How Much Does an Insurance Adjuster Make? A Guide to the Salary and Career of Claims Adjusters

How Much Does an Insurance Adjuster Make?

An image to illustrate Insurance Adjuster
Insurance adjusters are professionals who handle insurance claims. But how much do they earn, and what are their career opportunities? Read on to learn more/PHOTO: Freepik

Insurance adjusters are professionals who investigate, evaluate, and settle insurance claims.

They work for insurance companies, independent firms, or as self-employed contractors.

They play a vital role in ensuring that policyholders receive fair and timely compensation for their losses.

But how much does an insurance adjuster make?

Let us dive in and find out.

What are the Types of Insurance Adjusters?

There are three main types of insurance adjusters:

  • staff adjusters
  • independent adjusters
  • public adjusters

Each type has different responsibilities, qualifications, and compensation.

Staff adjusters are employees of insurance companies.

They handle claims for their employer and follow their guidelines and procedures.

They usually work on a fixed salary and may receive bonuses or benefits based on their performance and experience.

Independent adjusters are contractors who work for independent adjusting firms or directly for insurance companies.

They handle claims for multiple clients and have more flexibility and autonomy in their work.

They usually work on a commission or fee basis and may receive additional incentives or expenses based on their assignments and contracts.

Public adjusters are advocates for policyholders.

They work for individuals or businesses who have filed claims against insurance companies.

They help them negotiate and maximize their settlements.

Public adjusters usually work on a contingency fee basis and receive a percentage of the recovery amount.

What are the Factors that Affect the Salary of Insurance Adjusters?

An image to illustrate insurance adjusters
The salary of insurance adjusters depends on several factors/PHOTO: Files

1. The type of adjuster

As mentioned above, different types of adjusters have different compensation structures.

Generally, independent and public adjusters have higher earning potential than staff adjusters, who can charge higher fees or commissions and handle more claims.

However, they also have higher expenses and risks, as they must pay for their training, licensing, equipment, travel, and insurance.

2. The location of the adjuster

The salary of insurance adjusters varies by state, region, and city, depending on:

  • the cost of living
  • the demand and supply of adjusters
  • the competition and regulation of the insurance market
  • the average claim size and frequency

According to ZipRecruiter, the highest-paying states for insurance adjusters are New York, Massachusetts, Washington, New Hampshire, and Hawaii, while the lowest-paying states are Florida, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, and Louisiana.

3. The experience and education of the adjuster

The salary of insurance adjusters increases with their experience and education, as they gain more skills, knowledge, and reputation in the industry.

According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary of entry-level insurance adjusters is $41,500, while the average salary of senior insurance adjusters is $96,000.

Additionally, having a college degree, a professional certification, or a specialized license can boost the salary of insurance adjusters, as they demonstrate their competence and credibility to their clients and employers.

4. The niche and speciality of the adjuster

The salary of insurance adjusters also depends on the niche and speciality of their work, such as the type of insurance, the type of claim, and the type of damage.

Some niches and specialities are more lucrative and challenging than others, requiring more expertise, training, and equipment.

For example, adjusters who handle property, casualty, or catastrophe claims tend to earn more than adjusters who handle health, life, or disability claims, as they deal with more complex and costly cases.

What is the Average Salary of Insurance Adjusters?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators was $68,130 in May 2020.

The lowest 10 per cent earned less than $41,100, and the highest 10 per cent earned more than $103,480.

However, these figures do not reflect the differences among the types of adjusters, as the BLS does not distinguish them in its data.

According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual pay for an independent insurance adjuster in the United States was $82,500 as of December 2020.

The lowest 10 per cent earned less than $41,000, and the highest 10 per cent earned more than $125,000.

However, these figures do not include the expenses and taxes independent adjusters must pay.

According to Indeed, the average annual salary for a public adjuster in the United States was $76,489 as of December 2020.

The lowest 10 per cent earned less than $26,000, and the highest 10 per cent earned more than $150,000.

However, these figures do not account for the contingency fees and commissions that public adjusters receive.

Conclusion

Insurance adjusters are professionals who investigate, evaluate, and settle insurance claims.

They can work for insurance companies, independent firms, or as self-employed contractors.

They can earn a decent income, depending on the type, location, experience, education, and speciality of their work.

However, they also face challenges, such as a declining job market, a stressful and demanding work environment, and a high level of responsibility and liability.

Therefore, insurance adjusters need to be skilled, knowledgeable, and adaptable to succeed in their careers.

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