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Insurance Adjusters and Examiners

At a Glance

  • Determine if insurance companies will cover claims
  • Often visit the property to assess damages
  • Work with claimants, agents, and lawyers
  • May work nights and weekends
  • Train on the job

Career summary

Insurance adjusters and examiners decide how much to pay on insurance claims.

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Insurance adjusters investigate property and casualty insurance claims. Claims examiners work in life and health insurance and perform the same duties.

Adjusters and examiners may inspect claims from a variety of events, including:

When policyholders file claims, adjusters first determine whether customers' insurance policies cover the loss. They estimate the amount of the loss. Adjusters often visit the property to assess the damage for themselves. They interview the people making the claims and gather information about the property that was stolen or damaged. They also gather information if people were hurt. If there are police or hospital records, adjusters copy and read them.

Adjusters may contact insurance agents or claimants to get additional information or verify it. Adjusters write reports outlining the facts of claims and explaining their decisions.

Sometimes claimants are not happy with the amount of money they receive. When this occurs, adjusters negotiate with claimants to find payments that are acceptable to insurance companies and claimants. These negotiations are not always successful and cases sometimes go to court. Adjusters and examiners talk to lawyers before the hearings. They may testify in court.

Adjusters and examiners are also called claim investigators or claim representatives. Some adjusters work specifically in the field of workers' compensation. They manage payments for time loss and medical expenses.

Related careers

This career is part of the Finance cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to insurance adjusters and examiners.

Common work activities

Insurance adjusters and examiners perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, insurance adjusters and examiners:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Insurance adjusters and examiners frequently:

It is important for insurance adjusters and examiners to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for insurance adjusters and examiners to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Insurance adjusters and examiners need to:


Reason and problem solve

Use math and science

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as an insurance adjuster and examiner, you typically need to:

Education after high school

A common way to prepare for this occupation is to receive on-the-job training. Although it is not required, many insurance adjusters and examiners have a bachelor's degree. There is no single program of study that prepares you for this occupation. However, your major may determine the insurance area you work in. For example, those who study architecture or engineering may work with industrial property damage claims.

Work experience

Experience working in a field related to insurance can be excellent preparation for this work. For example, auto damage appraisers often have auto body repair experience. Many examiners are former police officers or detectives. Work experience in an insurance office is also helpful.

On-the-job training

Insurance adjusters and examiners receive training on the job. In many states, adjusters and examiners are licensed. To keep your license you must complete a certain number of hours of education each year. In addition, employers provide training to new adjusters. You typically begin by working on small insurance claims under the direction of an experienced worker. You advance to more complicated and larger claims as you gain experience. Training often lasts one year.

Helpful high school courses

In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum may be different from your state's graduation requirements.

You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Some employers prefer to hire adjusters and examiners who have a bachelor's degree. No specific college major is required. However, courses in insurance, economics, accounting, and business are helpful. Companies will hire entry-level workers who do not have college training but have related experience. For example, people who have knowledge of auto mechanics or body repair may handle auto claims.

Some states require adjusters and examiners to be licensed. In these states, employers prefer to hire workers who are already licensed. Employers may require adjusters to have a driver's license so they can travel to claimants' homes.

Employers look for adjusters and examiners who have good communication skills. They also look for good research and analysis skills. Basic computer skills are also important.

All employees go through a period of on-the-job training, since each company has a number of procedures that are specific to that company.

Costs to workers

Insurance adjusters and examiners may need to pay licensing costs. Workers may also wish to join a professional association, which may have annual dues. Business attire is usually required when working with clients.


