FAQ

Insurance Claims Adjuster Income: How Much does an Adjuster Make?

How much money an insurance claims adjuster makes per year is a subject of considerable interest and speculation for those interested in a career in claims.

Many people have heard through rumours, perhaps from your girlfriend’s brother or the person who fixed your roof, that insurance claims adjustment is a money tree. and the money tree just sits there blooming benjamins, waiting to be uprooted by any newcomer with the inside scoop. And as an added bonus, you really don’t have to work!

Reading: How much money do insurance adjusters make

then there are rumors on the opposite side of the money tree story: that loss adjusters earn next to nothing and that adjusting is a low-level or dead-end job.

both are misconceptions and far from the truth.

so… how much money does an insurance claims adjuster really make?

Like many careers, there is no clear answer to claims adjuster salaries. but if we take a look at the data, we can find some clues. the latest numbers available from the usa uu. Department of Labor, as of May 2021, offer the clearest overall picture of wage/salary statistics for claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators.

average adjuster salary: $70,960

average adjuster hourly wage: $34.11

but this is where things get interesting…and a little confusing.

The top 10% of loss adjusters earned more than $101,000 per year. and the bottom 10% of adjusters earned just over $41,000 per year. this seems like a fairly large discrepancy for a single job category. so why the difference? And who’s up… and who’s down?

source: ee. uu. bureau of labor statistics

different types of adjusters make different money

There are generally two types of adjusters: staff adjusters, who are salaried employees of an insurance company, and independent claims adjusters, who are independent contractors. who work for tuning companies. . this initial difference affects both the salary structure and the type of claims that are handled, from workers’ compensation to multi-million dollar commercial properties.

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Personnel adjusters will generally earn less than independent adjusters, and in some cases, significantly less. $40,000-$70,000 is a reasonable salary range for a career staff claims adjuster. entry level salaries for staff adjusters average around 40k.

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However, staff adjusters enjoy some advantages that independent adjusters do not. they often receive standard employment benefits such as insurance, vacation and sick leave, and company equipment. all of these are the responsibility of an independent adjuster.

Independent adjusters, on the other hand, can earn well over $100,000 in a good year, especially handling catastrophe claims. for example, during the peak of the 2017 hurricane season, appraisers earned between $65,000 and $100,000 in a month.

It’s also worth noting that independent adjusters work when and where they choose. after all, they are independent contractors. this makes it especially difficult to determine “salary” in the traditional sense of the word. some fitters we know work a standard 12 months a year, but many “make hay while the sun shines.” they will work like crazy for 6-8 months and then take a few months off to travel or spend time with family. then those same adjusters could choose the opposite next year, or choose to take more time off, or split the difference. Independent adjuster salaries can’t really be calculated as a standard Monday-Friday, 40-hour-a-week job.

So while it is difficult to pin down a standard annual salary for independent adjusters, the bottom line here is that there is excellent potential for those who choose the independent adjuster path.

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Personnel adjusters can also have a good stable life. For independent adjusters, the opportunity may be a bit more exciting as the industry and its targets come and go.

how claims are paid

Not only does the type of adjuster you are affect your salary, but also how claims are paid.

Independent adjusters who work on catastrophic claims earn a percentage of the amount of each claim they settle. this payment system is known as a “fee schedule”. Rate schedules are formulated differently for each insurance company represented and each storm situation you face.

for example:

An independent adjuster who handles hurricane claims may receive a fee schedule that pays $500 for claims between $3,000 and $5,000, $650 for claims between $5,000 and $7,500, and $750 for claims between $7,500 and $10,000.

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The adjuster will receive 60-70% of the fee, with the other 30-40% going to the adjusting company they work for.

Hurricane adjusters can easily average a $10,000 settlement per claim, which would put $400-$500 in your pocket per claim.

A good adjuster should close 2-4 claims a day, and a great adjuster closes 4-7. Let’s do the math: With $400 earned per claim and up to 7 claims settled per day, independent adjusters work on catastrophe claims they commonly earn more than $1,000 a day, and sometimes much more.

but remember, these percentages can change with demand and experience. veteran adjusters with years of experience may have better rates. or when demand for adjusters spikes after a series of catastrophes, like in 2017, employers can create more lucrative rates to lure adjusters away from their competitors.

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the end result? a good independent adjuster can achieve a six-figure income in less than six months! but unlike our money tree fable… it takes work. in fact, it takes a lot of hard work. During catastrophes, adjusters are deployed to the hardest-hit areas and can often be there for months working 7 days a week, 10-14 hours a day. but for many, the paycheck light at the end of the tunnel makes it worth it.

so what is it like to adjust the money tree after all?

The conclusion is that it can be.

Remember that catastrophes, especially catastrophes large enough to employ a significant number of adjusters, are relatively few and far between. but the potential to earn money during those periods is significant.

During periods of “dry” for independent adjusters, work can be scarce and competition fierce for claims filed.

There is a tremendous and exciting opportunity for a very real and very lucrative job when disaster strikes. (and disasters are getting stronger and more frequent). If you take advantage of the opportunity during a catastrophe, do you budget accordingly and show that you are valuable to your employer? You can set yourself up for real, lasting success by making 6 figures in the tuning industry.

If you are interested in learning more about a career as a claims adjuster, we can help. Join one of our free claims adjustment webinars. We’ll discuss the job, the industry, how to get started, what to expect, and answer any questions you have live.

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