Claims adjusters do the foot work for the insurance company that employees them, when an insurance claim has been filed. Their job is to investigate the insurance claim from all sides, work up an estimate as to damages, attempt to negotiate a settlement, and do all of this while not violating the claimants' legal rights in any fashion.
The division of labor among insurance specialists has adjusters managing the procedures required for processing a claim. An adjuster will do the investigatory work by inspecting property damage, interviewing any witnesses or law enforcement officials involved as well as the claimant and other parties involved. The adjuster will consult experts on damage assessments and attempt a negotiated settlement.
There are no formal requirements for educational attainment for an insurance adjuster's position. However employers prefer new hires that have some post-secondary education. The statistics for all claims adjusters, examiners and appraisers show that 45% of them have a bachelor's degree; 12% hold an associate's degree, 5% have a graduate degree and 17% have some college experience but no degree. Some states require licensure, and in some states adjusters may work under their employer's license.
There were 319,000 claims adjusters, appraisers and examiners working in 2006, according to the Department of Labor. Only 13,000 of these worked in the auto appraisal field.
The employment opportunities in this field are expected to grow about as fast as the average growth rate for all jobs over the next several years. Competition in the field is expected to be steep, however.
10th Percentile $34,140
Median Salary $55,760
90th Percentile $84,260
Source: U.S. Department of Labor