How to Become a Claims Adjuster: Recommended Education and Training

This article is written for the person interested in becoming a claims adjuster. There are countless pieces of literature and resources on the internet about how to write a resume and/or a cover letter for any job, as well as how to conduct yourself at an interview and afterwards. We are not a human resources site, but we do have first hand knowledge what would benefit a candidate for a career as an insurance adjuster. There are certain things that would make such a candidate more attractive to the potential employer; things that can be included in that resume so that it does not end up tossed into the old circular file.

First, you do need a college degree if you want to be hired as an adjuster. It does not matter what the college degree is in, or whether it is a B.A. or a B.S. The typical claims office for any large US insurance company contains adjusters with degrees in everything from finance or pre-law to English literature or teaching. Few if any colleges offer a degree in insurance adjusting; actually, we have never heard of one. (If our readers have, please comment and share the information.)

You can get a job in an insurance claims office without a four-year degree, but it will be in a lower-paying processor or support role unless you have the years and years of experience writing vehicle repair estimates. Then you may be able to just switch employers and write estimates for the insurance company.

Job experience is not required, but the experience that is preferred by insurance claims offices is related to customer-service and customer complaint-solving; dealing with the public face-to-face. Many Enterprise Rent-a-Car employees switch over the insurance companies because the customer service experience is so similar. Many insurance companies also like to see resumes from law enforcement because of the investigative skills.

Only a small handfull of states (such as Texas and Delaware) require that an adjuster be licensed. Licensing requirements may be completed after the job is secured.

Go ahead and get some pertinent training or education from the sources that the insurance companies use. Most insurers such as Allstate, State Farm and Progressive will pay for that training for their employees after hire, even paying tiny completion bonuses, but being able to show that you have already completed that training is an attention-getter. Such training includes a Senior Claims Law Associate degree (SCLA), an Associate in Claims degree (AIC), or Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter training (CPCU). One does not need to be a claims adjuster prior to taking this coursework, though relevant experience would make studies less difficult. We will discuss each below.

Senior Claim Law Associate (SCLA)

The SCLA is usually found to be the easiest to complete, and is therefore pursued first by claims professionals who go on to earn multiple designations. This program is offered exclusively through the American Educational Institute (AEI). It consists of six different courses covering topics such as legal principles, liability, casualty and property claim principles, workers’ compensation and fraud. (This program also offers claims adjusters in Texas a course which will fulfill the licensing requirements in that state.)

The first course taken is Legal Principles. The SCLA designation is earned with the completion of four courses. If a student passes a fifth course, they earn a Silver designation. With the completion of all six, they earn a Gold designation which is the highest possible. These courses are entirely self-study. Even exams are taken at home (or wherever the student may be).

Each separate course consists of smaller units. The student is given a month to complete each unit and pass a twenty-question test taken on-line. If the student chooses to work at a quicker pace, that is permitted.

Earning the SCLA designation makes a student become eligible to join the Society of Claim Law Associates with all of the advantages it offers.

Associate in Claims (AIC)

The Associate in Claims degree (AIC) consists of six courses on claims handling principles and practices in the following areas: automobile liability, bodily or personal injury, property and workers’ compensation. This is also a self-study program. A claims adjuster or candidate may order traditional textbooks or view educational materials online. Final exams are administered at various locations around the U.S., and occasionally internationally. The exams are two hours long and students are asked to answer 85 objective questions.

Both the educational materials and the exams taken at the end of the courses cost a fee. The total cost of each course is under a couple hundred dollars. The completion of each individual course earns the student a smaller designation, but the AIC is earned after the completion of all six courses.

Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU)

The CPCU is by far the most difficult and time-consuming training, therefore it is also by far the most prestigious. This course is also a self-study program. It normally takes years to complete earn this professional designation, and it is challenging. Less than 100,000 people have earned this designation since it began in the early 1940’s. Most of them were already claims adjusters before beginning the program.

Training includes 8 college and graduate-level courses on topics such as contracts, corporate structure, ethics, finance, history, insurance law, rate-making and risk management. Each course culminates in a three-hour long essay exam. Once the coursework is complete and the individual has two years of industry experience, he or she becomes eligible for membership in the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter Society.

This article is written for informational purposes only and is not intended to take the place of competent local legal counsel, nor is it a guarantee that you will be hired as a claims adjuster. The writer does hold various professional insurance designations but is not otherwise affiliated with any of these programs.

Related articles:

The Claims Process explained.

A list of Insurance Companies doing business in the U.S.

The Special Investigative Unit (SIU).

From How to Become a Claims Adjuster to Insurance Claims Help For You

If you are currently a claims adjuster looking for assistance with technical questions relating to claims handling, you may want to check out our friends over at the Atlanta Insurance Claims Resource.

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