Insurance adjusters, often referred to as claims adjusters, assess property damage so that an insurance company can decide whether to honor a claim and what amount to pay. They also examine claims on life insurance and health insurance policies. Adjusters do not make these decisions themselves; instead, they gather evidence by interviewing witnesses, gathering documentation and taking photographs. A job as a claims adjuster often requires only a high school diploma.
National Average Pay
As of 2012, insurance adjusters earned an average of $29.58 per hour and $61,530 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Half of claims adjusters reported hourly pay ranging from $22.15 to $35.87, and annual pay that ranged from $46,080 to $74,620. The highest-paid 10 percent of these workers reported earning $43.18 or more per hour and $89,810 or more per year.
Pay by Location
The highest average pay for insurance adjusters was reported in the District of Columbia, where the average salary was $75,730 in 2012. Connecticut was the highest-paying state with an average adjuster salary of $70,000, followed by Alaska at $69,240 and New Jersey at $67,770. North Dakota was the lowest-paying state, with an average salary of $47,770. The territory of Puerto Rico reported an average income of $40,950 for insurance adjusters.
Pay by Employer
The majority of claims adjusters are employed directly by insurance carriers, and earned an average income of $60,860 as of 2012. Those employed by brokerages reported similar earnings, an average of $59,370 per year. However, government agencies also employ claims adjusters to examine cases in which the government may need to offer support to those suffering property damage. As of 2012, adjusters working for state governments averaged $55,680, while those employed by the federal government averaged $68,950 per year.
Between 2010 and 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects jobs for insurance adjusters to grow at a rate of 3 percent, significantly slower than the 14 percent of average job growth expected across all U.S. occupations for the period. The majority of new jobs are expected to occur in the health insurance industry as more and more Americans are expected to receive coverage. Jobs in property insurance are expected to decline, but should be best in areas of the country that regularly experience natural disasters such as wildfire, hurricanes, flooding and tornadoes.
2016 Salary Information for Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners, and Investigators
Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators earned a median annual salary of $63,670 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators earned a 25th percentile salary of $48,250, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $78,950, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 328,700 people were employed in the U.S. as claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators.