Insurance Adjuster/Examiner  What They Do

Just the Facts

Insurance Adjusters, Examiners, and Investigators Career Video

Insider Info

dotInsurance is an essential part of our modern world.

When disaster strikes a community - fire, chemical spill or hurricane -- insurance adjusters are among the first on the scene.

"Insurance adjusters help organize temporary repairs so that partially damaged buildings won't be further damaged. They arrange for building materials and workmen to be brought in. And they start issuing checks for repair, replacement and temporary accommodation." That's according to Patricia Battle. She's the executive director of an insurance association.

The kind of work insurance adjusters do is growing, she adds. "Insurance people are involved in space programs, in multi-national exploration activities and in environmental concerns. Communications satellites need to be insured, and so do professional hockey teams."

dot "Insurance is meant to make someone whole after a loss." That's according to Donna Popow, a senior director of Knowledge Resources at The Institutes.

"The adjuster will go out and investigate the circumstances of the loss, view the damage, often times prepare an estimate, determine if the loss is covered and then negotiate a settlement with the insured. The adjuster is the one who keeps the insurance company's promise to pay."

According to Popow, there are several different types of adjusters.

One of these is a staff adjuster who works for an insurance company. "These adjusters are often divided into field or road adjusters and desk adjusters."

Another is an independent adjuster who is hired by the insurance company to handle losses that their staff can't handle. "Public adjusters who are hired by the policyholder to represent their interests in a claim," explains Popow.

The third type of adjuster is a catastrophe adjuster. These individuals are often staff or independent adjusters trained to handle catastrophe losses.

dot "Adjusters can be specialists in a specific type of business," Popow adds. For example, there are adjusters who only handle auto damage claims or auto injury claims. There are adjusters who only handle homeowners' claims or commercial property claims. There are adjusters who only handle workers compensation claims.

There are adjusters who specialize in ocean cargo claims, inland marine claims, professional liability claims, aviation claims, fine arts claims, environmental liability claims.

dotAdjusters work mostly 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. But hours can vary. That's especially true during times when it is necessary to help people quickly, such as following a disaster. Sitting in front of a computer all day can be hard on the body. Long hours on the road and high stress levels can take a heavy toll. Many insurance companies now offer wellness programs to help their employees live healthier lives.

dot Popow predicts there will always be a need for adjusters.

"Despite the increasing use of technology, some losses will always require a person to investigate them in order to properly evaluate the extent of the damage and the cause of the loss."

However, she notes, the trend in the adjusting world has been toward more extensive use of technology in both the investigation and evaluation of damages. "So adjusters will need to be comfortable with technology and constant change."

Just the Facts

Want a quick overview of what this career is about?Check out Just the Facts for simple lists of characteristics.

At a Glance

Review and settle insurance claims

  • You must have good people skills
  • You can be an insurance company adjuster, public adjuster or independent adjuster
  • In some states, you'll have to be licensed