Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators essential career information:
- 2011 median pay: $59,320
- 2011, number of jobs: 263,810
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 3 percent
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators; what they do:
Claims adjusters (sometimes spelled “adjustors”), appraisers, examiners, and investigators have a love-hate relationship with people. They review all insurance claims and decide if an insurance company must pay a claim, and if so, how much.
Insurance claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators closely review and settle insurance claims, determining how much of a claim the insurance company should cover. In order to fully investigate claims and avoid fraud, insurance claims adjusters contact doctors, employers, and legal counsel for additional information and questions regarding claims. Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners and investigators also authorize payments and keep all claims files on record.
Claims adjusters may work for companies or as self-employed public adjusters. Some Self-employed claim adjusters work for individuals not interested in working with the insurance company’s claim adjuster. Not all insurance companies keep an insurance claims adjusters on staff; rather, they may hire self-employed claims adjusters as needed.
An insurance claims adjuster career includes inspecting property (home, business or automobile) and determining the amount of money insurance companies should pay for the loss. An insurance claims adjuster career also includes gathering detailed information and pictures surrounding the claim, which they compile into a report used by a claims examiner when evaluating and settling the claim.
A claims examiner career involves reviewing claims to assure claimants and adjusters have followed the guidelines. Claims examiners usually work for life or health insurance companies.
An appraiser career involves estimating the value of an insured item. Auto damage appraisers are the most common appraisers.
An insurance investigator career includes investigating claims insurance companies suspects as fraudulent or criminal.
Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators job titles:
- Claims Examiner
- Claims Adjuster
- Claims Specialist
- Claims Analyst
- Insurance Investigators
- Claims Representative
- Damage Appraiser
- Claims Manager
Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners, and Investigators Education, Certification and License Requirements
Claims adjusters (adjustors), appraisers, examiners, and investigators need at least a high school diploma or equivalent. However, some employers seek claims adjusters with a bachelor’s degree, insurance-related work experience, or vocational training.
Most auto damage appraisers have completed a 2-year program in auto body repair or work experience identifying and estimating damage in an auto repair shop. They receive on-the-job training from a more experienced appraiser for several months until the employer determines the new appraiser is ready to handle claims on his own.
Education requirements vary widely depending on the individual’s chosen focus within this career field. For instance, those focused on claims of financial loss due to strikes or merchandise damage benefit from a business or accounting background. An insurance claims adjuster focused on industrial claims benefits most from college training in architecture or engineering. A claims adjuster focused on worker’s compensation and product liability claims benefits most from a legal background. A medical background helps claims adjusters focused on medical and life insurance claims.
Insurance investigators typically need a high school diploma or equivalent. Businesses tend to hire insurance investigators with prior experience as law enforcement officers, private investigators, claims adjusters, or examiners for their interviewing and interrogation skills.
Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigator all begin with small claims and work with a more experienced individual. Gradually, they are assigned larger claims and given more independent work as they gain experience.
Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators programs cover subjects such as:
- Problem solving
- Analytical thinking
Licensing requirements for claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators vary by state. In some cases, a claims adjuster working for an insurance company can simply work under the company license, rather than obtaining a personal license.
States requiring licenses also require continuing education credits each year. Claims adjusters can meet this requirement through attending classes, workshops, writing articles for claims publications, or by giving lectures and presentations.
Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners, and Investigators Job Outlook
Forecast: Three percent employment growth from 2010 to 2020 for claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators, on par with the average for all occupations.
The health insurance industry plays a large part in the employment growth forecast for insurance claims adjusters. Federals laws requiring individuals to have medical coverage should increase the need for claims adjusters. Rising medical costs and an increase in claims as people age also requires more insurance claims adjusters to more closely review insurance claims. The increasing number of natural disasters also increases the need for claims adjusters specializing in property and casualty insurance.
The improved safety of automobiles has reduced the number of claims and the overall employment for claim adjusters specializing in auto damage claims.
Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners, and Investigators Salary
- 2011 median annual wage: $59,320
- 2011, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $74,210
- 2011, workers at the 25% percentile annual wage: $45,390
- Direct insurance (except life, health, and medical) carriers
- Federal government
- Other insurance related activities
- State and local government
- Management of companies and enterprises