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Hello Adjusters,

Before I get into the NY license issue, I’d like to discuss some issues around licensing in general.

Here’s a question that comes up in almost every adjuster licensing class I teach: “which state licenses should I get and maintain?”  The answer’s not the same for everyone.  Rather, it differs according to each adjuster’s situation.  Let’s look at some different strategies.

There are some who hold the position that an Independent Adjuster ought to hold as many state licenses as possible, suggesting that this makes him/her more marketable.  I believe that there’s merit to this strategy, but there’s also some problems.  Obtaining multiple state licenses is time-consuming and expensive, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg.  Because there’s no standardized, national adjuster license (each state sets its own rules for it’s own license), maintaining multiple licenses can enter an adjuster into a quagmire of compliance and renewal issues.  Each state will have different reporting periods, continuing education (CE) requirements, renewal hoops to jump through, costs, etc.  Moreover, most states have a clause in their insurance statutes that allow for “emergency” or “catastrophe” licenses (often a short-term, e.g. 90 day license).  In this way, if there is a catastrophic event that requires bringing in adjusters from other states in order to meet the adjusting needs (i.e. CAT adjusters), the state can, and usually will, grant those emergency licenses immediately to CAT adjusters (often through the claims company bringing in the adjuster).  In this way, an adjuster without that state’s license, can often work an entire cat on a temp emergency license, or he/she can apply for an receive a permanent adjuster license in that state before the emergency license expires.  These emergency licenses, in a way, make it unnecessary to maintain a permanent license in multiple states.

On the other hand, if a weather event or other catastrophe hits a state, an adjuster that already holds that state’s license does have an advantage over adjusters not licensed in that state; the claims company doesn’t need to go through the hoops of applying for emergency licenses.  And, in the case of small catastrophes, it is more likely that a claims companies will only send licensed adjusters, provided they have enough to take care of their claims needs.

Moreover, adjusters with a specific state’s license will often be deployed first.  Let me give an example.  An adjuster I know recounted to me his experience in orientation for hurricane Ike.  In a room of a few hundred newly-deployed adjusters, and during orientation, a higher-level manager walked in, interrupted the orientation, and asked “who here already has their TX license?”  My friend raised his hand, as did a few others.  He then said “follow me”.  They went to the other room, and were informed that they would be put out in the field handling claims immediately, while the rest of the adjusters without the TX license were waiting for their emergency license to come through!  He was doing claims for days before the other adjusters even started.

Because of the mess of holding multiple licenses, some insist that it’s only necessary to hold a license in an adjuster’s state of residence.  Moreover, many claims companies only require an adjuster to hold a license in his/her state of residence.

The best solution for you might be holding one license, all licenses possible or some happy medium between the two.  Let me put a few things out there for thought.

First, some claims companies require that adjusters hold certain state licenses, based on where they do most of their business (determined mainly by the contracts they have with their clients, the insurance companies.  i.e. if they have a contract to handle claims for Acme Insurance, and Acme writes policies in Minnesota, your claims company may require that you have a MN license – I use this example because the MN license is actually frequently sought to comply with claims company requirements).  If the company you are working for (or want to work for) requires certain state licenses, this is certainly a good reason to go through the hassle of obtaining and maintaining multiple licenses.

Next, an adjuster may want to look at adding additional state license based on what licenses are reciprocal with their current licenses (click here for information on each state’s reciprocity).  Using reciprocity can make the process of getting multiple state license easier, and in some cases, depending on the state’s regulations, eliminate the need for duplication of continuing education requirements (i.e. having to do a bunch of CE for each state).

Lastly, There are some “hot” states’ licenses that are popular when adjusters want to work claims nationally.  The Texas, Florida and Georgia licenses are always popular additional licenses because of the high occurrence of significant weather events in those states, so many adjusters hold these licenses in addition to their resident state licenses. Additionally many states do not have licensing requirements (click here for info about this).  In this case, we often advise adjusters residing on those states to obtain some state license, preferably a state license with some clout in the CAT claims business, like Texas or Florida.

OK, now let me get to the issue of the New York license.  Not long ago I was talking to a friend of mine who’s a claims manager at a prominent claims company.  He needs New York licensed adjusters, and was lamenting the lack of them.  I thought it was interesting, because I’ve heard from several other sources in the claims business that they lacked NY licensed adjusters.  There is a reason why it’s so rare; it’s a pain to get.  You must take their exam, it’s not one of the easier ones, and there’s no other state that reciprocates with NY.  The cool thing about this is that it’s an opportunity for those willing to invest a bit more into their adjusting career.  Multiple sources have indicated to us that NY adjusters are in demand, and having the NY license puts you in the exclusive club of those holding one.  In other words, there are other “hot” states in addition to those often hit by CATs – states with restrictive licensing requirements where relatively few adjusters hold that state license.

Obtaining the NY license is a bit of a pain, but it’s very doable.  We have an exam prep class that will thoroughly prepare you to ace the exam.  It’s the most comprehensive and targeted NY exam prep class available anywhere (click here for info).

Bottom line; we recommend that you hold a license in your state of residence and other limited strategic states, depending on your claims company requirements, your state of residence and your aspirations in the claims industry.  If your state of residence does not license adjusters, we recommend obtaining significant, strategic state licenses, such as high-weather activity states (TX, FL, GA) and states with fewer adjusters, such as New York.

One final note: please email us if you have a NY license.  We’d like to update our database of NY licensed adjusters, so we can pass this on to the claims managers of companies with whom we collaborate.

Let us know how we can serve you to start or accelerate your adjusting career!

Thank you,

– Adam


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