Getting Started as an Adjuster
So what makes a good insurance claims adjuster?
It goes without saying that the first step in getting started is to get positioned to work all types of claims in as many states as possible. To do this, you need the Texas All Lines Adjuster license. Having an All Lines Adjuster License enables you to work the following; Fire, Personal Injury, Auto, Residential, Commercial, Inland Marine, Ocean Marine and Worker’s Compensation. The Texas P&C offers all the same advantages of the All Lines with the exception of being able to work Worker’s Compensation claims. Having a license with TEXAS gives you reciprocity in over 30 other states. When disaster strikes, you will get a call from one of the Adjusting Firms (IA or CAT firms) you are registered with. Typically you will have 48 to 72 hours to arrive at your assigned designation. So you have to be prepared to leave within hours of their notification. There is no time to pass the state’s exam you are being deployed to. Nor will there be time to take their pre-licensing course. That is why it is important to have reciprocity with the storm damaged state. This means in most cases all you have to do is apply for their license.
If you live in one of the following 20 states, you can get the Texas All Lines or Texas P&C license without any other license:
Alaska / Colorado / Connecticut / Washington D.C. / Illinois / Iowa / Kansas / Maryland / Massachusetts / Missouri / Nebraska / New Jersey / New Mexico / North Dakota / Ohio / Pennsylvania / South Dakota / Tennessee / Virginia / Wisconsin
However, if you live in one of the other states, you need to get your home state’s adjuster license first, then the Texas adjuster license.
For most deployments you will be assigned a stack of claims you will download before you leave. It is important that you contact all of them ASAP and set appointments. Time management is essential, so logistics is a major consideration in setting those appointments. Remember that your clients’ time is also valuable. Notifying them if you are going to be late will go a long way in gaining their trust and confidence.
Being sympathetic to the customer’s situation is crucial. If you do your best to relate to their needs, you will act appropriately. Also, prompt and constant communication must be a priority. You are going to be dealing with all kinds of people in different stages of panic! Good people skills are required. And most importantly, you need to understand that you are representing the Insurance Company. Most of the time you will be the only contact they have with the company. It is vital that your handling of the claim is professional in every aspect.
Just getting started in a new industry is always tough. Remember your objective in any claim situation, is to restore the insured’s assets to a pre-loss condition. Do this as best you can given the parameters of their insurance agreement. Not all aspects of a claim are easily discernible. Many times you must be able to bring common sense, personal judgement and experience to the claim. Never underestimate the insured’s comprehension of the policy and their desire to get a settlement larger than allowed for.
You must be good with the estimating software the insurance company uses. This will be the main factor in your success. This can not be stressed enough! Practice, practice, practice. You must also master scoping the loss, policy evaluation, measuring and taking photos. A fundamental knowledge of construction will also be beneficial.
In this profession, insurance claims adjusters have a lot of latitude over many situations. Abuse of this authority in the way of bribes or kickbacks is strongly prohibited. Nothing will end your career faster than this sort of violation. Integrity is crucial, and a good reputation will serve you well.
Understand that every disaster and every claim will bring their own set of challenges. You are going to have computer problems, software issues, wi-fi difficulties, power outages and downed cell towers. You will also face road closures and hotels at 100% capacity. Adverse weather conditions, abusive customers and language barriers are a few more things you may have to contend with. Many times you are going to feel completely overwhelmed. Needless to say, the ability to adapt and overcome is rather important. Remember, if just anyone could do this they wouldn’t need you. Keep a positive attitude and embrace the chaos. Don’t forget you are getting paid extremely well to make it happen!
If you are ready for a new career as an
Insurance Claims Adjuster,
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Getting Started as an Adjuster