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What Does an Insurance Claims Adjuster Do?

By: Kaplan Financial Education
March 29, 2019
Tree on a damaged home representing a scene a claims adjuster would evaluate

Becoming an insurance claims adjuster is sometimes overlooked as a potential profession when someone is considering an insurance career. Insurance claims adjuster jobs can be a great option though; the need for adjusters remains consistent over time as catastrophes and accidents happen every day. Exactly what do insurance claims adjusters do in their day-to-day work? Read on to find out or learn how to become a claims adjuster.

Types of Insurance Claims Adjusters

There are a few different types of insurance claims adjusters, and each would influence what your day-to-day work would be like.

Staff Adjuster: A staff adjuster works full-time for one insurance adjuster firm exclusively. Generally, these positions mean that you are salaried and receive benefits from the firm, such as pension, life and health insurance, and continuing education training. Staff adjusters respond to claims for the one insurance company they work for. Often, these are car accident claims.

Independent Adjuster: Independent adjusters work as contractors for multiple insurance firms or third-party administrators. They often work with catastrophe claims and will travel to the impacted areas after major weather events or emergencies.

Public Adjuster: Public insurance adjusters work directly on behalf of policyholders. They help businesses or individuals file insurance claims if a proposed settlement seems unfit from an insurer. Generally, public adjusters are also contract workers rather than salaried.

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Claims Adjusting is Investigative Work

Regardless of what type of insurance claims adjuster you are, you will be doing investigative work. Once an insurance claim is filed, a claims adjuster is called in to take over the process. They gather information and details to work out what happened in the incident and find a fair settlement price. Some of the information a claims adjuster collects includes police reports, witness statements, photos of an incident, or property damage. If needed, a claims adjuster will conduct interviews with everyone involved in an incident.

Different types of adjusters have different goals. A public adjuster, for example, wants to get the highest possible amount paid to their claimant client, whereas a staff adjuster or independent adjuster for an insurance company works in the interest of the insurance company.

What Hours Do Claims Adjusters Work?

The hours claims adjusters work vary considerably. A staff adjuster for an insurance company may work regular 9 to 5 hours and rarely on weekends; independent or public adjusters are more likely to work irregular hours to accommodate client schedules and do investigative work.

Independent and public adjusters, in particular, may have to work well over 40 hours a week during catastrophic events. However, there will also be times during the year when their workload is much less. As a contract adjuster, they have more control over how much they want to work than a staff adjuster.

Getting Started as an Insurance Adjuster

To become an insurance adjuster, you will need a minimum education of a high school diploma or GED equivalent. While some insurance companies may require a bachelor’s or associate’s degree, it is not required to get into the profession in all cases.

In some states, you will also need to be licensed. Even if you don’t live in a state requiring a license, you may find it makes sense to get an out-of-state license so you are able to work throughout the country. If you want to do insurance claims adjusting after weather disasters or catastrophes, this will make the most sense for you. If you get licensed, you will need to maintain that license with continuing education. Each state has unique requirements, so it’s best that you consult your state website for details.


If you think this sounds like the right career for you, find out more about how to become an insurance claims adjuster. If you are interested in enrolling in insurance adjuster licensing exam prep, check out our adjuster licensing online course through Texas now.

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