In today’s modern world, most adults find themselves taking out insurance for one reason or the other. During their lifetime, some people file a claim with the insurance company. Filing an insurance claim can prove to be a tedious exercise; it’s for this reason that some people opt to hire the services of a qualified public insurance adjuster to help with negotiations and the process as a whole.
If you like helping people, this could be one of the best career paths you can choose. To become a public adjuster, you need to have a high school diploma, knowledge of the industry, and a state-issued public adjuster license. These three are just the minimum requirements necessary to become a public adjuster. However, for you to get clients, you need to offer more than just basic knowledge. To increase your chance in this industry, you may have to obtain a college degree, gain experience working in a related field, and receive additional certifications.
The road to becoming a public adjuster is long. However, it’s not necessarily complicated. Here are a few things you need to know about public adjusters.
What Does a Public Adjuster Do?
As a public adjuster, your work mainly involves helping a policyholder who has filed a claim receive their full dues. Public adjusters work similarly to claims adjusters; they visit the scene and investigate what happened, what caused it, the liable parties, and evaluate the cost of the damage. The only difference between these professions is that the claims adjuster works for the insurance firm while the public adjuster works for the policyholder. Aside from negotiating on behalf of their clients, public adjusters also.
• Request medical, police records, or any other reports related to the claim.
• They also gather all documentation that supports the claim. These include witness statements, photographs, or videos.
• Interview witnesses present during the accident or when the damage occurred.
To become a successful adjuster, you need to be a skilled communicator, have excellent time management skills, and critical thinker. You may also need some basic knowledge of financial accounting. Here is a guide to help you know what you need to qualify as a public adjuster.
Complete your Education
The first step to becoming a public adjuster is to complete your general education. The minimum level of education required is a high school diploma or an equivalent GED. A college degree may come in handy due to the detailed technical knowledge and advanced communication skills needed to relay the information. A college degree also helps to strengthen your resume. However, remember that only licensed lawyers can become public adjusters in states such as Alabama.
When choosing a major to help strengthen your analysis skills, oral and written communication skills, interpersonal skills, and math, you can consider the following disciplines:
• Risk Management.
• Business Administration.
• Forensic Science.
• Technical Writing.
Acquire Industry Knowledge
As a public adjuster, you need to specialize in a specific area. For instance, you can choose to work with small businesses. In this case, you need to gather adequate knowledge on the industry and how it’s run. On top of that, you need to review all the concepts required to pass the state licensing exam. These exams vary from one state to another. However, as a public adjuster, you need to build a solid foundational knowledge of insurance. Some of the basics include:
• General insurance knowledge.
• Specific knowledge regarding insurance claims.
• Laws and regulations related to insurance.
• Parts of an insurance policy.
There are several ways to gain industry insights. You can choose to pursue a career in the insurance industry, work as a claims adjuster for an insurance firm or enroll in a training course.
Apply for a License
Having learned all you need to know about the job, it’s time to apply for a license. Public adjusters are required by law to have a license to provide their services. However, this law doesn’t apply in Alabama, where only attorneys can become adjusters, or in Arkansas, where public adjusters are banned from practice. Different states have different rules and regulations regarding licensing. However, they all need to comply with the Public Adjuster Licensing Model Act. This document provides the minimum standards to be included when drafting the state licensing requirements. A licensing exam is a common factor among all these states.
Public Adjustment, most of the time, goes beyond working in one state. This means you have to research the individual state licensing requirements and ensure you meet all the requirements. In some cases, you may have to take multiple exams to acquire several licenses allowing you to operate across various borders.
Buy a Public Adjuster Bond
Several states in the United States require a public adjuster to hold a surety bond to get a license. A Surety Bond is added as a requirement to motivate public adjusters and ensure they comply with the state’s laws and regulations. These bonds vary from one state to another. However, the cost of a surety bond is dependent on how much the bond is worth and the rate offered based on your credit history. When applying for your license, be sure to include the cost of the bond required.
Keep your License in Good Standing
A public adjuster’s license is usually valid for two years from the day it is issued. This means you need to regularly renew your license for it to be in good standing. The requirements and fees related to renewing your license vary from state to state. However, all states require public adjusters to complete 24-hr educational training every two years. When pursuing a certification or furthering your studies, the course needs to be approved by the state commissioner. You also need to dedicate part of your studies to topics related to business ethics.
As stated before, it may be best to get additional certifications to improve your chances of getting clients or even securing a job with an Adjusting firm. Some of the most popular options include
• Senior Professional Public Adjuster.
• Carrier-Specific Certifications.
• Auto Appraiser.
How Does a Public Adjuster Find Work
Most public adjusters work independently, offering freelance services. However, you can choose to work for Adjusting firms such as Day Adjusting & Consulting, where you will through a conventional work experience. Regardless of how you choose to provide your services, it’s best to network constantly. This way, you can create a strong network of potential clients. It’s also in your best interest to join Groups such as the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters and the American Association of Public Insurance Adjusters. These groups offer access to training and networking events.