A combination of licensing, formal education and insurance agency experience is required to become a public insurance adjuster. One of the key points is that in order to become a public insurance adjuster an individual must be willing to be self-employed. Public insurance adjusters do not work for any particular insurance company and advocate for the benefit of the individual filing a claim.
The minimum formal education requirement in order to become a public insurance adjuster is a high school diploma. Many insurance adjusters obtain undergraduate college degrees prior to entering the field. There is not a specific degree requirement, although individuals may find degrees in finance, business administration or economics helpful. A few universities provide specific degree programs and courses in insurance.
In lieu of an undergraduate college degree, some who wish to become a public insurance adjuster opt for additional experience. Whether a degree is obtained, direct insurance agency experience is usually required. Individuals may work as private adjusters prior to opening up their own practice or in a related position that deals with handling insurance claims.
Experience can be obtained through a private insurance agency or a company that handles public adjustment claims. Many major insurance carriers hire recent college graduates to work in claims or claim processing departments. Although these positions are more customer service oriented in nature and typically involve handling inquiries in an inbound call center, they can provide exposure to the claim process. Some of these insurance carriers may offer cross-training in adjustments and the adjustment process.
It might be beneficial for anyone who wishes to become a public insurance adjuster to obtain at least two to three years of experience prior to opening his own business. Understanding the adjustment process and its requirements is very important, as is making industry contacts. Just as vital is taking the time to build a list of potential clients and referrals before becoming fully self-employed.
Either during an individual's experience with a private insurance company or prior to opening his own agency, local licensing requirements must be met. Each local area will have specific insurance licenses that an individual who wishes to become a public adjuster must obtain. These licensing requirements will usually have to be maintained and updated periodically, which may require taking adult education courses.
The final step to becoming a public insurance adjuster is to open an office or start a company that specializes in public claim adjustments. Since public adjusters work for themselves, they are responsible for business expenses, soliciting clientele, and filing adjustment claims on behalf of their clients. Adjusters usually need to be mobile since they often travel to the site of the claim or where the damage occurred. It is recommended that portable computers, personal digital assistants, and digital cameras be figured into a public adjuster's business expenses.