Loss adjusters work with or on behalf of insurance firms to assess insurance claims. They investigate incidents to assess their causes in relation to claims on insurance policies.
What is a loss adjuster?
The role of a loss adjuster is to closely assess incidents and their causes to decide if insurance claims are justified. Your work could involve commercial incidents, assessing whether businesses can rightly claim on their insurance policies, or individual incidents. Individual incidents can involve upsetting or distressing events such as theft or property loss.
Your work could be directly with an insurance provider, assessing claims. Alternatively you might work directly with an individual or business who need support on large or complex claims.
The duties of your work will vary depending on who you work for and your experience.
Common responsibilities include:
- Visiting individual claimants (people who have paid for insurance cover and want to make a claim to receive a payout) to assess incidents or issues - this may be in their home or at a neutral location like an insurance office.
- Visiting business claimants either at their premises or at a neutral location to assess a claim (you may meet with multiple individuals from a company who represent different departments depending on the type of claim).
- Interviewing business or individual claimants - this may involve interviewing multiple people if a claim is substantial or involves more than one party.
- Collecting further forms of evidence depending on the issue, for example, building survey reports for structural issues or video recordings for issues of theft.
- Assessing for fraudulent claims such as theft or property damage.
- Assessing the insurance policy in place to decide if the coverage included in it matches the request from the policy holder.
- Working within a wider team of insurance workers, law enforcement and third parties where needed to make a full and detailed assessment of the claim.
- Working with law enforcement, police and legal representatives to ensure the policyholder receives the correct payout based on their insurance claim and the evidence you have gathered to support, or refute it.
- Creating detailed reports summarising the evidence you have gathered in order to make an accurate assessment of insurance claims.
- Taking guidance from senior loss adjustors to ensure your decisions are correct.
- Feeding back your research to the policy holder and giving a decision based on your research.
- Offering advice and guidance for policyholders to avoid insurance claims in the future.
- Keeping up to date with the relevant insurance policies for your area of work and company to ensure your working knowledge is robust.
While you don’t need a degree to apply for loss adjuster jobs, it can be useful.
A loss adjuster salary depends on your level of experience, employer and location. The more experienced you are, the higher your earning potential. Equally, higher paid roles are often city based or close to London. You are also likely to earn more if you attain chartership.
The average loss adjuster salary is around £45,000. Early career loss adjusters without chartership could earn around £27,000, while experienced and chartered loss adjusters in management positions could earn closer to £85,000.
While you don’t need a degree to apply for loss adjuster jobs, it can be useful. Many insurance firms offer graduate schemes, where you will need a degree to begin training.
Some degrees that would be useful in this area of work include:
- Accounting degrees
- Business degrees
- Engineering degrees
- Finance degrees
- Law degrees
- Quantity surveying degrees
If you work in a particular area of loss adjustment such as construction, a specialist degree could help. Having a background knowledge in the area you focus your insurance work on could help you stand out from other applicants.
Alternatively, you could take an apprenticeship route to becoming a loss adjuster. You will usually need a minimum of 5 GCSEs at grades 9-4 (A*-C) including English and maths in order to apply for a level 3 apprenticeship. For level 4 apprenticeships and beyond you will need a minimum of 2-3 A levels.
Training and development
Much of your initial training in claims adjuster jobs will happen as part of your job role. Many begin loss adjusting jobs in a graduate training scheme, which will train them up in full on the job. If you go directly into the workplace, you will usually spend time shadowing a senior member of the team as a trainee loss adjuster before being given your own claims to work on.
For many, becoming a loss adjuster happens after working in another industry.
Most loss adjusters eventually work towards chartered status with the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters (CILA). Becoming a chartered loss adjuster means opportunities for career progression and higher earning potential. Training to qualify as a chartered loss adjuster involves completing a diploma with the CILA and evidencing time spent working for a chartered loss adjustment firm, followed by submitting a critical analysis of one of your cases, and successfully passing an exam. There are loss adjuster qualifications you can take following full accreditation to expand your skills and knowledge.
Once you have chartered status, you will need to undertake regular continuing professional development (CPD) to retain your status. This could include attending conferences, shadowing senior members of staff and attending seminars to keep up to date with developments to the profession.
Your skills as a loss adjuster combine excellent knowledge of your industry with great investigation skills.
- A strong working knowledge of the insurance policies your firm offers and the key requirements needed to meet a payout.
- Excellent interviewing skills for both corporate and individual clients - you’ll need to ask the right questions in a sensitive way to ensure you access the information you need without causing further distress or upset, especially for traumatic events and individual claimants.
- A good grasp of finance and accounting skills to support your understanding of financial claims.
- A good knowledge of any specialist industries you work in, such as working in construction or accounting.
- Excellent verbal communication skills, especially when working with distressed clients following a traumatic event.
- Excellent written communication skills for building up strong reports following claim investigations.
- Ability to work well within a wider team of loss adjusters or insurance workers.
- Research skills, such as looking into the value of particular items or providing detailed readings of third party reports to help with evidencing claims.
- An ability to retain emotional resilience in challenging circumstances, such as investigating a claim involving a traumatic event.
- A high level of professionalism for working with challenging cases.
- Excellent time management - it may be vital that you conduct your research and turnaround a report within a set timeframe for court proceedings, for example.
For many, becoming a loss adjuster happens after working in another industry. For example, a trained construction manager would lend a breadth of skills and experience to assessing construction mismanagement claims. Any time you have working in an industry that relies on insurance providers will prove highly useful in applying to your loss adjustment work.
While prior experience in an industry utilising insurance is beneficial, it is not essential. Many insurance providers offer graduate schemes for graduates with a relevant degree, from accounting to business, and will cover your training as you develop your on the job experience. Similarly, apprenticeships will provide you with the vital time in the industry you’ll need to get to grips with your work.
If you are applying directly to a loss adjustment role, it’s vital to have some form of experience. This could be via shadowing an experienced loss adjuster or insurance assessor. You could apply for an internship or work experience placement with an insurance provider, though these are sometimes unpaid opportunities, and you’ll need to decide if you feel comfortable doing so.
Working within loss adjustment offers a varied and interesting career path. Once you have some time under your belt learning about the job via an entry level position, graduate scheme or apprenticeship, you can then apply to begin training towards becoming a chartered loss adjuster. This will give you access to higher paid opportunities and management positions.
The role of a loss adjuster is to closely assess incidents and their causes to decide if insurance claims are justified.
As you progress and gain chartership, you will usually be eligible for more senior positions within a firm. You could go on to specialise in particular areas of loss adjustment, especially if you have previous career experience in a specialist industry relevant to the field.
Some loss adjusters with chartered status go on to work on a freelance basis as an independent loss adjuster. You could work directly with claimants and clients, selecting your own hours. With the right level of experience, you could even set up your own practice.