Pilot catastrophe property adjusters work as independent claims adjusters or with companies that offer their services to policyholders and clients with catastrophe response. Most adjusters are expected to provide their own transportation and equipment to event sites and take full responsibility for their own living expenses while deployed. If you are an experienced individual who enjoys traveling, helping people and working in a restorative environment, a position as a pilot catastrophe property adjuster could be the career path for you.
Pilot adjusters are responsible for quickly responding to all types of events and usually are required to arrive at the site within about 48 hours after being notified. Adjusters work with policyholders to assess losses and pay for covered losses with the right amounts. Initial contact with the policyholders is made first before the adjuster sets up appointments, assesses damages, writes up estimates and documents all activities related to the claim. The adjuster is expected to provide excellent customer service throughout the process. In some cases, adjusters also provide technical support and supervision in the field.
Pilot adjusters normally work in conditions that have been hit by major catastrophes, although, in some cases, they may be deployed to non-catastrophic events. Catastrophic events such as hurricanes or floods can cause damage ranging from subtle to devastating. Adjusters work seven days a week at the site until all claims are closed, with the time factor being critical to help people get back on their feet as soon as possible. Affected areas may be covered in debris, and communication systems are often damaged, making navigating more difficult than usual. For this reason, pilot adjusters are expected to be organized and resourceful during deployment.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, claims adjusters earned an average annual salary of $58,780 in May 2009. The lowest earning 10 percent of adjusters made less than $34,820 annually, and the highest earning 10 percent of adjusters earned more than $85,810. Insurance carriers hold the highest levels of employment for claims adjusters, and the top paying industry is the securities and commodity contracts intermediation and brokerage industry. The top paying states for a claims adjuster position include Vermont, New York, Louisiana and New Jersey, and the highest paying state for adjusters is District of Columbia with an annual mean wage of $77,180.
As an adjuster, you must be licensed by your resident state, if licensing is available for the particular state you live in. In order to be deployed to your state's events, most adjusters require specific certification or a rating, which is normally sponsored by the company deploying the adjusters. A background in construction, home inspection or restoration is preferred to get started as a pilot adjuster, with companies giving preference to those with more experience. Computer proficiency is a requirement and experience working with estimation software is an asset.