectural backgrounds to be adjusters for industrial claims, etc.
Duties and Responsibilities: Insurance claims adjusters require a mix of analytic and people skills. To evaluate a claim, an adjuster may have to interview numerous people (such as the claimant, witnesses, law enforcement, expert consultants, etc.) and examine numerous documents (such as police reports, court records, medical records, etc.). Coming to a settlement with the claimant may require negotiation or even legal action, in which the insurance claims adjuster must work with lawyers on behalf of the insurance company.
Typical Schedule: Insurance claims adjusters have a mixture of office and field work, sometimes requiring out of town travel. Workweeks can be highly variable, based on the need to meet clients in evenings and on weekends, or to handle a rash of claims pursuant to a natural disaster or severe weather event. Weeks of 50-60 hours are not unusual.
What's to Like: The job has variety, and tests your analytic and people skills. No two claims are quite alike, so the job rarely becomes mundane.
What's Not to Like: Unhappy or demanding claimants can be taxing to deal with on a regular basis. Doing the job requires the ability to say no on a regular basis, which can be unpleasant for some people.
Salary Range: Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median annual compensation was about $51,000 as of May 2006, with the top 10% earning over $79,000.