To begin a career as an insurance claims adjuster, a high school diploma and state license are required. Certificate and bachelor's degree programs are available and may increase job prospects for those entering this field.
Claims adjusters work for insurance companies and evaluate the veracity of the statements that policyholders make regarding the damages. When accidents happen, insurance claims adjusters can help clients get their insured losses covered as quickly as possible. Insurance claims adjusters may pursue a certificate or college degree applicable to the specific type of insurance in which they work. In addition, different states have different licensing requirements for insurance claims adjusters.
|Required Education||High school diploma or equivalent; certificate and bachelor's degree programs available|
|Other Requirements||State license|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||3% for all claims adjusters, examiners and investigators|
|Mean Salary (2015)*||$64,300 for all claims adjusters, examiners and investigators|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Insurance Claims Adjuster Career Overview
Claims adjusters start to work when an event causes harm to an insured home, business, car or person. They interview the insured, witnesses and medical professionals, as well as researching police and medical records and calling in experts to examine the damage or determine the validity of the claim. Once the claim of loss is determined to be valid, adjusters negotiate and settle with the policyholder.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are general claims adjusters as well as those specializing in various types of insurance, such as homeowner's, medical, worker's compensation and automotive. Depending on the exact type of work, this job can involve a lot of driving to go to the site of the claim. Generally, claims adjusters don't spend a lot of time in their offices, and their work schedule can be erratic, due to evening and weekend appointments with policyholders to discuss claims.
Salary Information and Career Outlook
In May 2015, 271,600 claims adjusters, examiners and investigators worked in the United States, according to the BLS. Most of these individuals earned between $37,880 and $94,190 annually (BLS). Insurance carriers were the largest employers of these workers and paid an average of $30.52 per hour; the federal government was the third largest employer and paid an average of $33.88 per hour (BLS). Furthermore, the BLS projected an increase of 9,800 jobs for claims adjusters, examiners and investigators between 2014 and 2024; this equates to an increase of three percent.
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Not all insurance adjusters are required to have college degrees, but adjusters may pursue a degree applicable to the specific type of insurance. College certificates and training programs specifically for claims adjusters often focus on an individual state's licensure requirements.
Bachelor's Degree in Business
An emphasis in financial analysis could be useful for claims adjusters who specialize in business-related claims of financial loss. Students learn about risk and return, investment and financial planning for the short and long term. An accounting concentration includes courses in fraud detection, taxation and economics, as well as the study of business law, organizational management and accounting information systems.
Bachelor's Degree in Architecture
Architecture degree programs can provide an aspiring property insurance claims adjuster with an understanding of the way buildings are constructed and how certain structural damage may have occurred. These degree programs can take 4-5 years to complete and may be accredited through the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). Students take classes in design fundamentals and learn design techniques to help buildings withstand earthquakes and disasters. In studio courses, students draw up plans for potential buildings.
Insurance Claims Adjuster Certificate
These programs often focus on individual states' licensure requirements. Completing some certificate programs waives the requirement for students to take their state's examination. Students in these classes study the various types of insurance, from property insurance policies to health insurance.
Claims adjusters investigate claims made by insurance policyholders, which could relate to a motor vehicle accident, an injury on a property, or damage to property. While college training is not required, a degree in business or architecture allows insurance claims adjusters to specialize in a specific area within their field. Many adjusters complete certificate programs that detail their state's regulations and may exempt them from having to pass the state adjuster's exam.