How to Start an Independent Claim Adjuster Business

by Shanika Chapman; Updated September 26, 2017

Independent claims adjusters investigate insurance claims filed because of accidents or significant property damage on behalf of an insurance company to present a fair assessment of the occurrence. They must be personable; adjusters often find it necessary to interview claimants, witnesses and police, as well as consult with professionals for second opinions on the details of the incident. They must also be adept at collecting, recording and reporting information obtained via statements and photographs. You may choose to work as a public adjuster, on behalf of the policyholder, or as an independent contractor.

Items you will need

  • Business license
  • Liability insurance
  • Bond
  • Certification
  • Home office
  • Computer, office supplies, filing cabinet
Step 1

Be prepared to work odd hours. Independent adjusters respond to emergencies and often work an irregular schedule that includes weekends. You will also spend much of your day traveling to and from the site. Additionally, your job isn’t complete until the claim is finished. Hours worked may vary each week.

Step 2

Contact your state licensing department to learn what if any, certifications and licenses you must hold. Generally, adjusters who work for insurance companies may be covered under a company policy. Independent contractors, however, may be required to hold a surety bond and their own license, in addition to liability insurance and a business license.

Step 3

Learn the claims process by enrolling in a training or certification course. The American Institute for CPCU and Insurance Institute of America offers an “Introduction to Claims” course to help you learn the basics of venturing out on your own. AdjusterPro offers state-specific exam study guides and education. The more relevant certifications you have, the more credibility you will have among insurance companies. Look for certifications or additional training in areas such as auto repair or evaluating earthquake damage, if you live in an area where earthquakes are prevalent. Upon completion of the certification, be sure to get your name listed on their member site or job board, if applicable.

Step 4

Learn the programs that you will be working with and become efficient at developing reports by enrolling in a practical training course designed to teach you how to write estimates using industry software. You must have solid computer skills. The more efficient you are at using the software and organizing the vast amounts of information, the faster you will be able to process claims.

Step 5

Consider gaining on-the-job experience and further establishing your name by taking a job with an insurance company or claims firm. Contact insurance companies and introduce yourself.

Tips

  • Respond to claims quickly.

    You will be required to undergo annual training or education, such as an ethics or consumer protection course.

    Consider joining The National Association of Independent Insurance Adjusters for the latest industry news and access to dozens of helpful resources.

    Set up an organized home office that includes a filing cabinet, computer, phone, fax machine and digital camera.

2016 Salary Information for Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners, and Investigators

Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators earned a median annual salary of $63,670 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators earned a 25th percentile salary of $48,250, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $78,950, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 328,700 people were employed in the U.S. as claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators.

About the Author

Shanika Chapman has been writing business-related articles since 2009. She holds a Bachelor of Science in social science from the University of Maryland University College. Chapman also served for four years in the Air Force and has run a successful business since 2008.

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