While at a recent conference, I met with both veteran and rookie claims adjusters from across the country. When discussing the types of insurance jobs we staff for, I observed how veteran claims adjusters immediately understood skill set requirements while those new to our industry thought that simply possessing an adjusting license was enough. The adjusting license is a BIG step and a necessity when you want to secure an insurance job, but what is the most important quality after licensing? Experience.
Obtaining your license will teach you the basics, but experience puts your knowledge to work.
When studying for your licensing exam, you’ll learn the basics about workers’ compensation claims or property losses. However, studying doesn’t teach you HOW to actually handle such claims. Yes, you’ll gain understanding in the steps to take, but a book won’t teach you how your claimants will react to said loss. A book won’t explain how long injuries will take to heal or how to talk a claimant into getting their damaged property inspected. Experience will. The longer you are a claims adjuster, the more knowledge you’ll have to handle everything from disgruntled claimants, to settling a claim.
A license won’t turn you into a claims adjuster, experience will.
In his book ‘8 Characteristics of the Awesome Adjuster’, Carl Van describes his experience of estimating total losses on cars in a tow yard. He would receive his daily assignments and head out in rain, snow or sunshine – to begin his total loss assessments. When it was raining, many of his fellow appraisers would simply call the insured to ask about optional vehicle equipment. These appraisers would then report on what they’d been told. Mr. Van on the other hand, would trek out and complete inventory with a keen attention to detail.
His efforts paid off when one of his assessments was inspected by the tow yard owner who thought he was lying about a 1974 Toyota pick up truck having cruise control. They inspected the truck in question and Mr. Van was in fact correct – the owner of the vehicle was a mechanic who had installed the cruise control himself. Carl Van is an excellent example of how the successful Claims Adjuster works tirelessly thus gaining experience along the way.
Now, experience is what you need but how do you get it?
Many insurance companies and TPA’s (Third Party Administrators) offer claims adjuster trainee positions. When considering one of these claims jobs, be sure to tailor your resume to the type of trainee position. A standard resume won’t cut it here.
If you want to be a Workers’ Compensation Claims Adjuster and you’re a Registered Nurse, highlight your previous injury-related experience and use your medical terminology to convince hiring managers you’ll be a great fit.
If you want to be a Property Damage Claims Adjuster, list applicable property experience, certifications, and seminars attended. Use property damage terminology to show you have an understanding of the insurance industry.
While claims adjuster licensing is a necessity, it’s the experience that molds individuals into GREAT claims adjusters. What other skills do you consider necessary for getting started in the claims business?