Filed Under:Agent Broker, Coverage Issues

Daily responsibilities of an auto claims adjuster

Every day adjusters make decisions that impact everyone associated with a claim. It isn't a responsibility to be taken lightly. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Every day adjusters make decisions that impact everyone associated with a claim. It isn't a responsibility to be taken lightly. (Photo: Shutterstock)

As jobs in the insurance industry go, claims adjusters have a pretty important role to play. Individuals who purchase auto insurance often look for the best price and rarely think about the claim handling aspect.

Auto claims adjusters evaluate insurance claims and decide whether or not the insurer ought to pay a claim, and if so, how much. They investigate accidents or losses and make hard decisions that can financially impact those involved in the claim.

A work day typically starts with a long list of automobile claims, which need to be handled – now! A typical claims adjuster will work over 100 claims each month.

Once the adjuster addresses all of the new claims, he or she can then move on to other assignments such as: writing reports, attending appointments and interviews with claimants and witnesses, inspecting the car in question, and additional research such as looking at police reports. They may also have to consult with a variety of professionals like third-party carriers, lawyers and physicians in order to get expert evaluations of a claim. Often, adjusters have to work irregular hours in order to accommodate the heavy work load.

In addition to the normal work day, the auto claims adjuster must also be alert to any fraud, since some car owners and vehicle repair shops have been known to defraud insurance companies with fraudulent claims. These frauds may include a situation in which owners register their cars in a place where premiums are likely to be lower, even though they live in neighborhoods where car theft is high and premiums are higher. Other examples include selling a car to a body shop for dismantling and then declaring it stolen, staging a car accident or exaggerating the cost of repairing a car after an accident.

Insurance adjuster adjusting a claim

Insurance adjusters have to juggle mutliple priorities and stresses, but many still find it a fulfilling and interesting career. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Staying organized


With this crazy work schedule, and all of these considerations, it is no surprise that time management can be a challenge for many auto claims adjusters. Adjusters can achieve a proper balance in life by:

  • Prioritizing: As an auto claims adjuster, you can ease some of the burden by prioritizing the most urgent matters and setting a realistic goal of how many activities you can complete in a day. Not only will you reduce your workload, this will make you a better adjuster.

  • Avoiding procrastination and time wasters: Unlike potted plants, work ignored does not shrivel up and die. It procreates and gives you more work. So avoid procrastination. Come in each day with a positive mindset and set reasonable expectations on how much work you will finish. Avoid activities that prevent you from completing claims quickly. Have a proper filing system so you don't misplace documents, which will slow down your efficiency.

Issues faced by auto claims adjusters


Auto claims adjusters experience work-related emotional stress due to the nature of their work. Not only do they have to deal with claims whose impacts have had devastating effects on peoples’ lives, they may also have to reject some claims which are genuine, but are not clearly defined in the insurance coverage policy.

Another issue is the impact on personal lives. Auto claims adjusters are the ultimate road warriors. Sometimes travelling frequently and often at short notice, they may be away from their families frequently and for extended periods.

With all of these challenges, however, many auto claims adjusters find fulfillment in their jobs, especially when they are able to set and achieve goals. Achievements include making the claims process easy during a difficult time for clients. Adjusters also enjoy the chance to boost their company's reputation. Delivering good service means a good review and recommendation, which is a plus for them and the insurance company.

The auto claims adjuster's day is a tough one, but their importance to the insurance industry cannot be overstated.

Frank Medina (frank@frankmedinainsurance.com) has been in the insurance industry for over nine years. He began his career in claims and now runs Frank Medina Insurance, which specializes in home and auto insurance.

Related: 7 ways auto technology is impacting insurance coverage

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