Insurance Adjuster: Career Information and Education Requirements

Sep 10, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an insurance adjuster. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and state bonding and licensing to find out if this is the career for you.

Insurance adjusters report, process and settle policyholder's claims and essentially determine their validity. In order to become an insurance adjuster, you'll need at least a High School diploma but many employers prefer applicants with a bachelor's degree.

Essential Information

Insurance adjusters perform investigative tasks involved in reporting, processing and settling a policyholder's claim. Although only a high school diploma is required, most insurance companies prefer adjusters have a bachelor's degree. Adjusters also must have a bachelor's degree to obtain certification from the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters. Education or experience in a particular field may help candidates seeking a position as an insurance adjuster in that area. Some states mandate adjusters take an exam and obtain a state license or surety bond. Continuing education may be required to maintain a valid license.

Required Education H.S. diploma; bachelor's degree preferred
Other Requirements state license, surety bond sometimes required
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) -4% (for claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators)*
Median Salary (2018) $65,900 (for claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for an Insurance Adjuster

Insurance adjusters, often called adjusters, assess the circumstances surrounding an insurance claim made by a policyholder. This includes interviewing the claimant and any witnesses, as well as gathering documented information from police reports or medical records. Then, they report their findings, which determine whether a claim is approved or not. Insurance adjusters can also be involved in negotiating settlement terms.

Insurance adjusters can also be found working in private practices providing services to people who don't wish to work with an insurance company adjuster. Public adjusters prepare claims for their clients and look out for their clients' best interests throughout the claims process. Some self-employed adjusters may also contract out their services to insurance companies.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests that the best employment opportunities for insurance adjusters from 2018-2028 may be in the medical industry and in areas of the country that regularly experience natural disasters, such as hurricanes or flooding. The median salary for a claims adjuster, examiner or investigator in the insurance industry was $65,900 in 2018, reports the BLS.

Education Requirements for an Insurance Adjuster

There is no particular education requirement to become an insurance adjuster besides a high school diploma. Many insurance companies prefer applicants with college degrees, but a graduate's area of study is only important if it is particularly relevant to the type of insurance policies a company holds. For example, an adjuster with an educational background in architecture could find employment with a firm that handles skyscrapers, while a company that insures retail establishments may prefer an adjuster with a degree in business.

Prior work experience in a relevant area such as the medical field or automotive industry can also be very beneficial for those looking for a job in the insurance industry. Those who have experience working in automotive repairs may find that their knowledge is needed in the area of automobile insurance. A background in medicine could be useful for adjusters work in life or medical insurance.

Certification and Licensing

The National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA) offers Certified Professional Public Adjuster (CPPA) and Senior Professional Public Adjuster (SPPA) certifications. Requirements include a college degree or an equivalent level of education or experience, five years of work experience for the CPPA and ten years for the SPPA and passing of a written exam. No certification coursework is required before taking the exam, although NAPIA provides recommended study materials.

Some states require licensing or surety bonds for insurance claims adjusters. Licensing requirements vary from state to state; some states require an insurance adjuster to take preparatory classes in order to pass a licensing exam. Other states require regular continuing education to keep a license valid.

Insurance adjusters need a high school diploma or a bachelor's degree, strong observational and communication skills and professional certification in order to qualify for the position.

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