Workers' compensation adjusters need to possess communication, organizational, and problem-solving skills in order to successfully investigate insurance claims. They might also be required to complete a formal postsecondary education program and obtain licenses. Positions in this field are expected to grow slower than average.
Workers' compensation adjusters work with insurance companies and employers in order to assess claimants' compensation benefits, in addition to investigating these claims through corroboration with witnesses and physicians. This job typically requires a high school diploma or the equivalent; however, some fields require a bachelor's degree or related work experience. Some states require additional licensing. This job might appeal to an individual with interests in investigative operations, communication, and negotiation.
|Required Education||Postsecondary diploma, certificate, or bachelor's degree often needed|
|Additional Requirements||Licensing, as determined by state|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||3% for all claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators|
|Median Wage (2015)*||$62,980 annually for all claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Workers' Compensation Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the median annual salary earned by claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators in general was $62,980 as of May 2015. The BLS reported that those workers employed in the architectural, engineering, and related services industry earned the highest average salary, estimated to be about $79,360 a year. This career field is expected to grow by 3% from 2014-2024, according to the BLS, which is slower than the national average for all occupations.
PayScale.com indicated that most workers' compensation administrators earn between $34,729 and $74,244 a year, as of 2016. Salary.com indicated that the median annual salary earned by workers' compensation managers, who are responsible for settlements and investigations prior to payout, was $92,593 as of September 2016.
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In order to enter into this career field as an employee of an insurance company, prospective claims adjusters must hold a diploma, certificate, or four-year degree in business or a related subject. In rare cases, employers will hire high school diploma-holders. Depending on the company and the state, sometimes additional licensing in required, which can be achieved by passing a state administered exam.
Entry-level claims adjusters are responsible for all investigative duties and evaluations but must answer to a senior claims adjuster who makes the final call. Many companies require that the applicant for a senior claims adjuster position has experience working in the claims adjustment field for a minimum of five years.
This career entails acting as investigator and mediator between the employee who is claiming disability and the insurance company. Workers' compensation claims adjusters are in charge of obtaining specific information on the injured employee, including the nature of the injury, how it happened, and if, in fact, the worker cannot work. The adjuster determines whether or not the claim is legitimate.
Claims adjusters communicate with the employee's managers, coworkers, physicians, and other witnesses when investigating the incident. Additional responsibilities include logging case data onto computers, communicating with department supervisors about individual cases, abiding by workers' compensation laws, and authorizing or denying payment to workers. Senior claims adjusters have the authority to settle significant claims, such as those as high as $75,000.
The career is highly mobile, and many experienced workers' compensation claims adjusters can work from home using a fax machine and e-mail. Adjusters spend a lot of time on the computer and at meetings with clients. Ideal candidates for this career have excellent communication skills and self-motivation. In addition, they must be highly organized and reliable, with problem-solving and time management skills.
The educational requirements for workers' compensation claims adjusters vary by position, and may include completion of a certificate, diploma, or bachelor's degree program. Some states require licensing of these professionals. Their median annual salary is about $63,000.