Depending on where they live, catastrophe adjusters usually need formal training and, in some cases, licensing. This may require taking a pre-licensing course and an exam before being able to work as an adjuster. The entire process can take anywhere from several weeks to a couple months or longer.
You can find training courses to become a catastrophe adjuster both online and in traditional classroom settings. If you are required to become licensed to work as a catastrophe adjuster, then you should make sure the course you pick meets any applicable licensing requirements. Some online courses even have practice licensing exams and study guides that can help you pass the test at the end of the course. Finding a course that is affiliated with or recommended by a reputable insurance organization is ideal.
Having other insurance adjusting experience is a definite asset and will make it easier to become a catastrophe adjuster. Even with no experience, however, you still can take a training course and become a catastrophe adjuster. Obtaining an associate’s degree prior to seeking licensing can be a benefit, although it is not necessary.
During training or directly after, you likely will want to find an experienced adjuster to work with. You might be able to work as a paid assistant, or you may have to work for a time on a non-paid basis. If possible, you should get some hands-on experience before you become a catastrophe adjuster.
A catastrophe adjuster earns a living by assessing damage caused by natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, hail and other severe storms. A lot of the work is done on a freelance or independent-contractor basis, meaning you provide services to a company on an as-needed basis. For that reason, being a catastrophe adjuster is often a job without regular full-time hours. Work is available primarily when a disaster happens.
As a result, you might only work as a catastrophe adjuster a few weeks or months out of a year. While the hourly pay for a catastrophe adjuster is usually quite high, you likely will need some other source of income for times when you are not working as an adjuster. One exception to this is if you are hired as a staff member of an adjustment company.
As a staff member, you probably will travel a lot. Storms can happen anywhere, and catastrophe adjusters often travel to wherever there is weather-related damage. Short periods of time at home are often offset by long periods of time on the road.
When going the independent contractor route, you may want to research the companies for which you would like freelance. You should allow yourself plenty of time to get your training and licensing before storm season begins. That way you will not feel rushed to become a catastrophe adjuster and jump into a situation unprepared.