How much does a claims adjuster make?

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:25 am   Post subject: How much does a claims adjuster make?  

I looking at becoming an insurance adjuster. I've been in residential design, surveying, scouting, and construction for 19 years. It seems there would be a need for adjusters at the hard hit areas of the USA and i was wondering if this is a good field to be in. How much money can an adjuster make? How difficult is it to become one? - thanks!!!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:51 am   Post subject:   

First, no one is going to hire someone to work in those areas if they don't have a number of years experience. Being able to build something is completely different then adjusting a claim. To adjust a claim you need to be able to scope a loss, know the policy providing coverage and know the local insurance laws. In many cases, unless you works for an insurance company directly, you may need an adjusters license as well.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 5:09 am   Post subject:   

Most importantly you are required to obtain the license to operate as an adjuster in your area. The state licensing authority will require you to appear for the licensing exam before they can issue you the adjuster's license.



You are required to take up the pre-licensing classes to prepare yourself for the licensing test. Normally, the states require the applicant to complete forty hours of training classes before becoming eligible for the licensing exam. Find out with your state's department of insurance, it might have the details that may be necessary for you to begin with.



~Jeremy

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 11:28 am   Post subject:   

As the others have said, some states require licensing some do not..you certainly require training, if you work for a carrier they generally will provide their own training..it takes a good 2 years or better on the job to half way know what you're doing...



As to the money...well it's ok, but if you're looking to get rich...not so much... Rolling Eyes



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:43 am   Post subject: how much can an adjuster make  

Interesting question. I made $113K last year. About 20% expenses. I took a course with TIA, TexasInsuranceAcademy.com and earned the license in 3 days. I'd been a roofer for 12 years so you'd have to consider that your pay is production driven. I climbed about 7 roofs a day for 8 months to make that 113k.



Give it a try. You've only got one life to live.



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 6:29 am   Post subject:   

Nathan is a CAT adjuster and that is what you seem to want to become. I’m guessing on this as most daily adjusters are not going to become rich. Can they live a nice life, sure… but they are not going to make 6 figures year in and year out. Now for every Nathan (113K) there are probably around 5 Nathans that drop out or are kicked off heir first storm. To be a productive CAT that gets and keeps assignments, your normal day starts at between 5 or 6 AM - setting up your day. You go out around 7 AM and battle washed out roads, 90 degree plus days (most cats are in the south) while seeing 8 to 10 houses per day. Once you get back to your hotel or shanty depending on the circumstances you jam some food in your face and write up estimates/diagrams, mount photos and write reports until about 2 or 3 in the morning. Once you have done this for about 6 to 8 months (if you are doing a good job and haven’t been let go by your vendor) you get to go home and hope for another storm soon.



The above also does not account for you having to purchase at least the following: digital camera, ladder to get you on every roof you need to, lap top, mapping program, estimating software (Simsol, Xactimate – sometimes both depending on what different carriers require), up front money for transportation (Good adjusting vehicle & gas), lodging, food. This also doesn’t include any license you need. It has been estimated that you need at least 10K to get started. And this should be cash as you don’t want to start using a credit card only to be kicked off a storm. There are also many non-financial difficulties – being away from family for months on end, living to work and not working to live, leaving whatever you are doing at the drop of hat to get to a storm (you never turn down work cause you most likely won’t be called the next time).



Kicked off a storm – Once somewhat experienced and accepted by a vendor, your called by your vendor and told to be somewhere in x number of days and handed 40, 60, 100 files. Most carriers require that calls are made to every insured within a couple days. That does mean just the ones you are setting up, that means all of them. Ever try to call 100 people get 20 live and leave 80 messages – you’re getting a lot of phone calls back with everyone wanting to see you yesterday. Someone without much experience starts over extending themselves with inspections and leaves their paperwork lagging behind. Now after a week, you have inspected 40 houses but have not written up any reports/estimates. Now you have your field supervisor on you to get these done, plus every insured wanting to meet. You try and balance it and run yourself into the ground until you shut down (physically, mentally or both) and nothing gets done. At best case, you get the assignments that you didn’t inspect pulled and given to another adjuster. At worst case, they pull them all and you are left holding a debt for your time and expense. All of this doesn’t include reports/estimates that are kicked back to you for corrections from the file reviewer. These you need to fit in during your write up time to make any corrections needed and then send back in, hoping that they won’t be kicked back again.



