Note: This is a revised and updated version of an article originally published in March 2009.
B ecoming an insurance adjuster is probably not on most third grader’s list of who they want to be when they grow up.
It certainly wasn’t on mine. But when reality sets in, as it has a habit of doing, and you find that at age 28 you still haven’t fulfilled your third-grade destiny as zookeeper or astronaut, it’s time to look at some alternative career options. As I discovered, through good fortune, insurance claims adjusting happens to be a seldom considered gem of a career move. Working as a claims adjuster, specifically an independent insurance adjuster, has some extremely attractive features that may surprise you. Here are just three:
Benefit 1: Outstanding income potential
If you were told you could make $1,500 a day working as an independent claims adjuster you might reasonably assume that the person who told you this was unwell or trying to sell you something. Those numbers, when stretched over a period of several months, approach salaries of accomplished doctors, attorneys, or business execs. Unbelievable? I would think so.
But the reality is this – every year independent claims adjusters make tens of thousands of dollars in very short periods of time working catastrophic insurance claims.
When a major hurricane like Sandy hits, or you have an outbreak of tornadoes like we experienced in 2011 when Joplin was devastated, thousands of independent adjusters working the affected regions will average well over $400 per claim they close. A catastrophic adjuster with basic proficiency should close 2-3 claims per day. That equates to $800 to $1200 daily. An outstanding adjuster can close in excess of 5 claims per day. Career cat adjusters should earn well in excess of $100,000 yearly. Some years the work will come from spectacular disasters that get national media attention like those mentioned above. Most years, the work will come from hail storms, isolated wind events, ice storms and flooding.
Be it hurricane, tornado, hail, or earthquake – when the seasons bring inclemency, independent adjusters arrive to help pick up the pieces.
They are compensated extremely well for their efforts. For more information, check out How Much Do Insurance Adjusters Make?
Benefit 2: Relative ease of adjuster certification
Most careers with earnings potential comparable to independent insurance adjusting require 4 to 8 years of college and post graduate study. You can complete your basic educational requirements in a matter of days. Pre-licensing
courses. especially those that are online, can help you obtain your required state license in short order.
Obtaining certification obviously doesn’t mean automatic employment or even that you are actually qualified to do the job. Further training is recommended to bolster weak spots in your professional profile.
A sound claims adjuster must possess strong people skills, above average computer proficiency, and some construction and insurance policy related knowledge.
Programs like AdjusterPro’s Total Adjuster Training Program. were designed specifically to help you round out your qualifications and give you an edge in finding a great job.
Becoming a doctor takes 8 to 12 years after high school. You can become a licensed, trained, and mobile claims adjuster ready to begin your career in under a month. Taken in this context, claims adjusting offers an unprecedented Return on Investment.
Benefit 3: Be your own boss
Working as an independent adjuster means just that – working independently. Claims adjusting is not a 9 to 5 office job where you punch a time card. You are given a set of claims, managed in the cloud, and are expected to author the claims handling procedure yourself from start to finish. This means your time, space, and resources are your own. You determine just how good you are – not your boss. You determine how long of a day you will work – not your boss.
And you decide ultimately how much money you will make. This is a liberating and empowering feeling.
There is a mistaken notion that any career associated with insurance is inherently dry, uninteresting and tangled in convoluted policies and unsavory business tactics. Claims adjusting proves this false.
Imagine the sincere gratitude and respect with which most claimants greet you as you take on their claim. And when you consider that you are not really the strong arm of Big Insurance but the firm hand picking up those who are down, its evident that claims adjusting isn’t your typical insurance gig.
You can get out of the cubicle and into the field and make a fantastic living helping people put their lives back together. You may not have had a career as an insurance adjuster on your list of who you wanted to be when you grew up, but you probably did have something that was adventurous and helped people. It may come as a surprise but insurance claims adjusting offers just that, and the added opportunity to make an outstanding income while doing so.