For Florida residents interested in obtaining or learning more about the Florida adjuster license, it may be helpful to unpack and simplify the multitude of license categories and types that are available. This will help ensure the most efficient path to getting precisely what you want by the most direct means available.
At the broadest level, there are three general Florida adjuster license categories – the 6 series, the 5 series, and the 3 series.
The 6 Series – Company Adjuster Licenses
The 6 series refers to license types that are held by Company adjusters. What is a Company adjuster? The Florida Dept. of Financial Services defines a Company adjuster as “any person employed on an insurer’s staff of adjusters or wholly owned subsidiary of the insurer”. In other words, an employee of an insurance company – a “staff “adjuster as the position is sometimes called. And in order to qualify for this license type, you will obviously need to be employed by a company. The following 6 series types, which will be discussed at length below, are available – 6-20, 6-44, 6-21, 6-24.
The 5 Series – Independent Adjuster Licenses
The 5 series refers to license types that are held by Independent adjusters. Independent adjusters are adjusters who are “self-employed or associated with or employed by an independent adjusting firm or other independent adjuster”. Note that an independent adjuster may be an employee, but as long as you are an employee of an adjusting firm rather than an insurance company directly, you are still considered to be an independent. Most adjusters interested in handling that particularly lucrative type of claims resulting from catastrophic events (e.g. Hurricane Wilma), would be seeking one of the 5 series licenses. Also noteworthy, unlike the 6 series, you do not need to be employed or contracted for work at the time you apply for the license. Like the 6 series, the following types are available – 5-20, 5-44, 5-21, 5-24 (detailed explanation of each below).
The 3 Series – Public Adjuster License
The 3 series refers to license types held by Public adjusters. Public adjusters are categorically different from either Company or Independent adjusters in that they represent the insured rather than the insurer. FLDFS defines a Public adjuster as follows:
…any person who for money, commission, or any thing of value, prepares, completes, or files an insurance claim form for an insured or third-party claimant or who for money, commission, or any other thing of value, acts or aids in any manner on behalf of an insured or third-party claimant in negotiating for or effecting settlement of a claim or claims for loss or damage covered by an insurance contract or who advertises for employment as an adjuster of such claims, and also includes any person who, for money, commission, or any other thing of value, solicits, investigates, or adjusts such claims on behalf of any such public adjuster.
Public adjuster licensing and license compliance is handled differently than Company and Independent licensing and, notably, requires you to be bonded prior to licensure. At the time of this writing, you must complete a year long Apprenticeship (license type T31-20) and then pass the state exam to earn a full 3 series license.
As the 3 series of licenses are a different breed, we’ll deal exclusively from here on with the 5 and 6 series adjuster licenses. Let’s look at the types:
All-Lines: 6-20, 5-20
The 6-20 and 5-20 are both All-Lines licenses. All-Lines is exactly what it sounds like – each and every line of insurance. The 5-20 Independent and 6-20 Company All-Lines licenses qualifies you to handle the full range of claims for Auto, Property & Casualty, & Workers Compensation.
Property & Casualty: 6-44, 5-44
The -44s refer to the Property & Casualty adjuster license types. Property & Casualty would include residential and commercial property and liability claims but would exclude Auto, Health, and Workers Comp.
Auto: 6-21, 5-21
The -21s refer to Auto and specifically Motor Vehicle Physical Damage and Mechanical Breakdown. If you plan to focus exclusively on handling claims for damage done to vehicles due to accidents and weather events (e.g. hail), then this is your license.
Workers Comp: 6-24, 5-24
The -24s refer to Workers’ Comp claims adjusting. Workers’ Comp adjusters determine benefits to be awarded to employees injured in the workplace.
Which Florida License Should You Get and How?
First, determine the series. If you’ve just joined an insurance company as a salaried employee, then simply follow their lead for which 6 series license to apply for. If, however, you are looking to break into the independent side and either are or are not employed or contracted to work as such, look for something in the 5 series. There is no reason not to apply for your 5-20 adjuster license as its just as easy to obtain as the 5-44, 5-21, or 5-24. It gives you the greatest flexibility to find your claims niche without limitation.
If you first obtain a 5 series license and then obtain full-time employment status with an insurance company, you will be able to switch your license status to the 6 series through a relatively simple process that does not require further examination or coursework.
Bottom Line: Whichever of the 5 or 6 series licenses you choose to pursue, there are several Florida approved Designations (online or classroom) that allow you to immediately obtain licensure without further testing or coursework. Such Designations will typically represent the quickest and surest means to get the right Florida adjuster license for you.