Insurance Agent vs Adjuster

Written by: Mary Gerardine

Last updated:

Insurance Agent vs Adjuster

There are two common job positions in the insurance industry: insurance agent (or producer) and insurance adjuster.

While both jobs involve working with insurance, there are major differences between the two roles. These differences include their work responsibilities, licensing process, and even how they get paid.

In this article, we discuss the differences between an insurance agent vs an adjuster and discuss the eligibility requirements and work conditions that set these roles apart.

Difference Between an Insurance Agent and an Adjuster?

Even though an insurance agent and an insurance adjuster are both professionals in the insurance industry, they have different roles and responsibilities.

An agent is responsible for selling insurance policies to clients. They work for insurance companies or as independent agents, and help clients choose the right insurance policy for their needs and budget. They may also assist clients with the claims process but their main focus is on selling insurance policies.

Insurance agents may work for a specific insurance agency or work as independent agents who represent multiple companies.

An insurance adjuster is responsible for investigating and settling insurance claims. They work for insurance companies or as independent adjusters, and their job is to evaluate the damage or loss covered by an insurance policy and determine the appropriate amount of compensation to be paid to the policyholder.

Insurance agents may work for a specific insurance agency or work as independent agents who represent multiple companies.

The key difference between an insurance agent and an insurance adjuster is that agents sell insurance policies, while adjusters handle claims and determine the amount of compensation to be paid to policyholders. Both professions require good communication skills, attention to detail, and knowledge of insurance policies and regulations.

Becoming an Insurance Agent vs Adjuster

While both agents and adjusters work in the insurance industry, the licensing process for each role is different. Both insurance agents and adjusters may be required to have a license to operate in their respective roles, which can vary by state.

Insurance agents may be required to complete a pre-license education, pass the licensing exam, get a fingerprint-based background check, and submit your license application.

Insurance adjusters may also require completion of pre-licensing education, which is similar to the process required for insurance agents, though the requirements can vary by state.

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Insurance Agent and Adjuster Eligibility Requirements

Both insurance agents and adjusters must meet certain eligibility requirements, such as being at least 18 years of age with a high school diploma, being a US citizen, and having no felony convictions.

Note that the educational requirements for becoming an insurance agent or adjuster can vary by state, so it’s important to check all the requirements with your state before pursuing either career path.

While the licensing process for agents is similar to adjusters, some states may require adjusters to have a certain number of years of experience in the insurance industry. For example, in California, you are required to have years of certified work experience in the insurance adjusting field prior to licensing.

If you enjoy sales and building relationships with clients, becoming an insurance agent may be a good fit for you. If you have an eye for detail and strong negotiation skills, becoming an adjuster may be a better fit. Ultimately, it’s best to consider your skills and interests when deciding which career path to pursue.

Insurance Agent vs Adjuster Salary

The salary for an agent and an adjuster can vary depending on a number of factors, such as experience, location, and employer.

Insurance agents earn commissions based on the policies they sell, so their income can vary widely depending on their sales performance. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for insurance agents was $49,840 in May 2021.

Insurance adjusters are typically salaried employees, and their salary can vary based on their level of experience and the industry in which they work. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for insurance adjusters, examiners, and investigators was $65,080 in May 2021.

These figures are only averages and individual salaries can vary based on many factors, such as location, employer, and the specific type of insurance or adjusting work being done.

To know more about how much an adjuster earns, go to our How Much Does an Insurance Adjuster Make page.

Why Choose a Career As an Insurance Agent or Adjuster?

There are several reasons why someone might choose a career as an insurance agent or adjuster, including:

  • Stable job opportunities: Insurance is a stable and essential industry, and there is always a demand for insurance products and services. This means that there is often job security and stability in the industry.
  • Career advancement: Both insurance agents and adjusters can have opportunities for career growth. Insurance agents can boost their careers by building a larger client base, while adjusters can advance by gaining experience and expertise and potentially moving into management positions or opening an insurance agency.
  • Flexible work arrangements: Insurance agents and adjusters enjoy a work-life balance due to the flexible nature of their work, such as working from home or setting their own schedules.
  • Providing professional support: Both insurance agents and adjusters have the opportunity to help people during times of need. Insurance agents can provide peace of mind by helping clients protect themselves and their assets, while adjusters can help people get the compensation they need after a loss.
  • Earning potential: While salaries can vary depending on a number of factors, both insurance agents and adjusters have the potential to earn a good income, especially as they gain experience and expertise.

Insurance Agent vs Adjuster FAQ

Is licensing different for insurance agents and adjusters?

Yes. Licensing requirements are different for insurance agents and adjusters, and they can vary depending on the state. Insurance agents are required to be licensed in the state(s) in which they sell insurance policies. Licensing requirements typically involve completing pre-licensing education courses, passing a licensing exam, and meeting other state-specific requirements such as background checks and fingerprinting. Insurance adjusters are also required to be licensed in the state(s) in which they work. However, licensing requirements for adjusters can vary more widely between states. Some states don’t even require licensing for adjusters, like Kansas and Massachusetts. It’s important to be aware of the licensing requirements in your state and to maintain your license to ensure you’re legally able to conduct your work.

Do insurance agents and adjusters have the same pre-licensing education requirements?

Pre-licensing education requirements for insurance agents and adjusters can vary depending on the state and the type of license held. In some states, insurance agents and adjusters may be required to complete a certain number of pre-licensing education hours. It’s important for insurance agents and adjusters to stay informed of their state’s pre-licensing education requirements and to fulfill them in a timely manner to apply for their licenses and stay current with industry trends and regulations. Visit your state Insurance Department for a list of approved pre-licensing education courses.

Do insurance agents and adjusters renew their licenses?

Yes. Both insurance agents and adjusters are required to renew their licenses periodically, typically every one to two years depending on the state in which they work. To renew their license, agents and adjusters typically need to complete certain continuing education requirements, pay a renewal fee, and submit a renewal application to their state’s Insurance Department or similar regulatory agency. It’s a must for insurance agents and adjusters to renew their licenses on time to avoid any potential lapses and penalties. In some states, there may be additional requirements for agents and adjusters who allow their licenses to lapse or expire, such as retaking a licensing exam, paying fines, or completing additional education courses.

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