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Workers Comp Adjuster Turnover Phenomenon Affects Claims


Recent Pandemic Workers Comp Adjuster Turnover Phenomenon

I do not like to write any articles on how the pandemic has affected anything now that we are hopefully in a post-pandemic phase.  A Workers Comp adjuster turnover trend spiked in early 2020.

When I wear my workers comp consultant hat, I often review claims for carriers, agencies, employers, and other organizations.

pic exit sign workers comp adjuster turnover
Public Use Wikimedia License – BrokenSphere

Why Workers Comp Adjuster Turnover Affects Claims

One of the hallmarks of a good claims resolution involves having the same adjuster throughout a claim.  Claims adjusters can operate from memory on a claim they have handled since day one.

When I was adjusting claims (long ago), I would dread taking over claims that were started by another adjuster that left for greener pastures.

Taking over a claim when a claims department has suffered any workers comp adjuster turnover compares to watching a movie starting somewhere in the middle.   You can understand what the movie is about, but the plot holes are numerous while viewing it.   Then, you realize later that you do not have the time to watch the movie from the beginning.  So goes the handling of a claim.

Having numerous adjusters on a file compares to many people watching parts of a movie.   The last person to watch the movie is supposed to know the whole movie, which just does not happen.

Most supervisors will respond – that is why we have claim status reports.   Many times though, the adjusters on their way out the door copy the prior statuses with little or no updates.

Workers Comp Adjuster Turnover Has Occurred For Many Years

Workers comp or adjusters of any line of insurance such as liability, auto, property, etc. have always experienced turnover.  Adjusting claims remains a high-pressure business from even long ago.

Moving on to move up the corporate ladder was recommended to me by a mentor over 25 years ago.  That advice worked for me.

The level of turnover that has occurred since early 2020, looks to be a larger trend than in earlier years. Most of the adjusters that I have spoken with seem to have either drawn unemployment benefits known as “couch cash” or found another higher-paying job at another employer – not always a claims adjusting gig.

Most adjusters started working from home.  Applying for other positions became easier to accomplish when one is already on their computer all day.  LinkedIn(c) would be one of the most popular avenues for recruiting adjusters.

The Brain Drain Concern Turns Into Experience Deficit

Catchwater Drain workers comp adjuster turnover at land
Wikimedia Commons – Richard Croft

When I attended a prior NWCDC Conference as a reporter, one carrier was very concerned about the brain drain occurring in insurance, just not workers comp claims.  The presenter covered workers comp adjuster turnover and Millennial recruitment.   One could hear the concern in her voice.

I noticed the experience deficit when reviewing loss runs.  Over the last 18 months, the adjuster names changed almost every time I received a loss run to review for a client.  The new adjuster often had much less experience than the prior adjuster.

No blame on carriers or TPAs will be placed in this article.  The purpose was to point out a workers comp adjuster turnover trend.  The solution escapes me at this point as it has most of the insurance community.


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6 Responses

  1. I would like to suggest that as with many other industries, claims people need career paths and compensation commensurate with the financial responsibilities of the job. Too few claim “leaders” can’t or won’t make the business case to senior management for better tools (read: claim system), better caseload management, and some degree of sharing in the success of the organization beyond a token 2% annual raise.

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  4. Efren, Thanks for the kind words. The article went viral since it was published. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I am writing more adjuster articles this week. Check back on Thursdays or sign up for the newsletter. Have a good day.

  5. Patti,
    Thanks for reading the articles. This article was one of the more popular articles over the last month. Please feel free to search for any articles. If you find a subject that you would like to see covered in an article, please let me know. Thanks for your comment. Have a good day.


James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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