When it comes to pursuing a career in the insurance field, becoming an insurance agent isn’t the only option. One of the hidden career gems in insurance is the role of claims adjuster. Insurance claims adjusters are in high demand for two reasons: a large number of adjusters are retiring while the number of claims remain steady. If you can work with numbers and people and would like to pursue a career in insurance, you should consider becoming a claims adjuster.
Individuals who reside in the state of Florida and want to become an independent/company insurance adjuster must obtain a Florida claims adjuster license. With this license, you can become a staff adjuster, an independent adjuster, or a public adjuster. These professionals are responsible for:
- Settling claims, losses, and damage
- Determining the amount of damage, loss or claim payable under an insurance contract
Staff adjusters usually work exclusively for an insurance adjuster firm. Typically, they are salaried employees and receive benefits like life and health insurance, continuing education training, and a pension.
Independent insurance adjusters handle claims for several firms. They usually work as contractors for third-party administrators and multiple insurance firms. This category of adjusters is sometimes called “catastrophe claims adjusters” because they come around after major weather disasters and other emergencies.
Unlike the other two categories, public insurance adjusters are paid directly by policyholders. They work directly on behalf of individuals and businesses to file an insurance claim if they deem a proposed settlement from an insurer as unfit.
Requirements for Obtaining a Florida Adjuster License
Let’s take a look at the requirements for obtaining your Florida insurance adjuster license. You must:
- Be a United States citizen or a legal alien with a valid work authorization.
- Be a resident of the state of Florida.
- Be at least 18 years of age.
- Have a diploma or GED equivalent to become a claims adjuster. Some employers will require a bachelor’s or associate’s degree, but this isn’t a prerequisite for obtaining an adjuster license.
- Pass Florida’s licensing exam or a state-approved adjuster pre-licensing course (and included exam).
You’re exempt from taking the licensing exam if:
- You hold a Property and Casualty (General Lines) Agent license.
- You’re licensed to work as a public adjuster in Florida.
- You have an insurance degree (with the requisite number of hours of college credit in commercial, health, casualty and property insurance from an approved university or college.
- You’re licensed as a Florida General Lines Agent and wish to obtain Florida’s 6-20 All-lines Adjuster license.
If you currently hold an adjuster license in another state for at least one year prior to moving to Florida, you must obtain a Letter of Clearance from the previous state verifying your status. Once you have this, you should submit your fingerprints (in accordance with Florida DFS Fingerprinting requirements) and apply for a Florida license within 90 days of becoming a resident.
How to Apply for an Adjuster License in Florida
Individuals who satisfy all of the requirements listed above can proceed to the next step — applying for the adjuster license. You need to apply online, submit all the necessary paperwork (including Proof of Citizenship Documentation), process and submit your fingerprints (in line with stipulated requirements), and pay licensing and other associated fees. Applicants with criminal backgrounds should check through the list of disqualifying crimes provided by the state.
Once obtained, Florida requires licensed adjusters to undertake 24 hours of CE (continuing education) every 2 years in order to keep their license current. CE constitutes of 5 hours on Law and Ethics update while electives take up the remaining 19 hours.
Obtaining a Reciprocal License
Claims adjusters who are non-residents of Florida but have a valid license in their previous state can obtain a reciprocal license. However, their home state must have a reciprocal licensing agreement with the state of Florida. Applicants should first check that Florida offers reciprocal licensing privileges to residents in their home states before applying. You should visit the Department of Financial Services website for more information.
If you like crunching numbers, working with people, negotiating settlements, investigative work and are interested in pursuing a career in the insurance industry, becoming a claims adjuster might be just the thing for you. There is a claims career path for you, whether you prefer to work as a contractor or are looking for a steady 9-to-5 job. By following the above steps and procedures, you can obtain your Florida adjuster license and be free to pursue your career goals.