Adjusters must be licensed through the office of the Washington State Insurance Commissioner. General licensing requirements include:

For more licensing and fee information, contact:

Washington State Office of Insurance Commissioner (external link)
PO Box 40255
Olympia, WA 98504-0255


Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


Claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators (SOC 13-1031)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $21.52 $26.37 $32.98 $41.49 $49.21
Monthly $3,729 $4,570 $5,715 $7,190 $8,528
Yearly $44,760 $54,850 $68,600 $86,310 $102,360
    Bremerton-Silverdale Hourly $24.28 $33.84 $36.88 $40.30 $45.48
Monthly $4,208 $5,864 $6,391 $6,984 $7,882
Yearly $50,503 $70,385 $76,712 $83,806 $94,610
    Kennewick-Richland Hourly $20.92 $22.44 $25.12 $37.00 $41.96
Monthly $3,625 $3,889 $4,353 $6,412 $7,272
Yearly $43,504 $46,675 $52,243 $76,976 $87,264
    Longview Hourly $22.77 $29.58 $38.24 $42.02 $48.79
Monthly $3,946 $5,126 $6,627 $7,282 $8,455
Yearly $47,375 $61,523 $79,541 $87,397 $101,474
    Mount Vernon-Anacortes Hourly $22.05 $24.90 $35.79 $41.21 $48.10
Monthly $3,821 $4,315 $6,202 $7,142 $8,336
Yearly $45,870 $51,810 $74,437 $85,718 $100,049
    Olympia-Tumwater Hourly $21.41 $24.38 $30.42 $33.60 $36.17
Monthly $3,710 $4,225 $5,272 $5,823 $6,268
Yearly $44,522 $50,714 $63,272 $69,887 $75,220
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $22.20 $28.06 $36.45 $44.20 $52.34
Monthly $3,847 $4,863 $6,317 $7,660 $9,071
Yearly $46,175 $58,370 $75,818 $91,933 $108,875
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $19.48 $25.07 $30.63 $36.16 $43.23
Monthly $3,376 $4,345 $5,308 $6,267 $7,492
Yearly $40,508 $52,148 $63,725 $75,214 $89,913
    Vancouver Hourly $22.19 $26.34 $33.53 $41.20 $48.37
Monthly $3,846 $4,565 $5,811 $7,140 $8,383
Yearly $46,155 $54,787 $69,746 $85,706 $100,617
    Yakima Hourly $20.95 $28.93 $34.00 $38.01 $43.16
Monthly $3,631 $5,014 $5,892 $6,587 $7,480
Yearly $43,565 $60,181 $70,719 $79,057 $89,781
United States Hourly $19.05 $24.05 $31.68 $39.13 $47.44
Monthly $3,301 $4,168 $5,490 $6,781 $8,221
Yearly $39,620 $50,020 $65,900 $81,390 $98,660

Wages vary by employer and area of the country. The worker's level of experience, education, and responsibility also affect wages.

Insurance adjusters and examiners who work full time usually receive benefits. Typical benefits include sick leave, paid vacations, and life and health insurance. Some workers also receive profit sharing, bonuses, and retirement plans. Some employers pay for work-related classes. Field adjusters usually have expense accounts and company cars.

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook


The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Claims Adjusters, Examiners, and Investigators (SOC 13-1031)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 6,123 3.7% 16.1% 546
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 37 -5.4% 13.4% 2
    Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman Counties 70 -1.4% 8.6% 5
    Benton and Franklin Counties 56 14.3% 15.0% 6
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 95 5.3% 11.9% 8
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 113 -1.8% 15.2% 9
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 949 6.0% 14.1% 90
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 32 6.3% 14.6% 3
    King County 3,193 5.4% 19.6% 298
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 53 -3.8% 13.8% 4
    Pierce County 509 -6.7% 15.2% 31
    Snohomish County 335 10.7% 12.4% 35
    Spokane County 635 0.2% 13.9% 51
United States 328,500 -4.2% 5.2% 25,800

National employment

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for this occupation will decline due to automation because more claims can be filed online. However, as insurance companies cover more health care procedures, demand will increase. Also new health care laws mean that more people have insurance coverage which will lead to increased health claims. Natural disasters and damage from super storms have also led to increased claims as well.

Job prospects will be best in the health care insurance industry.

Other resources

Insurance Information Institute (external link)
110 William Street
New York, NY 10038
National Association of Marine Surveyors (external link)
17049 El Camino Real, Suite 208
Houston, TX 77058


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupations

O*Net job zones (external link)

DOT occupations

Holland occupational clusters