Career Path of a Claims Adjuster
Evaluating insurance claims for key details and inspecting damaged property are the key roles of a claims adjuster. If you have an eye for detail, are extremely organized, and enjoy working with rules and numbers, consider a career as an insurance claims adjuster.
Job satisfaction ranks high on the list for many professionals working in the claims department — according to a Claims Journal 2012 Job & Salary Survey, 91 percent of company management say they enjoy working in the industry. If you’re looking for a rewarding career in the insurance field but don’t want to work in sales, a career as a claims adjuster may be the ideal match for you.
Here’s a quick overview of the career path of a claims adjuster:
Entry-level positions typically require a high school diploma or equivalent. Those who want to move beyond entry-level positions typically need to have a bachelor’s degree and some experience in the insurance field. If you have a strong mathematics and accounting background, enjoy researching and reporting, and have strong attention to detail, you may excel in courses and training related to this job.
Certain positions require a more specialized educational background. For example, those working in the finance industry will fare well with an accounting or business degree. Those working in the property and casualty insurance field may fare well with an educational background in architecture, construction, engineering, or building trades.
Training to Be a Claims Adjuster
Most employers provide intensive on-the-job training since the reporting and compliance processes required to fulfill job requirements can be fairly complex. Those enter the field at the entry-level typically work under the supervision of a senior claims adjuster or manager so they can learn about the company’s claims reporting and settlement process.
Adjusters must also comply with local and state rules, and be up-to-date on state laws and regulations. Employer-based training programs can last anywhere from a few months to up to a year, depending on the position and company.
Claims Adjuster Licensing and Certification
Since federal and state laws dictate how claims are handled, an insurance adjuster may need to be licensed or complete some type of education and training program that familiarizes them with state-specific regulations. A claims adjuster may also apply for reciprocal licenses in any and all states he or she wishes to work in at any time.
Some states require adjusters to complete a pre-licensing education program and pass a licensing exam while others only require the adjuster to be working under a company that has a license. Continued education credits may be required to renew a license and keep up with best practices and the latest techniques in the industry.
Many claims adjusters acquire a significant amount of work experience and technical skills with employer-based training programs. Knowing how to use claims writing software like Xactimate, for example, is essential for adjusters at all career levels. Working in the insurance industry in any capacity can help an individual transition into these types of positions. Working independently as a contractor after working for companies for several years is also an option.