Insurance claims adjusters make a lot of speculation about how much they can make each year. It is important to understand the financial landscape in the adjuster industry as unstable weather continues into fall.
People have heard from their ex-uncle or girlfriend’s brother that adjusting is a money tree. The money tree is a blooming Benjamins that just waits to be purged by anyone with the right information. You don’t even have to work. My own misconception about the monetary compensation for claims adjusters is that they make very little and it is essentially a dead-end job. Although this is not as true as the money tree concept, it is a common misconception.
How much does an insurance adjuster make?
The U.S. Department of Labor reported that claims adjusters made an average of $44,220 per year in 2004. The top 10% earned more than $72,620. The lowest ten percent earned less that $27,220 This seems to be a significant difference. Which type of adjuster is the lowest and which type is the highest?
This question will depend on the type of claims adjuster being asked. There are generally two types of adjusters. Staff adjusters are salaried employees for an insurance company, and independent adjusters are contractors who work for adjusting companies. This initial difference in pay structure will be as significant as the type and amount of claims that are actually being handled, from worker’s comp to multi-million-dollar commercial properties.
In most cases, staff adjusters will earn less than independent adjusters and sometimes even significantly less. A career staff claim adjuster can earn between $25,000 and $60,000
A good year for an independent adjuster, particularly if they are involved in catastrophe claims, could bring in more than $100,000.
An employee adjuster can earn a stable income. Independent adjusters can make a lot more money and have more fun. The amount they settle for each claim that is handled by independent adjusters in catastrophe cases amounts to a percentage. The fee schedule is the system of payment and it is different for each insurance company and storm. An independent adjuster who handles hurricane claims might receive a fee schedule of $500 for claims between $3,000 and $5,000, $650 to cover claims between $5,000 and $7500, and $750 to cover claims between $7500 and $10,000. The average adjuster will get 60-70%, with the remaining 30-40% going back to the adjusting company they work for. Hurricane adjusters are capable of settling claims for between $400-500 dollars per claim, and can average an average of $10,000 per claim. An excellent adjuster should close between 2 and 4 claims per day, while a great adjuster will close 4 to 7.
It is possible to make over $1,000 per day working as an independent adjuster on catastrophe claims. This is how a skilled independent adjuster can make six figures in six months.
Is this really the money tree? But not so fast. Keep in mind that there are very few catastrophes. Independent adjusters can find it difficult to find work during “dry” periods and fierce competition for claims. There is still a huge and lucrative opportunity to make money in the event of a disaster.
Claims adjusting can provide solid, and sometimes even spectacular, income, whether you are an independent contractor or a staff member.
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 most well-known in the industry.