Interested in a career in public adjusting? Becoming a public adjuster is an excellent career choice for anyone looking to help people in times of need. Public adjusters specialize in providing assistance to individuals and businesses who have suffered property damage due to natural disasters, fires, vandalism, or other events.
But is this the right path for you? Only one way to find out! Read on to learn more about this profession and how you can get started. By the end of the article, you will have a better idea of what’s involved in this process and if it is your professional calling.
What Does a Public Adjuster Do
First things first, let’s see what a public adjuster is and what they do – is this profession the right one for you?
Public adjusters represent the interests of policyholders in insurance cases. They help clients understand their policies and advise them on how to file a claim, appeal denied claims, negotiate settlements with insurers, and review an insurer’s payments. Public adjusters also look into any fraud related to a claim and investigate if there is any evidence of underpayment or denial from the insurer.
As a public adjuster, you assess damages, estimate the costs of repairs, and work with insurance companies to secure the maximum possible settlement for your clients. Adjusters can assist with a wide range of claims, including those related to property damage, natural disasters, and business interruptions.
How to Become a Public Insurance Adjuster: Step-by-Step
Complete the Necessary General Education
To become a public adjuster, you must meet certain educational requirements. You will typically need to have completed a high school diploma or its equivalent (GED) as well as some college courses in mathematics, accounting, insurance, and law.
Although not required, many public adjusters have a degree in finance, insurance, or law. If you don’t have a formal education in these areas, you should master the necessary skills needed for success in this profession, such as communication and negotiation techniques and math and analysis skills.
Depending on which industry you want to focus on as an adjuster, you can take additional courses that will give you the appropriate knowledge.
Get Industry Knowledge
In order to become a public adjuster, you need to have an understanding of the principles and practices of insurance. This includes knowing state laws governing insurance contracts, familiarity with the common language used in policies, and the claims process. You should also understand how to research legal precedents pertaining to property damage claims and how to negotiate settlements.
This knowledge is necessary for passing the license exam. And even in case a license isn’t required in your state, this information is still a crucial part of the job, so you need it regardless.
So, here’s what you need to know as a public adjuster:
- General insurance knowledge
- Elements of an insurance policy
- Insurance terms
- Related laws and regulations
- Specific knowledge of different types of insurance claims
Public Adjuster License Requirement
Most states require public adjusters to obtain a license before they can practice, so you should check with your state’s Department of Insurance for specific requirements. These are some common steps you need to complete to acquire a license:
- Eligibility requirements: Most states require applicants to be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and pass a criminal background check.
- Pre-licensing education: Public adjuster candidates need to complete a certain number of hours of pre-licensing education or training.
- State licensing exam: After completing the pre-licensing education, candidates must pass a state licensing exam.
- Application: Once the pre-licensing education is completed and the licensing exam is passed, candidates must submit an application to the state licensing agency. The application typically requires information about the applicant’s education, work history, and personal information.
- Additional state-specific requirements: Some states may have additional requirements, such as a certain amount of experience in the insurance industry, a certain amount of liability insurance coverage, or continuing education requirements.
- Licensing fee: Candidates must pay a licensing fee to the state licensing agency to obtain their public adjuster license.
Keep in mind that acquiring the license is not the end of the road. Your license is valid for two years from the issue date. After that, you will need to renew it to maintain it in good standing. The requirements for license renewal can vary from state to state. However, all states require you to complete 24h of continuing education during this two-year period.
Public Adjuster Surety Bond
In many states, you must obtain a surety bond as part of the licensing process. A surety bond is an insurance policy that guarantees the state and clients that the public adjuster will conduct business ethically and follow all applicable laws and regulations. If you fail to meet these obligations, a client can file a claim against the bond for compensation.
You agree to abide by all applicable laws and regulations while performing your duties as a public adjuster, or you may be held liable for any losses incurred due to negligence. The surety bond amount will vary from state to state and usually ranges from $5,000 to $50,000.
Required Skills – Do You Have What It Takes?
Let’s take it back to the basics and discuss the personal and professional skills you should work on if you’re thinking of becoming a public adjuster. Here are some of the most important skills and traits that will come in handy in this line of work:
- Oral and written communication
- Math skills
- Attention to detail
- Analytics stills
- Time management and organization
- Critical thinking skills
How Long Does It Take to Become a Public Adjuster?
The time it takes to become a public adjuster can vary depending on the state and the specific licensing requirements. Becoming a public adjuster generally involves completing pre-licensing education, passing a state licensing exam, and meeting other state-specific requirements, such as a background check or fingerprinting.
In total, the process of becoming a licensed public adjuster can take a few months to a year or more, depending on the state and individual circumstances.
How Much Do Public Adjusters Make?
The amount of money a public adjuster makes depends on a few factors: the type of claims they handle, the size of those claims, and their experience level. However, the average salary of a public adjuster in the US is around $65,000 annually. But the great news is that there is room for improvement within the field, so after gaining experience and enhancing your skillset, you can expect your salary to rise.
Public adjusters specializing in large, complex claims typically earn more than those who specialize in smaller claims. Public adjusters may also earn additional income by working on commission-based jobs or taking on projects outside their regular duties.
Finding Work as a Public Adjuster
There are two main paths you can take when working as a public adjuster: an independent public adjuster or an employee at an adjusting firm.
- An independent public adjuster works for themselves, picking and choosing the jobs they take on. This type of adjuster typically has more flexibility regarding their schedule and income. However, this path also requires a great deal of self-motivation and hard work, as you will have to market yourself and your services to find clients.
- On the other hand, working for an adjusting firm is the more traditional route. Adjusters hired by firms are typically paid a salary and have steady, year-round work. Firms have established procedures and systems, so you don’t have to worry about finding clients or dealing with marketing.
Need Public Adjusting Services?
Are you currently facing an insurance case that you need help with? Until you get your own public adjuster certification, you can rely on versed professionals to help you out.
Elite Resolutions has a team of experienced experts who have been in this industry for over 14 years. We’ve helped countless clients get maximum coverage and successfully file all of their insurance claims. So, don’t hesitate to give us a call and work with our pros – don’t ever get lowballed by your insurer again. Let’s work together – we look forward to hearing from you!