Every year, as hurricane season heats up, we start receiving questions about the insurance adjuster emergency license. There seems to be some confusion about what exactly this license is, what it does, and how to get it…so we wanted to offer an explanation.
As a weather catastrophe unfolds, or sometimes even before it even occurs, state governments or governors will “declare a state of emergency.” This puts into effect a host of processes and actions to help an affected area deal with a disaster. The authorization was designed to speed assistance to communities in need – or remove the red tape that can sometimes hinder assistance. It may also position the state to seek federal assistance when the scope of the event exceeds the state’s resources.
And within those state of emergency regulations, there is often a statute that lays out rules for offering emergency licenses to insurance claims adjusters if said emergency has caused a large amount of damage to property.
Emergency Adjuster License Statute
While it can vary by state, the statute usually says something along the lines of “we are temporarily allowing ‘out-of-state’ and/or ‘not-licensed-in-our-state’ insurance claims adjusters to come in and assist us with the massive amount of insurance claims we are getting ready to have. During this emergency period, these adjusters do not have to take our test or have our license to operate in our state legally.”
(Because, as I am sure you know, you normally DO have to have their license to operate legally.)
For a long time, this emergency license allowed non-licensed adjusters, or licensed adjusters who didn’t have that specific state’s license, to come in and assist after a devastating event like a hurricane. But while that sounds pretty cut and dry, getting an emergency adjuster license isn’t as easy and simple as many people think.
Today’s Emergency Adjuster License
These licenses are still important after a disaster as they allow the state to quickly license out-of-state adjusters who otherwise wouldn’t qualify. But their ideal use is to give quick approval to licensed out-of-state adjusters. Getting these licenses without a home state adjuster license (or DHS) or some serious insider connections is pretty rare. Too often, we talk with people who believe that, post-catastrophe, states start handing out emergency licenses to anyone and everyone, regardless of job or experience, who is willing to come help. Candidly, that isn’t the case.
These licenses are also temporary so those working under an emergency license are also usually the first to be sent home as claims start to decline after a storm.
But the toughest hurdle to overcome to get your emergency license – is that you must be sponsored by an employer to be approved. And while that doesn’t usually affect veteran adjusters, it can be an obstacle for brand new adjusters who are looking to break into the industry. This also means you can only work claims for your sponsoring entity, limiting the scope of what you can help with.
Our recommendation? Don’t delay getting your permanent license in hopes of securing an emergency license. Show employers you are dedicated by getting your home state or designated home state license first. You will be a much more attractive hire if you go though a course and get your permanent license so you’re able to work long term and apply for reciprocal licenses.
If you’re ready to take the next step, we can help. AdjusterPro’s online courses can be completed whenever and wherever it works for you. And most only take 40 hours. If you have questions, give us a call at 214-329-9030 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.