The noise from claim staff is not joyous this year. Although afew people still tell us that they love their jobs, their voicesare growing fainter. Dissatisfaction seems to be the overpoweringsentiment in our 15th annual salary survey.

In the history of the survey, independent adjusting staff hasmade more money than their counterparts at insurance carriers,while enjoying fewer benefits and perks. In recent years, the gapbetween these figures had begun to narrow. This year's survey,however, indicates that all that is changing, and industry normsare reverting to type.

Although the dollar figures have fluctuated over the last coupleof years, statistically claim compensation has risen approximately25 percent since 1998, when we first started asking for exactsalaries. The two exceptions are officers at independent firms, whohave seen only a four percent gain in the last seven years, andcarrier vice presidents, who have lost about 20 percent. (It mustbe noted, however, that fewer carrier CEOs and presidents areresponding to our survey than did in the past. Their highersalaries may have skewed the figure upward in earlier surveys.)

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