How to Get a Public Adjuster License — All You Need to Know
What is a public adjuster?
Public adjusters, otherwise known as insurance adjusters, are insurance professionals who represent policyholders. It’s their job to facilitate the claims process on behalf of their clients, which they exchange for a percentage of the paid damages.
Public adjusters are one of several types of adjuster. It’s important to understand the difference between these roles, as whilst their work is similar, they often represent different parties and have different end goals.
- Public Adjusters: Otherwise known as Public Insurance Adjusters, claims adjusters or private adjusters are hired by and represent members of the public in claims processes. They aim to secure the best possible payout for their clients in the event of valid claims.
- Independent adjusters: These freelance adjusters work on the behalf of insurance companies, but they are not formal employees. They work to evaluate whether the insurance company is liable to payout, and if so, to what extent.
- Staff adjusters: Also known as company adjusters, these professionals work towards the same goal as independent adjusters. The key difference is that staff adjusters are formal employees of the insurance companies which they represent.
What does a public adjuster do?
Public adjusters work with insurance claims. It’s their job to evaluate the claim itself to see whether it is valid, then to facilitate the claims process. This means taking on tasks such as creating estimates of the damages suffered by the client, communicating with the insurance company, handling paperwork, and trying to secure the best possible payout for their clients.
Public adjusters often work within specialized branches of insurance, such as automobile insurance, crop insurance, and worker’s compensation.
Their work can be extremely valuable for policyholders, as the claims process can take time and insight which policyholders themselves do not have. Public adjusters can support their clients by offering their time and expertise, thus allowing clients to gain the maximum possible benefit from their policy.
Why should you become a public adjuster?
Being a public adjuster is an excellent way to establish a strong professional career without needing a bachelor’s degree. Whilst a degree can certainly aid your career, you only need a high school diploma or equivalent to begin practicing as an adjuster.
Public adjusting is also a fantastic career for those with an analytical mind and for those who like helping others.
What are the requirements to become a public adjuster?
The requirements for becoming a public adjuster can vary between states, so it’s best to approach your local department of insurance for state-specific requirements.
Nonetheless, common requirements include
- Meeting basic educational requirements. As mentioned above, this typically means gaining a high school diploma or an equivalent qualification.
- Obtaining a public adjuster license.
- Obtaining a Public Adjuster Surety Bond.
How do you get a public adjuster license?
Not all states require a public adjuster license. However, for those states in which they are required, obtaining a license can be easy as long as you’re well prepared and understand the component steps.
Build your knowledge base
In order to pass your licensing exam, you’ll need to gain the knowledge provided to you in pre-licensing courses. However, the more you know, the more effective you can be as an adjuster. As such, it’s a good idea to learn as much as you can before you fully begin your license application process.
Apply for your public adjuster license
You’re now ready to make your application with your local department of insurance, and to pay your application fee. This step is for those who reside within, and wish to work within states which offer licenses. You must also apply for licenses from other states that you wish to work in, providing that those states also require licenses. There are, however, some states which do not offer insurance adjuster licensing.
This is not the case, however, if you hold, or are applying for, a license in a state which has reciprocity for another state in which you wish to work. When two states have reciprocity with one another, then a license from one state will be accepted in both.
In some cases, you may also have to apply for a non-resident license. These are required when your home state does not require a license, but you wish to operate in other states.
Provide your state government with their required information
In order to support your application process, you may have to provide personal information to the local government of the state in which you wish to operate. For example, in order to obtain a license in Florida, you must provide the government of Florida with fingerprints.
Sit your public adjuster licensing exam
Passing this adjuster exam demonstrates that you possess enough knowledge to operate as a public adjuster. This process includes taking any pre-exam courses mandated by your state.
If you think you’re ready, but you’re not entirely sure, you can take an adjuster practice test.
Once you have your public adjuster license, you may begin to work. However, you must also renew your license every two years. In order to carry out your license renewal, some states require that you undertake continuing education courses. These continuing education requirements ensure that your knowledge base and understanding of insurance ethics are up to date with industry standards. These requirements vary between states, however, so it’s worth checking the specific requirements with your department of insurance.
How to get your Insurance Broker Bond
Obtaining your Public Adjuster Bond is a very simple process. You can apply today for a free bond quote with Lance Surety. Our team of experts will rapidly offer you a quote at the best possible rate. Once you’ve agreed upon a price, and the term of the bond you would like to post, then all you need to do is pay, and your bond will be ready!
Here, we’ll shed some more light on the role by answering some of your FAQs.
How much do public adjusters make?
According to Salary.com, the average wage for public adjusters is $56,085.
Public adjusters earn their income by taking a proportion of the damages earned by the policyholder. This rate often varies between 5% and 15% of the total damages paid. As such, property adjusters are able to earn more by securing the highest-possible returns for their clients, as well as working with larger, or higher-value, insurance policies.
What are the best schools to go to to become a public adjuster?
In order to become a public adjuster, you only need to gain a high school diploma, and pass any required licensing exam. Courses are often set for you in order to offer you the information you need to pass, but you can find separate institutions offering training courses too.
Some schools, such as the Public Adjuster School in Illinois, are tailored towards preparing their students for exams set by specific states. Others, such as A.D.Banker and Company’s Insurance Adjuster Course provide a more general training which has been created to offer general preparation for licensing exams and practice.
It’s also worth noting that there are plenty of courses which, though not directly related to insurance, can enable you to become a more effective public adjuster, and a more appealing prospective hire. Degrees as varied as statistics, real estate and English all have the capacity to improve your mathematical, communication and analytical skills; each of which will serve you well as a public adjuster.
Are public adjusters legitimate?
Public adjusters are legitimate, as in most states, they are licensed by the government.
People often ask this question because they feel uncomfortable about working with middle-people. However, there are often significant benefits to working with public adjusters. Public adjusters (as opposed to staff adjusters or independent adjusters) are hired by members of the public voluntarily, when those individuals believe that the adjuster’s services are worthwhile.
Public adjusters are available to offer their expertise and support to members of the public who lack the time or expertise to handle claims for themselves, and who want support. However, there’s absolutely no obligation for individuals to hire them.
Who regulates public adjusters?
Public adjusters are regulated by the states in which they operate, and their surety bonds act as a guarantee to ensure that they act according to those regulations.
The National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters also help to regulate adjusters on a national level. The organization works to support Public Adjusters across the United States, and their Code of Conduct sets out clear regulations for all of the Association’s Members.
This Code of Conduct holds members to high ethical standards, which binds adjusters to conduct themselves fairly, to refrain from improper solicitation, to avoid misrepresentation and to set fair commissions. There are a total of ten binding standards, which can be found on their Code of Conduct page.
How does a public adjuster find work?
There are two key ways in which you can find work as a public adjuster. One is to establish yourself as a freelance adjuster, and the other is to join an adjusting firm. The former path can offer you greater flexibility and allows you to earn the entirety of your client’s fee, whereas working for a firm guarantees you a salary and employer benefits.
If you decide to act as a freelancer, you will have to work to establish a reputation, as this will be your greatest ally in finding work. Networking events such as those hosted by the NAPIA can be a great way to support the growth of your professional network as well as to gain advice and support from other public adjusters.
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