Insurance Appraiser Jobs – Becoming An Insurance Appraiser – What’s Involved?
Insurance appraisers mainly assess the value or cost of an insured object in order to determine the appropriate amount of payout for insurance claim settlement. Most appraisers working for independent adjusting firms and insurance companies work in the auto insurance niche. They mainly inspect vehicles damaged in accidents to determine the cost of repair and seek agreement with the vehicle repair shop on cost of repair. The appraiser may take pictures of observable damage, interview witnesses and drives and assess how much should be paid for the repair costs as well as payment to claimants.
Information gathered by insurance adjusters is used in the preparation of insurance forms that indicate the repair estimates and final recommendations. This information is used by claim adjusters in determining the settlement amount or cost of repair. Since insurance appraiser jobs mainly entail assessing property damage, appraisers mainly work in the field as opposed to offices.
Qualifications and requirements for insurance adjusters
Although a high school diploma is the minimum educational requirement, it is vital for insurance appraisers to stay updated on claim laws, auto repair techniques, and policies. However, some employers prefer a college degree and some formal training preferably in auto body repair.
1. Earn a degree or certificate
The insurance appraiser must inspect damaged property and assess repair costs. Therefore, employers prefer candidates with knowledge or formal training in property repair especially auto body repair. Aspiring insurance appraisers may earn a technical certificate or associate’s degree in auto body repair technology at a vocational school or community college.
This equips the appraiser with relevant working knowledge and hands-on techniques using current practices and methods. Students are trained in diagnosing and recognizing automotive problems. Understanding the automobile design, glass installation, metalworking, frame alignment and painting is essential for an insurance appraiser.
Colleges and schools follow certification programs and industry training standards such as I-CAR.
Communication skills, record keeping and experience with computers and software are also important skills for a career as an insurance appraiser.
2. Become Professionally Licensed
Licensing requirements vary by state. Most states require individuals to pass the licensing exam basic pre-licensing education or experience. Candidates are often required to pay a
licensing fee and periodic renewal fees. Some states also require insurance appraisers to have yearly educational credits in order to obtain license renewal.
A driver’s license as well as a clean driving record is an added advantage since the appraiser must travel to automobile repair shops or body shops and accident sites.
3. Decide To Work With a Firm or Independently
Insurance appraiser jobs give candidates the freedom and flexibility to work independently as independent contractors or work with an insurance firm.
Therefore, it is vital to maintain familiarity with changing policies and laws. After obtaining a license, the appraiser needs to stay up to date on how courts handle insurance claims as well as new and changing federal and state laws. Appraisers may obtain continuing education through CASE (Continuing Automotive Service Education) program.
Main Work Activities for Insurance Appraisers
1. Assess property damage (vehicle damage).
2. Estimate damage.
3. Estimate repair costs (for parts and services).
4. Examine relevant equipment to detect disrepair.
5. Examine property to detect damage, malfunctions and maintenance needs.
6. Fill out government and business forms
7. Fill out the insurance forms to indicate repair cost estimates and recommendations.
8. Prepare cost estimates.
9. Use negotiation techniques
10. Write damage repair estimates.
Appraisers review the repair cost estimates with an automobile repair shop in order to secure a practical agreement on the cost of repairs. After examining damaged vehicles and determining the extent of body, structural, mechanical, interior or electrical damage, the appraiser may have the property appraised by another insurance appraiser in order to resolve disagreements with repair shops or suppliers on the cost. On the other hand, the appraiser refers all questionable claims to a claim adjuster or investigator for investigation or settlement.
Insurance appraiser jobs mainly entail the use parts cost manuals and standard automotive labor and the knowledge of property (automotive) repair to estimate the labor and parts required to repair damage. On the other hand, the appraiser must evaluate the practicality of property repair as opposed to the payment of the actual market value of a vehicle before accident. In case of total loss, the appraiser must determine the salvage value.