There has been a lot of discussion over the years as to which state’s adjuster license is ‘the best.’ At AdjusterPro, we regularly field questions on the topic, either through social media or by email and phone. Questions like:
- Which license is easiest or fastest to obtain?
- What license is good in other states?
- What is going to give me the most bang for my buck?
- My adjuster friend said I should get Texas but my cousin said Florida is better. I live in Alabama. Which should I choose?
So we wanted to answer this question once and for all, as well as provide a little history on how this became an issue and why it shouldn’t be any longer.
Simply put, the best license is your home state license.
Forget the advice, the procedural and cost differentials, or perks of one state versus another. If your state of residence licenses claims adjusters, you need to get that license. If you live in a nonlicensing state, you’ll need a designated home state or DHS license so you can reap the same benefits. Why? Again, the answer is simple: RECIPROCITY. (If you aren’t familiar with reciprocity, or need a refresher on the concept, read our Reciprocity Blog Article.)
Before we delve into the intricacies of state insurance statutes, (exciting, I know) let’s take a look at how we got here.
Once Upon a Time in Insurance
In the past, certain states like Texas and Indiana allowed residents of licensing states to take their exam and become licensed as ‘nonresident adjusters.’ So a would-be adjuster in say, Oklahoma, might choose to skip getting his OK license and instead, get licensed as a nonresident adjuster in Texas because there are more claims and more opportunities.
The industry has also spent a long time establishing what the reciprocity landscape would look like. The Texas license, and the huge number of adjusters (resident + nonresident) who had it, quickly became accepted by most other states when they found themselves in need of adjusters for any particular event. Thus Texas licensed became known as ‘the best’ due to its reciprocity value.
And for a while, that was true. Licensed Texas adjusters could receive reciprocal licensing privileges in more states than other licensed adjusters. But as the industry moved to more uniform standards, things changed.
What’s Changed and Why It Matters
Many of the nonresident licensing loopholes have been closed in the past few years, but not all. Unfortunately, in some states, you can still get a nonresident license without getting your home state first. And you can work claims in that state. But here’s the important part:
You can NOT get a reciprocal license in most other states unless you have your home state license or a DHS license.
In today’s industry, reciprocity is predicated not on what state license you have but on whether it’s your home state. In this sense, the term reciprocity is somewhat ill-cast. It’s not true reciprocity because there isn’t really a quid pro quo or a mutual agreement of exchange between two specific parties. Rather, it’s a more general, nationwide acceptance that says ‘if you have your home state license, you can get our license too.’ Again, it doesn’t have anything to do with which state, as long as it is your home state.
This is especially important for those folks who reside in a nonlicensing state. And it’s one of the reasons we strongly recommend you obtain a designated home state license. A nonresident adjuster license is not the same and states will not grant you reciprocity based on holding that license. It must be the correct license type – designated home state.
There always has to be a few right? Florida, for example, does have agreements with specific states and will only grant reciprocal licenses to adjusters from those states.
Since California, Hawaii, and New York do not offer reciprocal licenses at all, some states have written their statutes to exclude those state’s adjusters from receiving reciprocal licensing privileges in return.
For the most part though, states have moved to a consistent reciprocity model. If you’re an adjuster from New York or California and want to know which states will grant you a license, or if you want to check which states will accept your license, visit our interactive reciprocity map.
The Bottom Line
Even though the industry’s reciprocity regulations have evolved, we still hear people ask which license they should get all too often. And sometimes even insurance veterans will recommend that new folks ‘just get Texas.’
But new adjusters who follow this advice often find themselves in a bind later on when they apply for additional states’ licenses and get denied because they don’t hold their home state license. In some cases, this can actually cost you money as well. For example, if you apply for a reciprocal license in Texas but you don’t hold your home state’s license, not only will you be rejected, they won’t refund your application fees.
If you want to make the most out of your career as an adjuster, you’ll need reciprocal licenses in other states. Our best advice? Make it easy on yourself and start your career with your home state license in hand. From there, it’s a simple online process to pay your fees and apply for additional states.