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Insurance Claims adjusters here?

Old 07-15-2009, 11:32 AM
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Question Insurance Claims adjusters here?

How do you get a job doing this? I talked to a guy just a minute ago that works for a bunch of different companies but didn't get a chance to ask him how he got started doing it. Is there licensing that is required?
I love to drive and am good at documenting w/ a camera so I feel this job would be perfect for me. Plus I gotta find something quick before this job dries up completely.

Anyone have any knowledge they can share on the subject? Do you recommend this field of work?
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Old 07-15-2009, 12:10 PM
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I was an insurance adjuster in the automotive/casualty claims arena for a few years. Now is definitely not the time to be getting into adjusting. Insurance companies rely on financial markets to make their profit. Claims is almost always a losing business for any insurance company, so the health of the organization is always tied to steady premiums and a burgeoning financial market where they can invest. Right now, claims departments are likely under-staffed, and over-worked with the current claims volume, and most carriers probably don't have plans to hire soon, unless it's for a replacement.

That said, you'll probably need a Bachelor's degree to work with a big carrier. Business is always a desirable degree, as well as English, but truthfully, just about anything will do. You'll start as a trainee. Necessary certifications/licensure will vary by state. If you work for a big carrier, you'll get this in training.

You can work for an independent adjusting company and do claims for private parties and/or multiple carriers (i.e. Geico, AIG, Farmers, etc). Or, you can work directly for a big carrier. There are benefits to each.

There's "inside" and "outside" adjusting. "Inside" refers to the bodily injury/liability and claims investigation portion (recorded statements, interviews, claims administration, injury tracking). "Outside" refers to the settling of property damage claims -- Meeting with customers, inspecting damaged vehicles, documenting with photos, writing estimates, getting vehicles moved to the correct locations, and working with body shops to get the repairs done as agreed.

If this board is any evidence, people hate insurance companies. Whether you're "inside" or "outside" it's the same. Sometimes it's nice to have a phone as a barrier between you and a customer, though. You're always dealing with sensitive subjects -- blame, money, someone's car, or treatment for an injury. The "general public" is not afraid to yell, swear, physically threaten, lie, cheat, or attempt to intimidate insurance adjusters. You will deal with this all day long. It's a thankless job, and even when you do it well, you're gonna get grilled.

Claims adjusters are paid okay to start. In our area (Seattle/NW), the going rate was about 35-45k/year in 2005-2006. It's an entry-level job but has some progression, i.e. Senior Adjuster, with some credentials, etc. You won't get rich adjusting claims, period.

There are two paths I saw in the industry: Lifers, those who adjust claims for life. Many of them had long broken away from their families and were alcoholics, or had been alcoholics on and off during their career. Stress made them gray and tired long before they were due. Most of them smoked and/or chewed. Heavily.

Or, there are those that hit adjusting hard and heavy for 5-7 years and then move on to something a little more lucrative and interesting (Special Investigations, Claims Unit Managers, Branch Managers) or they move to different departments within the company i.e. Accounting, marketing, biz dev, etc. Most adjusters burn out before 10 years. It's a job with ridiculously high turnover.

It's not such a bad gig, at the end of the day. It's hard work, and requires very thick skin. Good negotiation skills are a must. You have to be exceptional with people--very patient, forgiving, calm, and also very stern.
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