Become an Injury Claims Adjuster
Injury claims adjusters process and quote insurance claims filed due to bodily harm, working within the guidelines of insurance company regulations. A primary responsibility of the job is to interview medical specialists, agents, police, medical professionals, witnesses, attorneys, or claimants to compile information regarding accidents and resulting injuries. The bodily injury claims adjuster then uses the information compiled from the interviews to complete a report and determine whether and how much to pay a claimant. Adjusters' work hours might be somewhat irregular, with the need to meet with clients and interviewees when they are available.
|Degree Level||High school diploma or GED, although some employers prefer a college degree|
|Degree Field||Insurance, business, finance|
|Licensure and/or Certification||Adjuster's license often required; requirements vary by state|
|Key Skills||Analytical, verbal, written communication, interpersonal, customer service, and mathematics abilities; word processing, spreadsheets, appraisal software, and medical knowledge|
|Additional Requirements||Frequent local travel, evening and weekend work|
|Salary (2015)||$63,060 yearly (median for all claims adjusters)|
Sources: Online job postings (November 2012), U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*NET OnLine
Now let's check out the career steps for bodily injury claims adjusters.
Step One: Earn a Degree
Most insurance companies prefer that claims adjusters have an associate's or bachelor's degree. Colleges and universities offer degree programs specific to the industry, such as an associate's degree in insurance services or bachelor's degree in risk assessment and insurance. Coursework is designed to help students gain an understanding of the industry with classes in business, finance, risk management, and law. Some degree programs include an insurance industry internship and licensing exams.
Step Two: Gain Experience
Experience through an entry-level position or internship in the insurance field can provide a foundation in the information and specific processes necessary for claims adjusters to do their jobs within the guidelines of the law. Many insurance companies offer internships that provide an inside look into how claims are processed. Interns may shadow claims adjusters to better understand what the job entails. Bodily injury claims adjusters should have knowledge of how claim quotes work, laws specific to the insurance industry, and medical terms, as well debating skills to be able to back up claims figures.
Step Three: Get Licensed
Each state has different regulations for adjusters, most requiring a license acquired through examinations or by completing the required paperwork along with a fee. Some private associations also offer certification, including the International Claims Association (ICA). The Associate, Life, and Health Claims (ALHC) professional designation exam offered by the ICA usually takes 2-3 months of preparation coursework and certifies members to work as public claims adjusters.
It's important to maintain familiarity with changing laws and policies. After acquiring a license, if one is required, bodily injury claims adjusters must remain up to date on new and changing state and federal laws and how courts handle insurance claims. Many companies hold seminars, ensuring their employees' familiarity with new policies and laws. Those who process health claims must also stay up to date on new medical procedures and prescription drugs.
To recap, with a postsecondary education and experience an injury claims adjuster can earn about $63,000 a year to process and quote insurance claims filed due to bodily harm, working within the guidelines of insurance company regulations.