Being kicked off a storm is putting the cart before the horse. You first have to be placed on a vendor’s list to even be called for a storm. This usually requires marketing yourself to the vendor or knowing someone. Vendors tend to call adjusters that they have experience with leaving new adjusters sitting by the phone. After the 4 hurricanes in FL in 2004 and Katrina, the adjusting field exploded with visions of dollar signs dancing in people's heads. Since then there really hasn’t been much activity to supply all the existing and new adjusters work. So who do you think is getting the call? Many newer adjusters that did average or below average work and some that did above average work have now found a new career in the food service industry. Others keep a second or third job to compensate a low flow of claims.



Before all of this, you need experience or you’ll never get work. A construction background is always good, but I have seen some contractors fail as they fall back into writing estimates as a contractor and not an adjuster (not everything is covered). CAT adjusting is typically easier in regards to policy language since they are normally hail, hurricane/wind or ice storms. Hail and wind is easy, the biggest problem with hurricane is normally what damage is from wind and what is from flood, ice storms can be tricky for interior damage depending on what type of policy is in effect (HO DP). With no basis of coverage knowledge, you can get yourself in trouble. If your vendor does not supply it, you will also need to purchase E&O coverage (errors and omissions).



So with all that said, there are CAT adjuster that can’t make a living and ones that have made above 300K per year gross. I was once told that if you are getting into adjusting or CAT adjusting for the money you are in it for the wrong reasons, due to the limited information above. So yes, you could be the next Nathan or you could be out a lot of money asking someone if they want fries with that shake.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 11:49 am   Post subject:   

Cat adjusters typcially make more than an independent or company adjuster...but boy do they earn it...I've worked cats (for the companys i have worked for) but not a storm chaser...maybe after retirement? hmmmmm...



Independents, some make a good living some don't it depends on the company you work for and if they pay hourly or commision and the amount of work they get..



company adjuster: most I think with zero experience coming in probably make mid thirtys? that sound about right guys? If you are experienced and be at it a long time (like me) then you make a good living...not as much as nat..about half that..



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:03 pm   Post subject:   

Most independents are now only making 50% of the fee amount of a claim, with the company taking 50%. You have to watch the wording in the contact though as some expenses are backed out of your 50%, which can leave you with a lot less then you think. You also have to watch what carriers your company is working for. Many carriers are pinching independent companies into low fees or flat fees for claims. Some claims you can spend a lot more time on then you are getting paid.



Lori, I would agree that most staff is starting around 25 to 30 K with little to no experience, in the Midwest. The ceiling is around mid 60s with no management rolls. I'm sure that some start lower and some get higher, but this is an average.



I’ve seen some CAT adjusters have real good set ups. One guy hired 3 others and paid them a percentage of what he made. One would make initial contact and set appointments, one would do diagrams and estimates, and he and the other one would conduct inspections. This is frown upon by vendors, but this is the guy that pulled 300K per year for a number of years.



Lori, I would think about working CATs once my kid is older, but I think I would limit myself to hail or wind. I want no part of ice damming claims up north or hurricane claims down south. Just keep me in the Midwest. An auto appraiser that would do work for me worked some CATs a few years ago. He would make a killing on hail storms as he had an in with a carrier that covered large dealerships. All the cars need inspected and someone has to get paid to do it.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:58 pm   Post subject:   

Our kids are grown, and I've thought that after I retire, maybe doing some cat (auto hail ONLY) claims...I had a boss that retired, (young about 55) sold house, lock, stock and barrel. He and his wife purchased a 200k motor home, and he went 'stormin'...he loved it...and made a good supplemental income to his retirement.AND got to write off alot of his motor home, and of course mileage etc.....I like you though would be realllllllly picky about where I went...I'd likely stay close to home too (midwest)... Wink I know nothing about hurricanes, or earth quakes, and don't want to know anything about them either! Laughing



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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 7:07 pm   Post subject:   

This is one of the best positions in insurance business and so you will be able to made 100.000 dollar per year at maxium. This depends on your qualification, the company and how good you do your business.

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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 11:02 pm   Post subject:   

Sabi, just curious what would make you say that this is one of the best job in insurance?



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:12 am   Post subject: CAT  

New to the insurance thing. What is CAT?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:31 am   Post subject:   

Short for CATastrophe.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:37 am   Post subject:   

A CAT adjuster is a chiropractor for felines.



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:45 pm   Post subject:   

@Dasfuk, that is the funniest thing I've ever read, busted out laughing!!!



On your previous post, thanks! That was very thorough, you obviously took a good time to write a very, very enlightening post! I've been working 6 years as an agent in an office, bored beyond death, that's actually the kind of challenge I'm looking forward to, you made it look very REAL for me, thanks again


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