Earning six figures within 10 months of landing her first job as an insurance adjuster is just one of the successes Bettina Wolpow found after getting licensed. But there were hurdles to overcome along the way. This AdjusterPro Alumni Spotlight article showcases Bettina’s journey to becoming an insurance adjuster — and shares her strategies for finding success in the claims industry.
We love getting to know our students and hearing their stories. And if you’ll forgive the bias on our part, Bettina has been one of our favorites. Her path to insurance adjusting isn’t what most people consider “typical.” She didn’t come from a construction or restoration background. She’d never worked in insurance or roofing.
After owning a very successful retail store in Florida, Bettina began working as a corporate event producer. It was a high-stress job, one often filled with long hours, odd requests, and demanding high-powered clients, but Bettina loved it. When the market crashed in the late aughts, the event planning industry changed drastically and she began searching for a new career. One that would allow her to have independence but still offered good compensation. That’s when she was referred to AdjusterPro by a friend.
“I was a bit older and I didn’t have time to start working my way up from the bottom again,” Bettina says. Instead, she needed to create an opportunity on her own. “Now that I’ve been in the claims industry for a while, I see that becoming an adjuster later in life is actually pretty common. This is often a second or third career for people.”
Bettina called AdjusterPro and learned what steps to take if she was serious about becoming an adjuster. “I had to do something, and I had to do it fast. At that point, I was unemployed, alone, and in a new town,” she explains. “I called AdjusterPro based on my friend’s recommendation. I talked with them multiple times and asked a ton of questions before moving forward. They were always there to help and made me feel like I was their only customer.”
The Licensing Process
Bettina was excited to check the adjuster exam off her list. But it turns out passing the test on her first try was the easy part for her.
“The more difficult part was figuring out the application process after I passed my test. It can be very confusing depending upon which state you are getting licensed in. But anytime I had a question, I called AdjusterPro and they would help. Even if they didn’t know the answer right away, they’d find out. AdjusterPro gave me excellent advice, and I followed it precisely.”
Recruiters, Networking, and Other Support for Emerging Insurance Adjusters
After getting her license, Bettina was determined to find a way to make herself stand out from the rest of the pack.
She networked. She called and followed up and talked with people at adjusting firms. She stayed after training and introduced herself to managers. “I sought out the advice of people I respected and wanted to emulate,” she says. “I went and found those people. I asked a ton of questions and picked the brain of every recruiter who would give me five minutes of their time…and I made sure my resume stood out against all others.”
Bettina believes in the fundamentals of networking and communicating. She says there’s a ton of work out there, but you can’t sit back and wait for a phone call. You have to be willing to go out and find it. “You have to show people how hard you’re willing to work. I let every recruiter know I was willing, ready, and available. Most importantly, I let them know that if they called me, they could be assured of a ‘YES’ for any opportunity.” But Bettina’s efforts didn’t stop there.
Tenacity and Positioning Yourself as a Working Insurance Adjuster
When it came to finding work and earning a steady paycheck, things weren’t always smooth sailing. But Bettina was determined to be successful.
“As an inexperienced adjuster, I knew I could increase my chances of employment if I got additional state licenses. But I didn’t know where to start so I turned to AdjusterPro again. They understood the industry and how high the demand was for licensed adjusters for New York. They recommended I obtain my New York license and while it definitely a challenging exam and application process, it was great advice.”’
After getting some experience under her belt, Bettina found a specialized niche of insurance claims that she’s passionate about – environmental claims. “When a pipeline explodes or there’s an oil spill and a company takes responsibility, they also become responsible for any resulting insurance claims. Whether they are individual or commercial, whether it’s property damage or lost business and wages, the claims all need to be processed. It can be a huge, complicated endeavor but I love it.”
Why A Career In Claims Adjusting Attracts Go-getters
Starting a new career later in life was full of challenges for Bettina, but she said the reward is worth every bit of road traveled.
“I like the excitement of being on the front line and helping people,” said Bettina. That’s just one reason she, and many others in claims adjusting, are drawn to the profession. While originally from New York, Bettina spent close to 30 years in Florida after college. She’s been through the storms, the floods, the hurricanes. “I remember one year, we had 4 hurricanes in six weeks. It was terrible.”
She saw firsthand the hardship of losing your possessions and the emotional toll it takes on people. More importantly, she said, you see how long the recovery process is. Long after the news cycle has changed and the cameras have moved on, people are still struggling to get their lives back to some sort of normal. But for so many, it can take months, even years. “Having been through those disasters, and seeing my friends and neighbors struggle…it gave me compassion. It made me a better adjuster.”
So in the midst of these disasters, Bettina found her calling, even if she didn’t realize it at the time. “There’s nothing like those first weeks after a hurricane. Everyone bands together to help each other and I like being a part of that. I can be the bright spot in someone’s otherwise terrible day,” she explains. “I can be the person that shows up when they feel alone and hopefully bring them some good news amidst the devastation. And sometimes, in really tough situations, I can be a shoulder to cry on.”
Qualifications and Continuing Your Education an Insurance Adjuster
It takes continual effort but taking additional training and gaining certifications is something Bettina thinks is incredibly important for every adjuster, whether new or old. She still continues to take classes regularly “to stay fresh and up to date.” Examples of her supplemental certifications include Xactimate® Training through AdjusterPro, the California Earthquake Certification, and the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) certification to name a few.
“Early on, I made sure to obtain as many certifications and take as many additional classes as possible. And I still keep all my certifications current, even if it’s something I don’t necessarily need at this stage of my career. But every time I put a license or class on my credit card, I reminded myself that I was making an investment in my future,” she says.
While Bettina’s path to adjusting wasn’t what most people think of as “traditional,” she’s proof that with grit and determination, you can be successful. “I realized I couldn’t wait for a knock on the door. No one was going to come and hand me my dream career. I had to go out there and get it.”
If you’re interested in a career as an insurance claims adjuster, AdjusterPro can equip you for the road to success. Get in touch to discover more.