We have just had the opportunity to review the 2008 Claims Salary Survey up online in the October issue of Claims Magazine. I consider the detail provided in this year’s report the best yet!
Despite published claims of independents earning fees in the $300K range (see this recently published story in the Winston Salem news on 9/11/08 click here) the average salary for an independent adjuster participating in this year’s survey was $69K while adjusting firm owners surveyed indicated an average salary of $98K for an overall average salary in the independent claims field of $84K. Yes, we do know many who earn above this average but they are the exception versus the rule.
Articles such as this over at Slabbed picked up on this Winston Salem AP article in their “Fat Cat” article- click here. They apparently don’t realize that even for those rare adjusters earning a 300K income during a major storm year that they must pay 100% of their hotel and fuel expenses as well as vehicle and equipment and software expenses which are major. They also apparently are unaware of the many horror stories we hear each year of independent adjusters who experience extremely long delays waiting for reimbursement as the adjusting firms must wait on the carriers to review and approve files which can take months following a major storm before they pay the adjusting firm who then pays the independent adjuster. That alone is another full story I’ll be writing more about soon. In addition, independent adjusters do not earn 100% of the fees from the fees schedules. There is a split determined pre-deployment on the amount the independent splits with the adjusting firm. The typical average is anywhere from a 60%-70% fee split with the adjusting firm keeping 30% to 40% of the fees earned. The fee split usually depends on the supply and demand of adjusters, the experience level of the adjuster, and many other factors. For other pros/cons of working as an independent adjuster, we’ve provided below a link to our blog on this below at the bottom of this blog article.
The staff claim adjuster salaries in the survey averaged about 65K while staff claim managers averaged about 90K. While these figures are somewhat minimally lower than the independent fees earned, you have to keep in mind that a staff claim employee has 100% of their expenses provided by the insurance company so their income is actually much greater when all things are considered.
I hope you will take the time to read the entire salary survey article. I have to say my favorite comment in the article comes from the comment in the article about “a cadillac product on a chevy budget” or something to that effect referring to the expectations of carriers on ever increasing file requirements with an unwillingness to pay for this level of expertise and time required to comply with these file requirements. We hear this complaint frequently from independent adjusters who feel much less productive in the 2008 catastrophe environment due to the extensive amount of time required to comply with these new requirements. As one adjuster explained recently, their average closing numbers per day are reduced due to the extensive paperwork. What happened to putting the customer first instead of a “pretty file”. Again, more about that later!
Here are all the links to the 2008 article and links over at Claims Magazine:
Here is the Salary Survey chart:
Here is the full article titled Checks and Balances on the 2008 Claim Salary Survey results: (note these links will change in November when a new featured story is published so I’ll try to remember to update the links next month to this article in their archived links)
There are many links to other charts from the survey at the end of this article to include hours, benefits and other very interesting details.
Here is the link to last year’s survey and other information on Fee Schedules and Adjuster Income we’ve previously written in case you missed them. Adjuster income continues to be the most often read articles on our blog as internet searches lead folks to our blog:
How Much Income Can I Make As An Adjuster- 7/26/07:
Pros and Cons of Working Staff Adjuster versus Independent Adjuster-7/27/07:
2007 Claim Salary Survey Article and Results – 10/19/07
Adjuster Fees in the News- 8/14/07:
Auto Adjuster Incomes Blogs- 6/2/08:
Feel free to reply to this blog with your comments we’ll be glad to publish. We’ve also set up a link to this in our ClaimSmentor closed forums where you can comment in private if you are a member. If your not a member and wish to join us if your a member of the adjusting community,you will find a link to our registration information on our About page here on the blog.