what is a claims adjuster?

As a claims adjuster or insurance adjuster, you investigate claims and help the insurance company determine the amount to pay. When a policyholder experiences loss, like a damaged car or home, they notify the insurance company to receive compensation. When a policyholder files for compensation, the insurance claim is assigned to an adjuster. Your job is to determine if the loss is covered by the policy, the extent of the loss, and the amount the insurer should pay.

You handle claims involving damage to properties or structures, as well as liability claims associated with third-party property damage and personal injuries. You speak with the policyholder and start your investigation. As a claims adjuster, you interview witnesses, read police or medical records, and inspect properties. Your investigation reveals the cause of loss and determines a fair settlement amount.

As an insurance adjuster, you rely on the information gathered to determine that the claim is not fraudulent and save money for the insurance company. The role requires critical thinking since you investigate complex insurance cases that affect people's lives and well-being. The ability to think critically helps you evaluate claims and provide a realistic value for repairs or replacement.

Would working as a claims adjuster suit your critical thinking and investigative skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a claims adjuster role.

claims adjuster jobs

average claims adjuster salary

According to Job Bank, the median salary of a claims adjuster in Canada is $89,300 per year. When you are new to the role, you start with a salary of $69,000 per year. In a senior-level position, you take home $92,625 per year.

how to increase your salary as a claims adjuster

As a claims adjuster, your earnings depend on your expertise and years of experience. When you join the profession, you start with a lower salary, but your earnings gradually increase with experience. Having over five years of experience highlights your expertise, and you can take home a higher salary compared to claims adjusters with minimal experience.

The value of the insurance claims you handle also influences your earnings. For instance, if you are a public adjuster, you are paid by the claimant to get a higher payout from the insurance company, which means you get a percentage of the claim paid out.

Working in a large city increases your earning prospects significantly due to the high demand for claims adjusters. Smaller towns may have fewer insurance claims, lowering the demand for claims adjusters.

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types of claims adjusters

Some of the different types of claims adjusters include:

  • company adjuster: when you work as an in-house claims adjuster for one insurance company, you are the company's adjuster. You work for the insurer exclusively and handle all the claims. That means you are salaried, and the insurance company pays all the benefits.
  • independent adjuster: as an independent claims adjuster, you are a contracted third-party adjuster. You can work for any insurance company and go wherever your services are needed. Most independent adjusters deal with emergency losses to assist in-house claims adjusters.
  • public adjuster: as a claims adjuster, you represent the claimant/policyholder. Your job is to assist businesses and individuals in filing insurance claims and reviewing the proposed settlement from the insurance company. You negotiate the highest settlement since you are paid a percentage.
woman and man having a conversation at the office
woman and man having a conversation at the office

working as a claims adjuster

If you are interested in working in insurance, check out the duties, responsibilities and work environments of claims adjusters.


claims adjuster skills and education

Some of the educational requirements for becoming a claims adjuster include:

  • bachelor’s degree: to become a claims adjuster, pursue a college diploma or a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. Any degree related to finance, business or criminal justice prepares you for the role. A college program can also equip you with the necessary knowledge.
  • work experience: you require extensive experience in the insurance industry to excel as a claims adjuster. Gain experience through entry-level roles like claims clerk or seek on-the-job training opportunities. To work as an independent adjuster, you require a provincial licence from a relevant regulatory body. For instance, in Alberta, you require a licence from the Alberta Insurance Council (AIC), while in British Columbia, the regulatory body is the Insurance Council of British Columbia. In Nova Scotia, licences are issued by the Department of Finance and Treasury Board.

competencies and characteristics of claims adjusters

Some of the qualities and characteristics of claims adjusters include:

  • communication skills: as a claims adjuster, you communicate with various people during your investigation. Your communication skills are useful in talking to claimants, witnesses and lawyers as you gather information. Aside from verbal communication, you require good writing skills to prepare reports and reviews, which are used to determine the insurance claims amount.
  • critical thinking skills: as a claims adjuster, you investigate various claims. The insurance cases are complex and can cost the insurance company millions of dollars. Hence, you should think critically to determine the truthfulness of the claims. You rely on your critical thinking skills when investigating claims, interviewing witnesses, and reviewing medical records or police reports.
  • attention to detail: as a claims adjuster, you help insurers make the final decision on paying or denying claims. You rely on your attentiveness to detail to investigate every aspect of the claim. Your detail-oriented skills help you identify damages or losses that are not immediately apparent to claimants. It also helps to determine if the claim is legitimate and not fraudulent.
  • negotiation skills: as a claims adjuster, you don’t just investigate the claims, but you also determine the settlement amount. You rely on your negotiation skills to determine a fair claim amount and come to a resolution suitable for both parties.


Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a claims adjuster.


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