Job descriptions and industry overviews

Insurance loss adjuster: job description

21 Jun 2023, 15:42

Loss adjusters work on behalf of insurance companies and corporate insurers to assess and investigate claims.

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Insurance loss adjuster : What does an insurance loss adjuster do? | What does a graduate loss adjuster do? | Salaries | Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

What does an insurance loss adjuster do?

Loss adjusters are called in by insurers (which could be insurance companies or big corporations that self-ensure up to a certain amount) to verify claims made after incidents such as fire, theft or flood.

Loss adjusters tend to be sent out in certain situations: when claims are over a certain value; when there has been minimal contact between the insurer and the claimant (eg if insurance has been purchased online); if there has been a large volume of claims at once (eg in the aftermath of a natural disaster); or if it’s a particularly complex claim.

A loss adjuster’s typical responsibilities are to:

  • determine the cause of an incident
  • examine the damage
  • speak with the customer(s) who have made the claim
  • confirm whether there is sufficient cover in the insurance agreement
  • find evidence that proves the damage
  • assess the value of the loss
  • decide if the insurance can adequately cover the loss
  • decide whether the amount of the claim is reasonable
  • advise claimants about issues with repairs and next steps
  • present evidence in court
  • arrange a clean up or repair.

Even though a loss adjuster’s client is the insurance company, their professional ethics mean that they must act impartially.

Loss adjusters typically work 40 hours a week full time, usually split between the office (or home if working remotely) and visiting claimant sites. The job usually involves lots of travel and may include some evening and weekend working.

The role of loss adjuster shouldn’t be confused with that of loss assessor. Loss adjusters and loss assessors do similar roles, but loss assessors’ clients are the claimants rather than the insurers. Claimants – typically large businesses – might hire loss assessing companies to investigate the claim on their behalf and, if necessary, dispute the loss adjuster’s findings.

What does a graduate loss adjuster do?

Loss adjusters who are starting out in their career will spend most of their time in-house, brushing up on their technical skills and knowledge of insurance, taking professional qualifications with the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters (CILA) and providing support to colleagues. With experience, they often become on-the-road loss adjusters (visiting sites) and could specialise in a particular type of claim (property, for example). However, there is no ‘one’ set route for career progression; a career in loss adjustment can go in different directions. For example, some choose an in-house management role, while others focus on a specialist area such as liability – determining whether there is legal responsibility in the aftermath of a claim.

Loss adjuster salaries

Trainee loss adjusters can expect to earn between £18,000 and £25,000 per year (depending on location). This can rise fairly rapidly as they gain experience. Loss adjusters in management positions can earn between £40,000 and £60,000 while those working on major claims can earn £80,000.

Typical employers of loss adjusters

Most loss adjusters work for specialist loss adjustment firms. However, there are some vacancies within insurance companies and self-employment is an option for experienced practitioners.

How to become a loss adjuster: the qualifications and training needed

There are ways to get into loss adjustment as a graduate and as a school leaver. As a graduate, you could apply for a graduate programme (typically offered by the bigger loss adjustment firms) or for an individual graduate-level role, such as claims technician.

You don’t typically need a specific degree subject to apply, but it is valuable to have a degree or HND in finance, business, law, engineering, surveying or construction (these last three will be particularly useful when assessing property claims). A few graduate programmes require a minimum of a 2.1. degree grade but most accept a 2.2.

As a school leaver, you can undertake an apprenticeship or apply for an entry-level role that requires GCSEs and/or A levels (or equivalent).

To find vacancies, you can search on targetjobs as a starting point. You can also seek out vacancies on the websites of individual loss adjustment firms – professional bodies such as the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) and CILA should have lists of potential employer firms.

Once you are employed you can work towards gaining professional qualifications with the CILA – these tell clients, colleagues and future employers that you are trained to a good standard. Undertaking these qualifications is optional, but many employers will expect and encourage you to do so. If you do decide to work towards one, training is usually provided on the job and professional membership fees are covered.

Key skills for loss adjusters:

  • Calmness under pressure and good people skills: emotions often run high when liaising with claimants, especially in the aftermath of natural disasters or accidents.
  • An eye for detail and an enquiring mind.
  • To be analytical, decisive and a good negotiator.
  • The ability to work well with others.
  • Verbal communication skills.
  • Tenacity.
  • Numeracy.
  • Time management and the ability to prioritise.
  • To be comfortable working independently.
  • To be able to use a computer and the main software packages.

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This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the targetjobs content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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