Should I Become a Workers Comp Claims Examiner?
Workers' comp claim examiners communicate with claimants, employers and other relevant parties while investigating employees' compensation claims. Based on their findings, they decide whether an employee should be compensated and, if so, how much he or she should receive. Workers' compensation claims examiners work for a variety of employers, including insurance carriers, private claims adjusting companies and insurance brokerages. A small percentage are self-employed. Weekend and evening work hours might be required.
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|Degree Level||High school diploma or its equivalent; associate's or bachelor's degree is often preferred|
|Degree Field||General education, writing, mathematics|
|Certification||Some states require certification and optional certification is available|
|Key Skills||Analytical skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills and math skills|
|Salary||$62,220 (Claims adjusters earned a median salary in May of 2014)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Step 1: Earn an Undergraduate Degree
While there is no formal education requirement for becoming a workers' comp claims examiner, many employers look favorably upon applicants with an associate or bachelor's degree. General education requirements for most college degree programs, which include courses in writing, communication, mathematics and critical thinking, provide students with many of the skills needed to become a workers' compensation claims examiner.
Step 2: Obtain Voluntary Certification
The Associate in Claims (AIC) is a designation recognized by many employers in the insurance field. Educational programs leading to the AIC are taught by various organizations, as well as some colleges and universities. Courses also are offered online through the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters. AIC programs consist of a series of courses covering policy and claims handling practices and principles. The AIC designation is awarded after the student passes an exam.
Step 3: Gain Work Experience
Companies hire people with a variety of work backgrounds for claims examiner positions. Experience in the legal field, such as paralegal or law enforcement work, can be helpful. Entry-level examiners usually start out working on small insurance claims under the supervision of a senior claims examiner. As they become more experienced, they are given more complex assignments.
Step 4: Find Out About State Licensure Requirements
Requirements vary from state to state. For example, in Oregon, all workers' compensation claims examiners employed by businesses, insurers and third-party administrators must pass a certification examination. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, claims examiners in some states can substitute a voluntary professional designation for passage of a licensing exam; other states allow employees to work under a company license (www.bls.gov).
Step 5: Continue Your Education
Adjusters and examiners need to keep up with new state and federal workers' compensation laws. Continuing education courses can be found through state websites and public and private schools. Some employers, such as insurance companies, also offer continuing education units with more and more courses being offered online.