If you’re considering a career as a property claims adjuster, you have two basic career options: an Independent Claims Adjuster or a Staff Adjuster. While many of the duties are the same, a few aspects are different. Knowing and understanding the differences will help you determine which property adjuster career path is right for you.
Property Adjuster Career Duties
As a property adjuster, you go on high alert when there’s a fire, windstorm, or some other catastrophe. You can’t do anything, however, until you receive an assignment from an insurance company or claims management entity. Claim departments receive claims, assign them to adjusters and explain the services they require. While property damage evaluation is an adjuster’s primary duty, you may handle a wide range of critical tasks:
- Contact the property owner
- Inspect and photograph the property
- Document coverage issues
- Investigate the cause of the damage
- Appraise the property and contents damage
- Recommend a reserve to the insurance company
- Evaluate loss of use claims
- Coordinate repair costs with contractors
- Execute final settlement documents
Your assignments will vary depending on your property adjuster career status as an independent or staff adjuster.
Staff Insurance Adjuster
As a Staff Adjuster, you’re a salaried insurance company employee. You receive assignments solely from your employer and you go where they send you. They train you to handle claims based on their policies, standards, and instructions. While each company is different, you could be responsible for many of the tasks outlined above. You could also be on call 24 hours a day.
To ensure your property adjuster career functionality, your employer may provide a company car, phone, camera, and laptop. As you grow in experience, you may qualify for promotions and salary increases. You’ll also have greater authority and more responsibilities:
- Responsibility for all tasks from initial contact to final document execution
- Resolution of coverage issues
- Authority to settle claims within a certain dollar limit
- A consistent paycheck regardless of your workload
Independent Claims Adjuster
As an independent claims adjuster, you work when and where you want and choose your own hours. You set up your own office, supply your own equipment, and use your own vehicle. Independent adjusters provide services for more than one insurance company, but it’s up to you to establish and maintain a profitable workflow.
Independent adjusters perform specifically assigned tasks. While some insurance companies assign claims for full adjustment (initial contact through final release), because of the expenses involved, they rarely relinquish complete control. More frequently, companies assign a claim for inspection and damage evaluation only. Such limited assignments can limit your income. Fortunately, as an independent, you can increase your earnings potential by controlling your activities.
- Work for more than one company
- Complete limited assignments quickly
- Work as much as you want to earn as much as you want
- Freedom to find CAT work in other areas
As a property claims adjuster, you’ll have more flexibility than a traditional nine to five job. You won’t be tethered to an office or a desk eight hours a day. You’ll spend a great deal of time on the road as performing your job effectively requires face-to-face contact. You’ll work as a self-starter and set your own schedule.
You can also choose the property adjuster career track that gives you the level of independence you prefer. If you decide to be an independent adjuster, you’ll operate your own small business, market your services and bring in your own clients. If you choose to become an IA, Adjusting to 6 Figures will be there to provide advice, education, and networking opportunities as you grow your new career.