Transitioning from a Law Career to an Insurance Career
If you are a legal job seeker, the insurance industry might present a surprising opportunity and maybe even a safe and stable choice amid a tight legal job market.
The leap from attorney or paralegal to insurance adjuster may not be as big of a leap as you think. The insurance industry is a prime example of just one of the many alternative career paths for attorneys, paralegals or those with some law classes under their belt who are looking for a new challenge or a change in environment or work life balance. Maybe you’ve realized a career in law just is not for you, but you’d hate to waste all that legal knowledge and experience. Many insurance companies are now employing attorneys as claims adjusters.
The relationship between insurance adjusting and practicing law actually has a long history. The two fields have been so intertwined that in the late 1930s, the American Bar Association had to make a definitive statement on what they would consider practicing law without a license and what they would not consider practicing law when it came to working on insurance claims.
There is a lot of legality and litigation in liability claims, personal injury, and workers’ compensation. The adjuster must know some legal terminology, have some investigative acumen, and a thick skin. While a law background or degree is not a requirement of the adjuster position, it is an invaluable asset. Many of the skills learned in law school and in practice are put to good use as an insurance claims adjuster. For example, the ability to identify applicable laws and then apply the laws to the facts of a case is a vital skill. The experience an attorney gets in a courtroom or mediation is also valuable, as it aids in negotiating and bringing insurance claims cases to conclusions. Those with a law background are used to spotting issues and coming up with solutions and keeping up with ever changing regulatory environments. This serves them well, as the insurance claims world involves a constant analysis of facts and situations. Being adept at reading the fine print and paying attention to details and processing large amounts of information at once are another trait many find helpful in the insurance adjusting world.
Making the change from attorney or paralegal to insurance adjuster sounds simple enough, but these roles do have their own set of requisite credentials. Most states require insurance adjuster licenses that are obtained by a candidate successfully passing a state examination or taking a licensing course. Adjusters and litigation specialists must complete continuing education in order to maintain their certification and license. In addition, one must quickly learn the unique set of insurance and medical jargon when reviewing claim notes, medical reports, and legal pleadings.
Many have chosen to leave the world of law for the world of insurance and have experienced long, successful and satisfying careers. If you are considering making that choice, check out AE21 for how to get started in your state.