This is an update to our original article written in 2009
Obtain your adjuster license and then get trained in estimatics — these are the first steps in launching your career as an independent claims adjuster. But they shouldn’t be the last. Adding further licenses and certifications can and will dramatically improve your “deployability” in the eyes of adjusting firms, and can mean making the cut where others of similar experience and background do not.
When I first wrote this article in 2009, I spoke with a training director for a major adjusting firm who said that diversifying one’s licenses was probably the best equalizer for those with little or no adjusting experience. And I believe that still holds true today. Why? Well, let’s imagine a severe weather outbreak hits Oklahoma. Adjusters are needed immediately and firms are scrambling to send in the first wave of responders ASAP. Those folks need to have an OK license, plain and simple, and there isn’t time to wait around for adjusters to go through the weeks-long licensing process. Response time is counted in hours at this point, not days and certainly not weeks. So, an inexperienced adjuster who happens to hold an Oklahoma license will likely get the nod over a 20 year vet without an Oklahoma license.
This type of severe event can also have a snowball effect in the surrounding states. If licensed and qualified adjusters in AR, KS, and TX are pulled to adjust claims in OK, it creates a void in those states. Now they don’t have enough adjusters to handle daily claims, or any additional weather events that might occur, so these areas start to pull adjusters from Louisiana and Mississippi…and the process begins again.
THE MORE, THE MERRIER
As we’ve talked about before, obtaining your home state’s license is the place to begin your formal entry into the independent claims industry. If your home state doesn’t license, then designating a home state is key. We recommend getting a DHS license from either Texas, Indiana, or Florida. If you’d like to learn more about DHS licensing, check out some of our other blog articles below.
But don’t stop there! Through reciprocal licensing privileges, you can use your license to obtain most other states’ licenses without having to take those states’ exams or pre-licensing courses.
Obtaining reciprocal licenses will cost you anywhere from $55 – $175 per state for the application fees, plus the time it takes to complete all the necessary paperwork; about a day or two. Most states’ applications can be completed and submitted online from either NIPR or Sircon. It’s well worth the effort and monetary investment.
Here is a list of states that are friendly to reciprocal licensing and historically host high numbers of adjusters working claims. Click the name of each state for more information about how to obtain that state’s license:
California and New York are two licenses that can also increase your odds of employment as both regularly experience a shortage of adjusters. But obtaining a license in either state is challenging: the tests are a bear, state rules and regulations are very strict, and neither license is reciprocal with any other state. However, these issues are the very reason demand for adjusters has so severely outpaced supply. If you’re interested in more information, or ready to take on the challenge, visit our ‘How to Get Your Adjuster License’ articles for California and New York.
If you do nothing else, getting even a few of these states’ licenses will drastically improve your odds of landing a job.
Similar to expanding the states you can work in, adding additional certifications to your resume can also help to set you apart from your competition. But with so many options, where do you start? Rarely will getting a new certification hurt your chances, but it’s important to know which certs will actually help you gain an advantage. With a little feedback from my sales and service teams, I put together a list of the additional certifications we think give you the most bang for your buck.
- State Farm (Auto and Property Adjuster)
- Allstate Auto Certification
- Citizen’s Certification (Florida only)
- Wind and Hail
Most adjusters begin and end with their home state’s license, but you can do more to increase your odds of getting work. Separate yourself from the rest of the pack by expanding your license portfolio and adding additional certifications, and you’ll consistently reap the rewards with more assignments.