With the economy moving (or not moving) as it is now, many people are looking for a new career, or to expand their skills in a similar field. Becoming an Insurance Claims Adjuster could be your step to new and more income.
As you check it out, questions come to mind, like “What type of training do I need? What type of licensing do I need? Where will I find a job?”
Let’s address these and more to help you sort through what may seem confusing. Not all of the questions have simple answers.
One of the first questions you need to answer is “What type of adjuster do I want to be?”
There are several options, but the most common is a CAT (“Catestrophic”) adjuster. This is the most common way to get your foot in the door and get the experience that will qualify you to do other things in your new profession. So let’s investigate what it takes to become a CAT adjuster.
A CAT adjuster is someone who works as an independent adjuster for a CAT company who receives a large number of claims. This is usually the result of a hurricane, hail storm, or flood (catastrophe). There are many types of events that happen all over the US that you may or may not even hear about that affect the property of a lot of people.
When these events happen, the insurance company has a legal responsibility to respond quickly to the claim. So the insurance companies use CAT companies to handle the large volume of claims. These companies contract with individual claims adjusters who are licensed to work in those states to get the claims done in a reasonable amount of time.
To become an independent adjuster, first you need to have a license to do the work.
The licenses are regulated on a state by state level. Your first question is to figure out what states you would most likely work in. Then you look at the state you live in.
I happen to live in Texas which is a gulf state with a lot of storm activity and people in it. Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas are all great places to be licensed. Texas offers a few advantages in getting your license there though. If you have a Texas license it’s easy to get your other licenses through reciprocity. That’s a big word that essentially means “other states honor your Texas license.” This is a discussion for another article, but meanwhile, trust me that Texas is a great place to start!
There are several options to obtaining a license.
You can take a state test at one of their testing centers or take an approved licensing class from a certified training company. There are both online and live training classes.
Most people (as in 99%), take the licensing classes instead of the state test. The main advantage is the class will provide you with all the knowledge to pass the test at the end of the course. So you’re not left trying to figure out what to study. The classes are mandated by the state to contain 40 hours of material. The state considers passing the course the same as passing their exam.
Not all classes are equal.
As with anything, you have good classes and bad classes, but all will get you the coveted certificate that you can send in to apply for your adjuster license with the state.
In Texas, you’re required to get fingerprints and a photo along with your certificate to submit to the state for your license. A couple of training companies, like 2021Training.com, will walk you through this process. Once you’ve obtained your license, you’ll need to get some follow up training to prepare yourself to work.
The first thing you need to learn is a software program called Xactimate®. This is the software tool used by most adjusting companies to document damage to a property and assign values to its repair. So if you have one side of your home and roof damaged by hail, Xactimate will be what you use to write up the actual estimate. 2021Training has an excellent online program that is designed specifically for training new adjusters in the use of Xactimate.
Be sure to take a Practical Adjusting class that will give you a walk through of your job and duties as an independent adjusters. You have to remember that as an independent adjuster, insurance companies are expecting you to be productive the moment you start work. They are not there to train you. It is your responsibility to come prepared. 2021Training has a Practical Adjusting class that is second to none. It walks you through all aspects of being a new adjuster. They teach you about what tools to acquire and what duties you will be expected to perform and how to do them. You can be confident and productive from your very first day on the job.
Once you have been licensed and trained, your final step is to start making application to CAT companies. The goal is to get on their roster for the next catastrophe that comes up.
Insurance Adjusting is a great career with great job security. Start your training today!
Bob Kramer has been an adjuster for several years, and shares from real property adjusting field experience. He writes for active and aspiring claims adjusters, sharing How-To information and stories from the field. His goal is to help adjusters become effective and profitable.