Insurance adjusters and others who are interested in becoming one will undoubtedly encounter reciprocity in their licensing processes. The concept of reciprocity is often misunderstood and misrepresented. Knowing the details about state licensing reciprocity can help adjusters save time, money, aggravation, and even their own lives. What is reciprocity? And what should an adjuster learn about it?
It is important to first understand what adjuster reciprocity does not mean. It is common to believe that once you obtain a license in one state, such as Texas, you can move into any other state and start working claims. It is not true. Sometimes, an insurance commissioner in a state will declare a state-of-emergency and grant open doors to adjusters from other states. However, this is less about reciprocity than it is about the requirements of a disaster. Normal conditions dictate that even if an adjuster license is held in one state, you still have to apply in the other states.
Adjuster license reciprocity is a type of agreement that allows an adjuster who holds a license from one state to apply for a license elsewhere. This is important for adjusters as it allows you to apply for a license to practice in another state without needing to pass the state’s exam.
Common belief is that each state has specific states with whom they have a reciprocal arrangement. Texas is said to have the highest degree of adjuster license reciprocity. This is misleading. Most states have an arrangement that allows you to obtain a license in any state if you already have one. Let’s say, for example, that you are an adjuster licensed in Oklahoma and live in Oklahoma. Applying for a North Carolina license. North Carolina does not require that Oklahoma recognize North Carolina’s license to grant you the license. This is not reciprocity. It’s just recognition that an adjuster has done their due diligence in their home state. You can obtain adjuster licenses from most states if you’re licensed in your home state. It is not the high reciprocity that makes Texas’ adjuster license so valuable, but its relative ease of obtaining it.
Some states don’t allow any type of reciprocal agreement. Arizona, California and Hawaii require all adjusters to take their respective adjuster exams or pre-licensing courses. Nevada does not issue an adjuster license except to residents.
Adjusters who try to avoid the licensing requirements of their state by getting a license from another state are most likely to fall prey to adjuster reciprocity. This is quite common. Many Florida residents who want to be adjusters believe they can skip the Florida exam by getting a Texas adjuster licence. This is false. Non-residents of Florida will find the Texas adjuster license useful in obtaining a Florida 5-20 permit, but it will not be of any benefit to residents of Florida. This is why it is important to get your adjuster license in your home state and then work from there.
If your state doesn’t require an adjuster license you should strongly consider applying for a license in another state where there are pre-licensing classes available. Texas offers the most pre-licensing courses, which can be found online or virtually anywhere in the country.
When you’re starting your career as an insurance adjuster, make sure you check the state’s licensing rules. If understood correctly, reciprocity can be a great asset when an adjuster is trying to diversify their geographic operating areas.
Daniel Kerr is a career and training advisor for thousands of insurance claims adjuster professionals. Daniel was also a catastrophic claims adjuster. He also served as the V.P. One of the most successful adjuster licensing firms in the country, Daniel was the V.P. of Operations. This helped to make the company the industry’s most well-known.